Łańcut is pronounced ˈwaɲt͡sut in polish, similar to ‘wine suit’.
My Great Grandfather (mój pradziadek), Franciszek Wawszkiewicz, was born in Łańcut, Poland on March 2, 1880. At that time, it was considered Austria. His parents were Marcin and Maria Kochman Wawrzkiewicz. I’m not sure why the ‘s’ vs. the ‘r’ in the last name, but the sound is similar in Polish, so maybe that’s what happened once he got here. I don’t know.
In Poland, he and other family members made carriage wheels. I find this interesting since there is a carriage museum in Łańcut. When I visited Poland in 2001, I was able to go to the museum, but there was no one available to ask about the history and the name. Łańcut also has the greatest concentration of people with the last name of Wawrzkiewicz. Source: Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings by Fred Hoffman.
Frank Wawszkiewicz was naturalized in 1921. He was living in Freeport, Illinois, and the judge at the time did indeed ask him if he wanted to change his name – to something more ‘American’. My great-grandfather said that would be fine, but did the judge have any suggestions? Since Freeport had many German immigrants, the judge suggested “Wagner”…and so it was. Frank, Marie, Lottie, and Helen all had their names changed.
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