This surname of VRABEL is a Russian patronymic from the nickname VOROBEI 'sparrow'. The name was applied as a nickname for a small and chirpy individual. There are numerous variants of the name which include VOROBETS, GOROBETS, VOROBEI, VERABEI, BRABEC, VRABEC, WROBBEL, WROBEL and WROBLEWSKI. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Habitation and topographic names are rare, and many common Russian surnames are polygenetic, and their literal meaning is clear, even though the reason for their adoption may not be. A notable member of the name was Zygmunt Florenty von WROBLEWSKI (1845-88) the Polish physicist, born in Grodno. Professor of physics at Cracow University, he was noted for his work on the liquefaction of gases. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate, and granted 355 armorial bearings in the 18th century.
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