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What Ukrainian surnames were given to the rich: they have survived to this day

Alina MilsentLife
Researching Ukrainian surnames

Surnames have long been formed on the basis of professions, proper names, place of residence, or characteristic features of a person. A family name can help you trace the role your ancestors played in society.

Often, surnames reflect the social status that ancestors had in ancient times. In his book Modern Ukrainian Surnames, linguist Yurii Redko explains what surnames were given to the rich in ancient times.

The surname Bahach (or Bohach) is quite common, especially in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Lviv, Odesa, and Khmelnytskyi regions.

It has many derivatives:

  • Bagatenko;
  • Bagatchuk;
  • Bohachevych;
  • Bogachevsky;
  • Bogatsky;
  • Bagatsky;
  • Bohachyshyn, etc.

These and other variations may indicate the class features of society, in particular, the division into rich and poor. Probably, the ancestors of a person with this surname were quite wealthy, possibly owning land or owning factories and plants.

A less obvious evidence that the person's ancestors had considerable wealth is the surname Duka, which was the name given to the rich in ancient times. Among the derivatives, we can distinguish Duchenko.

People who suddenly became rich could be called Skorobohatyi (a derivative of the surname Skorobohatskyi).

Large landowners could be called Didych. This surname is most common in Kyiv, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk regions.

Cossacks who had wealth were called Karmazins (probably from the ancient expensive karmazin cloth). This is how the surname Karmazin appeared.

There is also a surname in Ukraine called Falendysh, which comes from "fein lundisch" ("the best London cloth").

In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the privileged elite were the gentry. The surname Shlyakhta and all its derivatives - Shlyakhtych, Shlyakhtenko, etc. - appeared on the territory of Ukraine. The surname Shlyakhetka already expressed contempt.

Lords were addressed as "his grace, lord," or "monsieur," for short. Becoming nicknames, such titles could express mockery - this is how the surnames Mostipan or Mastipan, Panchyk, Panik, Panochko, Pantsya, Paniv appeared.

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