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History of the Warmuz surname

Polish name expert Prof. Kazimierz Rymut mentions this name in his book _Nazwiska Polakow_ [The Surnames of Poles]. He says it comes from the term _warmuz_, "a kind of cabbage, cale, also panada" (defined as "a paste or gruel of bread crumbs, toast, or flour combined with milk, stock, or water and used for making soups, binding forcemeats, or thickening sauces"). Rymut says this noun appears in several different forms, including _warmuz_ and _warmĘz_ and _warmuz*_ (using z* to stand for the Polish dotted z, pronounced like "zh" or like the "s" in English "measure"). Rymut says the name Warmuz* appears in records as far back as 1388.

WARMUZ would be pronounced roughly "VAHR-mooz," and WARMUZ* would sound more like "VAHR-moozh." But the Z can easily be devoiced to the sound of S, and Z* can easily be devoiced to the "sh" sound Poles spell SZ. So Warmuz, Warmuz*, Warmus, and Warmusz are all plausible phonetic spellings of this name. They could reflect nothing more than slight regional and dialect variations in pronunciation, which are common in Polish. So all the forms you cite are well within the range of variability we generally see with many surnames. In other words, WARMUS or WARMUSZ wouldn't necessarily be mistakes so much as variations that have never become standard.

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 921 Polish citizens named WARMUZ. They lived all over Poland, but the largest numbers lived in the following provinces: Bielsko-Biala 245, Czestochowa 65, Katowice 289, and Krakow 84. 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. This data indicates the name is found most often in southcentral Poland, including the province of Bielsko-Biala, in which Andrychow was located during the period 1975-1998.

There were 242 Polish citizens who spelled it WARMUS; the largest numbers were in these provinces: Czestochowa 33, Katowice 50, KRakow 27, Piotrkow 31, and Suwalki 31.

53 spelled it WARMUSZ; they lived in the following province: Katowice 49, Krakow 3, Krosno 1.

Finally, 9 spelled it WARMUZ*, in these provinces: Bielsko-Biala 1, Krakow 4, Krosno 1, Zielona Gora 3. There were no Poles listed with the spelling WARMOZ.

So the name most often appears as Warmuz, but can also appear in the other spellings mentioned. It tends to appear most often in southcentral Poland, especially the area of Bielsko-Biala and Katowice. It refers to a kind of food, perhaps indicating that an ancestor loved that dish, or was well known in his area for fixing it particularly well, or something along those lines.

William F. Hoffman
Author, "Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings"

Copyright 2001 Rene Warmuz all rights reserved.