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One of the most widespread in Ukraine: where the Shevchenko surname came from

Yulia PoteriankoLife
One of the most widespread in Ukraine: where the Shevchenko surname came from

The poet Taras Shevchenko and the football player Andriy Shevchenko are probably the most famous bearers of this Ukrainian surname in the world. But in fact, it is one of the most common Ukrainian surnames.

OBOZ.UA figured out where it came from and what it means. And also where in Ukraine you can meet the most Shevchenko's.

The prevalence of the Shevchenko surname

According to the database of the Ridni genealogical society, this surname is the second most common in Ukraine. The number of its bearers is estimated at over 106,300 people. Most often, this family name is combined with the names Oleksandr and Tetiana.

The number of Shevchenko's in Ukraine is quite high everywhere, except for the western regions. There, this surname is present everywhere, but it is not so common. But the largest number of speakers can be found in the following regions:

  • Kyiv - 7940;
  • Kharkiv - 4971;
  • Dnipro - 3993;
  • Odesa - 2348;
  • Kryvyi Rih - 2178.

And Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi has the highest density of Shevchenko's. Every 31 residents there have this surname. However, this data may be inaccurate today due to the war and the massive migration of Ukrainians abroad.

The origin of the Shevchenko surname

The most obvious version of the origin of this patronymic is that it was formed from the ancestor's profession. It is a cognate with the word "shoemaker," which was used to refer to people engaged in the manufacture and repair of shoes. The children of such a master were named by adding the typical Ukrainian suffix -enko, and this is how the Shevchenko surname appeared. Similarly, but with the addition of other suffixes, related variants emerged - Shevchuk, Shevtsov, Shevchyshyn, Shevtsiv, and simply Shvets.

However, there are more exotic explanations. Thus, some linguists suggest that the surname may be of Adyghean origin. The basis for this assumption is several waves of Circassian emigration through the territory of Middle Dnipro and Left-Bank Ukraine in the fifteenth century. They could have brought their word "sheudzhen" to the area, which was used to refer to Christian priests. According to this theory, the atypical combination of sounds in the Ukrainian language could have been simplified and resulted in the Shevchenko surname. Another theory suggests that it may have originated from the Cossack profession of shoemaker, a person who used a shompole to clean the muzzles of muskets. However, shoemaker's apprentices were also called in a similar way, which brings us back to the main version of the surname's origin.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told about the origin and meaning of the Symonenko surname.

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