The Big Book of Names

After my recent posts where I mentioned that my grandfather listed his mother with two different names in two different documents (Xaveria Zygmuntowicz on his Certificate of Marriage and Ksavera Napierkowski on his Application for a Social Security Account Number), I received an email from Drew Smith of the Genealogy Guys Podcast.

Drew found a site with a wealth of information about Polish given names.  The site is part of a Polish e-card site and is called Wielka księga imion or The Big Book of Names.  In Polish, the word imię is the nominative singular form of the English word name, and imion is the genitive plural form, translated as of names.  Imię specifically refers to first names or given names.

The first page of the site provides the researcher the opportunity to select a name from those provided, to jump to another page for names starting with a specific letter, and to search for names by typing a name in a search box and clicking the Szukaj (Search) button.

Drew Smith provided me with a direct link to the name Ksawera.  I’ll translate the information on that page here:

The Big Book of Names


Feminine form of the first name – Ksawery.  Diminutives: Kszwerka, Ksawercia.  Other forms: Ksaweryna.  Foreign forms: Xavera, Xaveria (Latin), Xaviera, Xavier (English), Xaveria (German), Xavière (French), Javiera (Spanish), Saceria (Italian), Ksaverija, Ksavera (Southern Lexicon).

Since the name Ksawera is the feminine form of the name Ksawery, I also took a look at the page for Ksawery, which provides a whole lot more information:

The Big Book of Names


Nickname of Saint Francis, apostle in India, originating from the name of the place of his birth, the castle Xavier in Spain.  Often suitable as a second name in combination – Franciszek Ksawery [Francis Xavier].  Diminutives: Ksawerek.  Other forms: Ksaweryn, Zawery.  Foreign forms: Xaverius (Latin), Xavier (English), Xaver, Xavierius (German), Xavier (French), Javier, Xavier (Spanish), Saverio (Italian), Ksaverij, Saverij (Russian), Xaver (Czech, Slovak), Ksaver, Ksaverije, Saver (Southern Lexicon).  Feminine form: Ksawera, Ksaweryna.


Ksawer, Ksawera, Ksaweryna, Ksaweyński


Św. Franciszek Ksawery [Saint Francis Xavier]


Paweł Ksawery Brzostowski, initiator of peasant reforms (March 30, 1739-November 17, 1827).  Franciszek Ksawery Dmochowski, polish painter (December 2, 1762 – June 20, 1827). Ksawery Bronikowksi, Polish journalist and statesman (1796-1852).  Ksawery Pillati, polish painter and draftsman (1843-January 31, 1902).  Frances Xavier Cabrini, first saint in the USA (July 15, 1850 – December 22, 1917).  Franz Xaver Josef Conrad, Austrian field marshal (November 11, 1851 – August 25, 1925).  Franciszek Ksawery Brziński, Polish composer (September 6, 1867 – August 6, 1944).  Ksawery Franciszek Prauss, activist Polish Socialist Party, co-organizer Association of the University of Workers (November 1874 – December 14, 1925).  Xawery Dunikowski, Polish sculptor (November 24, 1875 – January 26, 1964).  Ksawery Pruszyński, Polish writer (December 4, 1907 – June 13, 1950).  Javier Perez de Cuellar, was the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization (born January 19, 1920).


Ksawery Horsztyński in the tragedy of J. Słowackiego Horsztyński (1835).  Ksawery Biliński in the three-volume novel Fame and Glory of J. Iwaszkiewicz (1956-62).  Ksawery Kopystka in Of a Bag of Wheat of S. Czernik.


There were times, Xavier, where sleepy dreams
Superstition commanded to pick up the world for a gift display.
The age of reason and faith overthrew the altar,
Which the superstition of the idle once dedicated in a dream.

-Cyprian Godebski, “Dream”

I have to admit, my ability to translate Polish poetry is pretty weak.  Translating poetry is an art, and I’m sure I haven’t adequately conveyed the intent of the poet in the translation above.

Even though the site is in Polish, it’s easy to find the equivalent of Polish names in other languages, diminutive forms of the names,  other forms of the names, and masculine/feminine equivalents.  The Polish abbreviations for other languages, as used on this site are:

  • łac. = Latin
  • ang. = English
  • niem. = German
  • fr. = French
  • hiszp. = Spanish
  • wł. = Italian
  • ros. = Russian
  • czes. = Czech
  • słowac. = Slovak

I’ll be spending some more time on this site, looking up other names of my Polish Ancestors.

And, finally, thanks to Jasia of Creative Gene who provided a third hypothesis to explain why my great grandmother seems to have had two different maiden names.  The Big Book of Names provides an entry for Janina, showing the diminutive form Jasia.

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