I was reminded of Surname Saturday and thought I’d give it a try. I’m going to start out with my own surname, Konarski. Konarski is a Polish name. The root “kon” comes from the Polish word for horse, koń. There are two theories on how this turned into the surname. One is that it referred to someone who worked with horses, like a groom. In this case -ski (a genitive ending that makes the word an adjective) is tacked on to the archaic word koniarz, which is groom. Another possibility is that the name comes from the place-name “Konary”, a town near Sandomierz, or other towns with a similar name.
There is also a completely different theory, that the name comes from the word “konar”, meaning branch.
So we have three theories, any or all of which could be true. I tend to stick with “groom” as it is the one I learned first, but I don’t have a good reason to favor that one.
According to Herby.pl, there were 5198 Konarskis in Poland in 1998, so even there the name is not real common. The biggest group of them is in Warsaw, but I suspect that happens with a lot of names since the city is so big. The second biggest grouping is in Radom, where I have ancestors, although not Konarskis that I know of.
I have gotten back five generations in the Konarski line, to Pawel Konarski, father of Ignacy (born 1812-1815 in Panki, Silesia or Kurdwanów.1) Details on Pawel and his wife Petronela Niepiekło have been elusive, though. Pawel is a great-grandfather of Mieczysław, pictured above.
I have also done a Y-DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA to try to find connections, but so far there haven’t been any other Konarskis taking the test. If you are a Konarski get this done!
There are other groupings of Konarskis in the USA but I have not been able to find connections to them. There are number of them in Cleveland, as well as some in upstate New York.
- Panki came from Marriage of Ignacy Konarski and Julianna Trzbiński, St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland, record 208; digital image, Archiwum Państwowe m.st. Warszawy (http://szukajwarchiwach.pl/72/161/0/-/19/str/1/29/#tab2 : accessed 2 February 2013), image 286.jpg. Kurdwanów came from a distant relative’s research but I don’t have the source information.