Search for content in message boards

Ratajczyk Thomas (Rataezyk)

Replies: 0

Ratajczyk Thomas (Rataezyk)

Warren T. Montgomery (View posts)
Posted: 21 Apr 2002 11:06AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Ratajczyk
My grandmother Monica Rataezyk was born May 5th, 1893, Ardoch Twsp, Walsh Co. ND.
Father was Thomas and Mother was Victoria. They first arrived in Minn in about 1890 before proceeding to ND.
The spelling of the family name at some time changed to Rataezyk, however Monica's babtizimal cert is spelled Ratajczyk.

Information from William F. Hoffman
Author, "Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings"

The RATAEZYK spelling is definitely an error. Either someone filling out paperwork misread the Polish C for an E, or tried to spell it phonetically and ended up with that form. The standard Polish form is RATAJCZYK, pronounced roughly "rot-EYE-chick"; the spelling RATAICZYK is not really correct by modern standards, but in older Polish the I and J
were often used interchangeably, so the difference probably has no great significance.

The suffix -czyk usually means "son of," and _rataj_ is a Polish word meaning "farmer, peasant," so Ratajczyk just means "peasant's son." It's kind of hard to understand why such a name stuck. Originally surnames were meant to help distinguish people, so that this John and that John
could be told apart by a second name; but let's face it, almost everyone around was a peasant's son. It doesn't seem to me that it would be that much help in distinguishing anyone. But that is clearly what it means, and in the context in which it developed I'm sure it did make sense;
these names developed centuries ago, after all, and it can be rather difficult for us today to recreate the exact circumstances in which a name formed and was associated with a person or family because it seemed to fit.

As of 1990 there were 5,975 Polish citizens named Ratajczyk, living all over Poland. For that matter, there were 17,278 Poles named RATAJCZAK, with -czak instead of -czyk, and that means the same thing. So there were a lot of "peasant's sons" around.

That's about all I can tell you. I hope it's some help, and wish you the best of luck with your research.

William F. Hoffman
Author, "Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings"
PGSA Publications Editor <www.pgsa.org>;

Find a board about a specific topic