Who were your ancestors? Surnames will help to solve this mystery

Yulia PoteriankoLife
The history of Ukrainian surnames is inextricably linked to the history of the people

A surname is often the key to unraveling a person's origins. After all, it often encodes certain information about the ancestor who founded the family.

In particular, Cossack and noble surnames remain quite common in Ukraine.

Different layers of Ukrainians did not start receiving family names at the same time. Thus, noble families began to be called by their surnames in the XIV-XV centuries. It was at this time that the concept of private property began to form, which could be bought and sold, inherited, divided, donated, and this required appropriate documents in which the owner would be determined quite accurately.

Meanwhile, common people used nicknames. In addition to the name, people gave their neighbors some distinctive characteristic, either based on the name of an ancestor, or on the basis of profession, or on some distinctive personal trait. After 1632, these nicknames began to be documented, as required by the order of Kyiv Metropolitan Petro Mohyla, who instructed that metrics be kept everywhere to record all the facts of births, marriages, and deaths.

Of course, the Cossacks also made a great contribution to the diversity of Ukrainian surnames. Thus, surnames based on Cossack military ranks and specialties are still common:

Dzhura, Dzhurenko - squire, apprentice to a foreman;

Kompaniyets, Kompanichenko - a freelance cavalryman;

Pysar, Pysarenko, Pysarchuk, Pysaruk - clerk, document manager;

Ataman, Atamanchuk, Atamanenko - from the name of an elected position of a military official;

Kurinnyi - the head of an organizational unit of several hundred Cossacks;

Serdyuk, Serdyuchenko, Serdyukov - hired infantryman, hetman's guard;

Hetman, Hetmanchuk, Hetmanenko - a descendant of a senior military officer;

Garmash - an artilleryman, a Cossack who serviced and fired cannons;

Surmach - a Cossack who sounded sound signals with a musical instrument called a trumpet;

Horunzhyi - a flag bearer;

Chotar - about the same as a modern platoon leader.

In addition, the Cossacks gave surnames to people based on the work they did in the Sich and in military camps: Kramar, Nalyvaiko, Degtyar, Storozhenko, Gardovyi, Sahaidachnyi. And such surnames as Solomakha, Teteria, or Kulish were formed from the names of Cossack porridges. However, it is no longer possible to say whether the first bearer of the name cooked these dishes or just loved them.

Cossacks were also often given surnames based on their place of origin or service. Podoliak, Hutsul, Volynets, Poltavskyi, Halytskyi, Myrhorodskyi, Prylutskyi, Chyhyrynskyi, Lebedynskyi, and others are examples of such surnames.

A special group is made up of humorous surnames based on a few words. Researchers still cannot unravel the secret of their origin, but such a surname clearly indicates that a person comes from a Cossack family. Here are some examples: Ubyivovk, Neizhborshch, Nepiyvoda, Nebyibaba, Palyvoda, Nagnybida, Perebyinis, Netudyhata, etc.

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