Volume 36, No.3 - Fall 1990
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas, University of Rochester
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1990 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

B O O K   R E V I E W  

Lietuvių pavardžių žodynas: L-Ž. ('Dictionary of the Lithuanian Family Names: L-Ž). Edited by Aleksandras Vanagas. Written by Vitalija Maciejauskienė, Marytė Razmukaitė and Aleksandras Vanagas. Etymologies and origins of the family names by Aleksandras Vanagas. Vilnius, "Mokslas," 1989. 1,355 pages.

In 1986, we reviewed the first volume of this huge dictionary. {Lituanus Vol. 32 (1986), No. 4, pp. 81-85). Now, we have the second and last volume: L-2 which was published late in 1989. It contains all Lithuanian family names, or surnames, from L to Ž. All told, as we predicted in 1986, both of these thick volumes contain ca. 50,000 Lithuanian family names. This is about the same number as the family names in such European languages as German, French, Russian, Polish, etc. That—in a sense—goes to show that family names have developed and spread similarly in many European countries/ languages. (The U.S. would certainly be an exception here: if one were to register all the family names in the United States, one would come up with most of the family names of Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa . . . )

In our review of the first volume, we mentioned that Kazlauskas, at least in A-K, first volume, was the most frequent Lithuanian family name: 1,576 families with that name in Lithuania. With the second volume out, Kazlauskas does remain "king" of the Lithuanian family names: only Petrauskas (1,526) and Stankevičius (1,541) come close.

As in the first volume of this dictionary, in the second volume family names derived from Christian (first) names clearly predominate. The largest group, in the second volume, is derived from the, originally, Biblical name Petras 'Peter/ to mention only the largest groups: Petkevičius (666), Petraitis (658), Petrauskas (1,526), Petravičius (342), etc.

In reviewing the first volume, we found 42 family names each with more than 300 families. In this second volume, we note 68 family names with 300 or more families: Lapinskas (377), Laurinavičius (301), Lukaševičius (412), Lukoševičius (464), Lukošius (446), Mackevičius (572), Mačiulis (407), Malinauskas (559), Marcinkevičius (590), Markevičius (408), Matulevičius (337), Mažeika (529), Meškauskas (320) Mickevičius (640), Mickus (360), Mikalauskas (681), Misevičius (340), Misiūnas (364), Miškinis (339), Mockus (499), Motekūnas (391), Narkevičius (312), Naujokas (505), Navickas (852), Noreika (347), Norkus (334), Paškevičius (580), Paulauskas (999), Petkevičius (666), Petraitis (658), Petrauskas (1,526), Petravičius (342), Pocius (581), Povilaitis (367), Račkauskas (345), Radzevičius (545), Rakauskas (479), Ramanauskas (362), Rimkevičius (362), Rimkus (830), Rinkevičius (425), Rutkauskas (576), Sabaliauskas (502), Sadauskas (541), Sakalauskas (753), Savickas (876), Simanavičius (300), Sinkevičius (558), Stankevičius (753), Savickas (876), Simanavičius (300) Sinkevičius (558), Stankevičius (1,541), Šimkus (788), Šukys (416), Tamašauskas (312), Tamošiūnas (338), Urbanavičius (316), Vaitiekūnas (304), Vaitkevičius (643), Vaitkus (513), Valaitis (408), Vanagas (344), Vasiliauskas (1,169), Venckus (405), Vilkas (421), Visockas (339), Vyšniauskas (330), Vitkauskas (519), Žemaitis (714), Žilinskas (829), Žukauskas (1,195).

Most of the family names listed above were derived from various Christian names, and only nine family names, in this list of 68, are 100 percent Lithuanian: Mažeika, Miškinis, Naujokas, Noreika, Rimkus, Šukys, Vanagas, Vilkas, and Žemaitis. The origin, or the meaning, of all these nine family names is quite clear:

Mažeika is derived from the adjective mažas "little, small". (In other words, Mažeika = /Mr./ Little, Littleton, or something similar), Miškinis is derived from miškas 'forest,' Naujokas, from the adjective naujas 'new,' Noreika—from the verb norėti 'to wish,' Rimkus is derived either from the verb rimti 'to quiet down,' or the adjective rimtas 'serious, earnest.' Šukys is derived either from šukos 'the comb,' or šukuoti 'to comb,' or šukė 'gap between the teeth'; Vanagas really means 'hawk', Vilkas is 'wolf', and Žemaitis— 'Samogitian.'

