Posted by Karen Aland on May 23, 2000 at 01:35:35:
To: Karen Aland
Thank you in advance for the meaning of our family name. If there is a
charge, please let us know.
We have found the following variations in West Prussia in the Tuchel area.
Mathia, Matyja. Matia, Matija, Matthia
This one's pretty easy. These are all different ways of spelling the same
basic surname, which comes from the first name Matthias. This was the name of
the apostle chosen to replace Judas after the Resurrection. It is not the same
as the name Matthew, but these two names are so similar that there has been a
lot of confusion between them and various surnames deriving from them. But
basically this is just a name meaning "kin of Matthias." That name appears in
Polish in two standard forms, Matyjasz and Maciej. There are literally dozens
of surnames beginning Mac- and Mat- in Polish that all boil down to the same
thing, "kin of Matthias."
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 3,805
Polish citizens named Matyja, and that is the standard spelling of the surname
in Polish these days. The largest numbers lived in the following provinces:
Bielsko-Biala 312, Czestochowa 1,355, Katowice 618; so the name is most common
in south central Poland. Unfortunately I don't have access to further details
such as first names or addresses, so I can't tell you how to find that info.
There were smaller numbers living in the former regions of Provinz Posen,
Pommern, West and East Prussia; thus there were 51 Poles named Matyja in
Bydgoszcz province, 108 in Poznan province, etc.
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"
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