The Polish Surname Kowalski

Fascinating Fact # 24

The second most common Polish surname both in Poland and among emigrant communities such as Polish Americans is Kowalski. The name is the equivalent of ‘Smith‘ in English.


The names Kowalski, Kowalczyk, Kowalewski, and Kowalewicz, are derived from the Polish word for Blacksmith.

Other common Polish surnames include:

- Nowak (derived from the word ‘new’)
- Kaminski (derived from the word ‘stone’ or ‘rock’)
- Wisniewski (connected with the word ‘Cherry’)
- Zielinski (stemming from the word ‘green’)
- Kozlowski (geographically derived – perhaps, Kozłów)
- Jankowski (habitational name – Janków / Jankowo / Jankowice)
- Grabowski (probably derived from the word ‘grabie’ (rake) or ‘grabic’ (to plunder)
- Szymanski (derived from derived from the personal name ‘Szymon’)
- Wozniak (meaning ‘caretaker’ or ‘carriage driver’)

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