As in the first volume, so also here, there are many purely Lithuanian family names, some very ancient, some more recent. They also reflect, or preserve, as it were, all kinds of naming systems. Let us list here all the purely Lithuanian family names selected from the L- section: Labaiša (1), Labaitis (25), Labakojis (3), Labeikis (19), Labotakis (5), Labutis (76), Lalys (7), Lapas (24), Lapelis (15), Lapėnas (86), Lapinas (41), Lašinys (3), Laukaitis (111), Laukelis (3), Laukžemis (4), Laužius (53), Leleika (29), Lenktys (15), Lapšys (17), Liaugaudas (47), Liaugminas (32), Liaugodas (17), Liepa (35), Ligeika (30), Liknis (5), Lymantas (25), Lingis (41), Lingys (65), Liūnas (12), Lizdas (5), Lungys (13). (The number in brackets, as noted above, shows the number of families with the particular name.)

From the list above, the first six family names are all formed with the adjective labas 'good'. Why there is only one family carrying the ancient name such as Labaiša, it is difficult to say. It is possible only to guess: maybe some members of the original family died out, or never married, or emigrated, or, in some cases, the name has been changed, for one reason or another.

One will find here, as in all languages, some really "cute" names, most of them, originally, nicknames mostly. Just look at some of the "cute" names in the P-section: Padegimas (24), Pakalnis (139), Pakalniškis (138), Pakaušis (15), Pakulis (48), Paršelis (13), Paršiukas (18), Pasaulis (4), Pašilys (12), Patamsis (5), Paukštelis (14), Paukštis (50), Pelenis (31), Peštukas (03), Pienis (4), Pikturna (42), Pipiras (220), Puišys (75). We shall not analyze all these interesting family names; we shall pick out only a few. Now, Paukštis is simply 'bird' and Paukštelis is a diminutive of Paukštis, something like 'birdie'; Paršelis and Paršiukas both mean 'piglet,' Pikturna is derived from the adjective piktas 'angry, mad, enraged.' Pipiras = 'Pepper.' (I have never come across a "Mr. Piglet" in English, but there are many Peppers... )

As in all dictionaries of family names, some names are of unclear, unknown origin, and they are so marked in this dictionary, too. Others can be of varied origin. For example, Pabrinkis may be derived from the verb pabrinkti 'to swell up (a little),' or it could be the Lithuanian "recreation" based on the name Fabricius.

As we have mentioned in our review of the first volume of this dictionary, the most numerous, or popular, if you will, family name, Kazlauskas, may be at least in some cases, a translation into some Slavic language of the original Lithuanian name Ožys, Oželis 'he goat, buck.' We wrote there: "Apparently, there were many Lithuanian families with that name, some have retained it until the present day (which will be clearly seen when the second volume of this dictionary L-Ž is published.)" (Lituanus, Vol. 32 (1986), No. 4, p. 84). Well, we shall see: (p. 356): there are still 62 families with the name Oželis and only 14 with name Ožys (p. 357). Remember: there are 1,576 families with the name Kazlauskas!

There are many such cases where the original Lithuanian family names were translated—by local organists, priests, registrars—into some form of Slavic forms, mainly into Polish. Many originally purely Lithuanian names were partially Slavisized by adding various Slavic suffixes, etc.

Let us glance at some of the most obvious cases. On p. 1,123, we shall find a fine Lithuanian family name, Vabalas 'bug, insect,' with 56 families carrying this name, but its Slavic translation, Žukas (in many Slavic languages, zhuk, žuk = 'bug;insect') has 227 families (p. 1,346). Then, from Žukas, with the Slavic suffix -ovski/-auskas, we have Žukauskas: 1,195 families!

We shall find almost the same with the original Žvirblis 'sparrow': 218 families. Its Slavic counterpart, or equivalent, or translation, Vrubliauskas—152 families. In which case we have a simple translation, or where the entire family name has been borrowed from Polish, it is impossible to tell.

Dr. Aleksandras Vanagas (by the way: Vanagas = 'hawk'), who is now, without any doubt, number one scholar in Lithuanian onomastics, with his dedicated helpers, Vitalija Maciejauskienė and Marytė Razmukaitė, have completed a monumental task. Especially important are all these detailed listings of the original localities where the various family names were located. Luckily, most of the data on the Lithuanian family names were collected before 1956, some—many decades ago. After 1956, or thereabouts, there began, in Lithuania, the greatest exodus, as it were, from the ancient villages and hamlets where these families had lived for centuries, into the cities and towns. Now, in many a rural Lithuanian village (Lith. kaimas, older sodžius), there remain, now, less than one-third of the original inhabitants. Life in the sovietized, collectivized rural areas was so grim and so dreary, so hopeless, that almost everybody and his brother wanted to escape from it, like from some kind of plague. As a result of this, most of the Lithuanian family names are now concentrated in the larger cities and towns.

One thing, however, is regrettable: only 5,000 copies of this dictionary have been printed. At this time, it will be enough, it will cover the basic needs of scholars, students, and libraries. But it will not last very long, and, apparently, nobody is going to publish a new edition. Since this dictionary will be the standard reference work for decades to come, more copies would have been much more welcome.