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Similar last names

April 17, 2003

During our work in building the Tree, we were contacted (and are still being contacted occasionally) by various people, who inquired whether we know anything about the possible family connections between our similar (variant?) last names, or about their ancestors. Unfortunately, we do not have any such knowledge or answers. On the other hand, during our data gathering process, we encontered isolated examples of obvious interchange (or substitution) of the name variants, under unknown circumstances, probably due to clerical errors. Examples exist in the following pages of this (0234) Franciszek.htm, (0659) Aleksander.htm, or (0748) Stefan. It appears that they were more likely to happen, if both names co-existed in the same locality.

On some occasions, the correspondents included information regarding their family. With their permission, we decided to preserve this information in the form of pages of their family Tree (see the list below - which we will continue to expand along with the new information coming in).



Żebry - Laskowiec (Nur-on-Bug parish)



Kobyłka n/Warszawa
Stanisław WASZCZUK [0256] - (slawekjaniak@poczta.onet.pl)



Gryfice, Siemiatycze
Ewa Naganowicz-(Waszczuk) - (ewanag@go2.pl)

no information


Paul Damian Waszczuk
- (pdamianw@hotmail.com)



Warszawa, Zaleś n/Sokołów Podlaski
Krzysztof Waszczuk (kwaszczuk@wp.pl)



England, London
Małgorzata Harakis (Waszczuk)








Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski
Anna (WAJSZCZYK) Tobiasz - (ankasolo@poczta.onet.pl)

no information

Information concerning "similar" last names or posibly related "name variants", which was generated on the basis of a recent national census (http://www.herby.com.pl/herby/indexslo.html) allows to recognize their frequency of occurence and distribution over the territory of Poland (http://www.wajszczuk.v.pl/english/slownik.htm).

December 1, 2003

As mentioned above, we receive occasionally letters inquiring, whether we know anything about a possible ("blood")relationship between our family name WAJSZCZUK and other similar, of which the most common in Poland is the name WASZCZUK  (http://www.wajszczuk.v.pl/polski/slownik.htm). We still do not have any definite information regarding this matter! We are also curious ourselves, and the incoming letters prompted us to look analytically at the available information. For this purpose, we prepared a table (shown below) of similar (related?) names, based on the information published under the direction of Prof. Kazimierz Rymut in "Slownik nazwisk współcześnie w Polsce używanych" (Dictionary of family names currently in use in Poland) - http://www.herby.com.pl/herby/indexslo.html) and derived from the last national census. The names are grouped according to their common "stems".

Group - Waj..., Woj... Group - Wasz..., Wosz...  Group - Wajczuk, Wojczuk, Wojszyk
Family nameTotal numberFamily nameTotal numberFamily nameTotal number
Wajszczuk339 (2)*Waszczuk2720 (398)*Wajczuk**0 (6)*
Wajszczak261Waszczak486Wojczuk575 (141)*


Wojszczak 41Woszczak651 
Wojszczuk 25Woszczuk4 
Wojszczyk 203Woszczyk 1969 
Wojszczykowski 1  

Last names used to generate maps (see below) are indicated by bold-faced type.
* numbers in parentheses indicate the number of entries generated during Internet search using the "cyrylic" (russian) alphabet - see below.
** family using this name was found in Argentina - the initial suspicion was that they may have emigrated from the Lukow area in the Podlasie province (and their last name may have been shortened during the emigration process?) - the documents indicate that their ancestor came from the Volhynia province, currently in Ukraine. No name Wajczuk was found now in Poland. Logical next step was to look for a similar name - Wojczuk (see above).

Information from the Dictionary also allowed construction of maps (see below) which show the frequency distribution of the names over the territory of Poland. We used the "Script to draw a map of Poland based on the dictionary by prof. Rymut" (http://www.genpol.com/). We selected for initial comparison only the most frequently occuring (>200 persons) names from the groups "Waj..." and "Woj..." and also a most common similar name in Poland - Waszczuk as well as a recently "discovered" (and relatively frequently occuring) name - Wojczuk.

