Understand the Meaning of a Maiden Name that Includes a Suffix

If you see one of the four suffixes below at the end of a woman’s maiden name, you will in most cases need to remove the suffix to reveal the woman’s actual maiden name.

1. z (= of) + name ending with ‑ów (a grammatical suffix in genitive plural)

Example: Malka z Altmanów = of the Altmans

Example: Malka z Lewków = of Lewek
Note that a given name (with or without a suffix) after a woman’s name is likely a patronymic rather than a true maiden name. For example, Malka z Lewków (or Malka Lewek) can mean either that Malka’s father had the given name Lewek or that he used the patronymic Lewek.

2. z (of) + name ending with ‑ich (a grammatical suffix in genitive plural for names ending in ‑cka [feminine of ‑cki] or ‑ska [feminine of ‑ski])

Example: Malka z Kremskich = of the Kremskis (but a woman would use a ‑ska ending: Kresmka)

3. ‑ówna = daughter of

Example: Malka Altmanówna = daughter of Altman

4. ‑owa = wife of

Example: Malka Altmanowa = wife of Altman

Thinking of joining CRARG? Feel free to write to me (danielkazez@crarg.org) to ask if we have records for your family! —Daniel Kazez, CRARG President (a volunteer/unpaid position)