This surname of WARSHAW is a Polish and Ashkenazic Jewish habitation name from the city of WARSAW (Polish WARSZAWA). The city was founded in the 13th century, it replaced Cracow as capital in the year 1595, after destruction by fire. It was taken by the Germans on 27th September, 1939 and there was a heroic but abortive rising against the German occupation on 1st August, 1944. It was finally liberated on 17th January, 1945. The old city was virtually destroyed in World War II, but has been reconstructed. The name has numerous variant spellings which include WARSZAKOWSKI, WASRZAVSKI, WARSCHAWSKI, WARSCHAWSKY, WARSCHAUER, WARSCHER, WARSCHAWER, WARSZAWER and WARSZAWCZYK. The earliest Polish surnames were patronymic. The personal names from which they were derived were mainly Slavonic, but as the Middle Ages progressed, traditional Slavic given names, began to give way to saint's names, mainly of Latin origin. Surnames derived from Slavonic personal names are of early origin, and tend to be borne by aristocratic families. Many Polish people acquired their surnames by reason of former residence in a town or village. Some names were changed by immigrants whilst on the boat heading for America and Australia. These transformations were usually to names thought by the immigrants to be more respected in their native land than the one he bore. Many Poles added 'ski' to their names to attain a higher social status since such names were accorded more respect from people of Polish extraction. Thus a larger proportion of Polish names carried this termination in America and Australia than in Poland. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
The arms depicted here are the arms of Poland. From the beginning of the 13th century, the premier emblem associated with Poland had been the White Eagle. Its colour and that of the red shield on which it appears have formed the basis for most Polish flags. Over the centuries many variations of both arms and flags have been displayed by Polish ships, military forces and rulers. In the 19th century, when Poland struggled to free itself from foreign domination and to unite the country, the White Eagle and variants of the bicolour based on it were rallying symbols for Polish patriots.
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