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Charęża - Haremza - Haremża - Haręża
Created by Administrator Account in 1/2/2010 8:23:33 AM

 


I would like to know if you have heard of or know of the name Haremza. My ancestors are from the Poznan area of what used to be Prussia.

This name is spelled many different ways by Poles, all sounding more or less like "hah-REN-zhah" or "hah-REM-zhah." Most of these spellings use letters we don't use in English which are the Polish E with a tail under it (pronounced like "en" or "em"), and the Z with a dot over it, pronounced like "zh." The version Haremza, with no special letters, would sound like "hah-REM-zah." Put a dot over the Z and it sounds like "hah-REM-zhah." Change the -em- to the nasal E written with a tail under it, Haręża, and it's "hah-REN-zhah." Since H and CH are pronounced the same in Polish, we often see forms versions beginning CH- instead of H-. And so on; many different spellings, but all variations of the same basic name.

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it is of Romanian origin, from the Romanian noun arindza, "stomach." Presumably it began as a nickname for various people of Romanian origin who had a large stomach, or was always eating, or something along those lines. A given ancestor was called this by Romanians, and when he and/or his descendants moved to live among Poles the name stuck. The different spellings in Polish probably resulted from slightly different pronunciations of the word or name as it came to be used by Poles. They weren't familiar with the Romanian word, and as they tried to pronounce it they modified it slightly. Some people spelled and pronounced it one way, others a slightly different way. That's how we end up with all these different spellings.

We often run into names of Poles that turn out to be of some other linguistic origin, including Romanian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Slovak, etc., so this is not surprising. Historically there were significant ties between Poland, so that there was a certain amount of mixing of names; we see distinctively Polish names borne by people in Hungary and Romania, and Hungarian and Romanian names borne by Poles. It's not at all odd, therefore, to find people who consider themselves 100% Polish but bear names that actually originated in some other language.

As of 1990, according to the best data available (the Slownik nazwisk wspolczesnie w Polsce uzywanych, "Directory of Surnames in Current Use in Poland," which covers about 94% of the population of Poland), there were 434 Polish citizens named Charęża, 595 named Haremza, 340 named Haręza, and 556 named Haręża. You need to keep your eyes open for all these spellings, as any of them could conceivably appear in the records.

Of the 595 Polish citizens who spelled it Haremza as of 1990, the largest numbers lived in the following provinces: Leszno 63, Poznan 330, and Wroclaw 47. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details such as first names or addresses, what I've given here is all I have. This data tells us the name is found all over Poland but is concentrated primarily in the western part of the country, which would include the area your ancestors came from.

Copyright © 2002 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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