Frequency distribution of the name Wajszczuk and of some "related" names
in Poland (in the early 90-ties)

1. Wajszczuk
Total - 339 persons in 23 voivodships (provinces):
Most frequent: 1. warszawskie - 65 persons
2. bialskopodlaskie - 63
3. siedleckie - 49
4. zamojskie - 34

2. Waszczuk
Total - 2720 persons in 48 voivodships:
Most frequent: 1. bialskopodlaskie - 664 persons
2. warszawskie - 286
3. białostockie - 196

3. Wojczuk
Total - 575 persons in 27 voivodships:
Most frequent: 1. zamojskie - 187 persons
2. bialskopodlaskie - 83
3. lubelskie - 34

4. Wajszczak
Total - 261 persons in 20 voivodships:
Most frequent: 1. płockie - 75 persons
2. warszawskie - 66
3. leszczyńskie - 52

5. Wajszczyk
Total - 260 persons in 20 voivodships:
Most frequent: 1. łódzkie - 92 persons
2. piotrkowskie - 47
3. warszawskie - 24

6. Wojszczyk
Total - 203 persons in 16 voivodships:
Most frequent: katowickie - 34 persons
koszalińskie - 27
częstochowskie - 25



Comparison of the above maps revealed that some of these names appear more frequently along the eastern borders of Poland. Such is the case for instance with the Wajszczuks, whose proven "nests" are in the regions of Podlasie and Zamosc. Theoretically, shifting of the borders after WWII could have split these "clans"?

Therefore, we conducted a search at our eastern neighbours using a "Google" search engine and a "cyrylic" russian alphabet. We did not find any Wajszczuks (isolated entries described meeting participation by a person known to us and residing in Poland or translation of Polish archival records). We found only a very few entries about Wajczuks (including those shot by the NKVD), but more frequent entries for Wojczuks! There were relatively many entries for Waszczuks, with addresses from Russia and Ukraine (none were identified to originate from Byelarus).
Although the frequency of appearance of those names in the Internet cannot be taken as an "absolute number", it can be probably accepted as an expression of their comparative presumed frequency in real life.
What conclusions and assumptions can be drawn from the above observations and comparisons?

  1. First, concerning our name! We know, based on the research we have conducted hitherto, that the "nests" of the Family and of our last name are located in the provinces of Podlasie and Zamosc. An old undocumented family saga says that "two brothers arrived (returned?) there from the east, after having escaped from previous deportation to Siberia"? The name spread from the original locations to the rest of Poland and abroad. But, at present, there are probably no Wajszczuks residing to the east of the Bug river (current eastern border of Poland).

  2. Although the most recent census revealed highest concentration of the name Wajszczuk in the former "warszawskie" and "bialskopodlaskie" voivodships, and the "siedleckie" voivodship is now in the third place - we know that the local Family "nest" was there (Trzebieszow, Lukow and vicinity). This "shift" occured due to (well documented) natural migration and was also due in good part to the influences of the last war. (These observations may also apply to the frequency distribution of other names and families)?

  3. "The nests" (highest concentrations) of the other two names - most numerous from the group of names analysed here - i.e. Waszczuk and Wojczuk, appear to be also located along the river Bug. The name Waszczuk - more to the north, and also present (and probably with the highest frequency of all) on the other side of the border. The name Wojczuk appears to have its highest concentration in Poland a little more to the south and is also represented on the other side of the border (but probaly with lower frequency)?

  4. Localization of the highest concentrations of the above discussed three names, along the eastern Polish territories, may be suggestive (but by no means is conclusive) that at one time, long ago, they may have originated from the same stem?

  5. Localization of the highest concentrations of the other three names, here under discussion, i.e. Wajszczak, Wajszczyk and Wojszczyk - in the present central or south-central provinces of Poland - may be suggestive of their separate origin (roots) in comparison with those discussed above. Their similarity, however, is striking! (Also to our name Wajszczuk)! It can be postulated, with some probability, that they may have been branches of the same stem, which became "separated" long ago (for instance during the period of Partitioning of Poland from the late XVIII to early XX century)?

  6. Also, we cannot exclude the effects of migrations and resulting from them substitutions (distortions, misspellings) of names under foreign occupations, which were related to various foreign official languages, handwritings, spellings, phonetic transcriptions and alphabets. The easiest to occur were the errors in transcribing the names, for instance due to occasional similarity of the hand-written "a" and "o" in old polish handwriting, errors in translating (transcribing) "cyrylic" russian "y" = "u" in Polish (and reverse) or substitution of similar looking russian "ш and щ", which correspond to polish "sz" and "szcz". Also, the official use of the german "old gothic" script could have further complicated the situation.

    We will be grateful for comments from the language specialists!

(See also - maps of other similar names, for comparison )

Dictionary of names curently in use in Poland