What is a Patronymic Name?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a patronymic is “a name derived from that of the father or a paternal ancestor.” Cambridge Dictionary gives further detail: “a name that is based on the given name of someone’s father or one of their father’s ancestors.”

Let’s say you see a death record of “Dawid Abramowicz” in 1820. This means that either Dawid’s father had the given name Abram or that that one of his father’s ancestors had the given name Abram.”

Surnames were required in Poland beginning in 1821, but by that time many Jews in Poland had already adopted a surname. When surnames did become required, many Jews continued to use a patronymic (such as Abramowicz or Berkowicz or Lewkowicz) as their surname.

You may want to read about the somewhat more complicated matter of a maiden name that includes a suffix.

Read other topics regarding Polish Jewish genealogy.

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)

If you are ready to join CRARG, visit our Pre-Holocaust Database page.