Surname History

Most books don’t even list the surname Stuczynski, and various genealogy-types told me it was a corruption of Struczynski or other similar names. And it may or may not be related to the Polish word for “strike” or “hit”, but my family believed (apart from an amusing anecdote that was meant in jest) that it meant nothing in particular.  However, Steve Stuczynski from Massachusets (no relation) offers the following explanation on his family roots website. Information given to Steve by a design engineer, Dan Stuczynski of Detroit, Michigan, USA paints a picture of the origin of the name:

The story starts at the end of the 13th century, about 1250 to 1270 A.D. when warriors from the Stuczynski clan joined forces to fight in the Holy Wars or Crusades. Upon returning from the Wars, the few Stuczynskis that survived, were granted a large parcel of land in Northeastern Poland (near the Russian border) known as “Stuczyn”. Then Clan nobles managed this land and its people for hundreds of years.

However, upon a touch of research done online recently, I discovered that for a number of reasons, Poland did not participate in the Crusades. In fact, they were pillaged by the crusaders (the Teutonic Knights) in an effort to convert the local Pagan populations. I can find no record of any involvement by the Poles as crusaders (except to throw out the Teutonic Knights) or having set foot in the Holy Land.  In spite of having a predominantly Christian population, Poland was on the other side, fighting for the rights and peaceful co-existence of Pagans and Jews.

Perhaps the story is half-true, where the clan given the land were the people who played a part in casting out the Teutonic presence. (Dan, if you’re out there, drop me a line and let me know your sources, or if it’s just something passed down over the years!)

The Jewish Connection – A Real Place

Among my first search results over a decade ago, I recall a page somewhere listing people in Poland from the 1800s of Jewish descent, many with the last name Stuczynski. It is likely that between the Czar and Hitler, that few family lines survived, but it stayed in my mind as a piece of the puzzle.

However, in 2007, I came across a spreadsheet on the Yad Vashem website listing people from the following places with date of death:


So there WAS a place called “Stuczyn” after all! And Bia?ystok was near the Russian border, now adjacent to Belarus. One problem, though — after all the maps I could find (few and far between, even in libraries and from acquaintances in Polonia who have connections in the Old Country) a place by that name was nowhere to be found. In fact, apart from a reference to “Rabbi Boruch Szapiro of Stuczyn” (in the early 19th Century), and a detail-less newspaper note (WWII era), there was little other reference to any such place.

When I get a chance, I will post an article called “Three Towns, Same Name” to discuss the three possible place namesakes.