Surname Saturday – Konarski

Mary Konarski with Mieczyslaw

Maria Lewandowska Konarska with son Mieczysław, taken around 1895
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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.

The famous Konarskis are few.  Stanisław Konarski was an educator and political writer.  Feliks Konarski was a poet and entertainer.


  1. 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.
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5 Responses to Surname Saturday – Konarski

  1. Pawel Konarski says:

    Hello there! I,m Pawel Konarski,born in Poznan,Poland 1955.My family roots are from town of
    Ostrzeszow,woj.Wielkopolskie.Currently i,m working on my family tree,can go back to 18th century,
    hopefully even further.Sincerely P.K.

  2. Konarsky says:

    Hello,

    A Konarsky here, the surname was originally Konarski but became Konarsky upon my grandparents immigration to North America following the war. My grandparents came from Częstochowa and were Jews. Konarsky/i has always seemed to me to be unique among jews to have. Or perhaps you know differently?

    • Good question. My Konarskis in Poland were Catholics, but there is a history of conversions in Poland so it is hard to tell with the farther past. My Y-DNA shows some Ashkenazi connections, but I’ve been told that I don’t otherwise have the right markers to be Jewish.

  3. momofakonar says:

    Try also the last name of Konar. I was told by my son’s father that when his family came to America, they ‘Americanized’ Konarski to Konar.

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