This surname of KOSTKA was a Russian and Jewish surname, originally derived from the nickname KOZYOL (meaning goat) and denoting a stubborn, lecherous or malodorous man. It also perhaps was an occupational name for a goatherd. The name has many variant spellings which include KOSCIUSZKO, KOZIOL, KOZLOVSKI, KOZLOFF and KOZLIK. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, usually ending in 'ov' or 'ev'. 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. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States, Australia and Israel in recent years. 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. 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. A notable member of the name was Tadeusz Andrej KOSCIUZKO (1746-1817), the Polish patriot. He received a military training in France; being devoted to the cause of national freedom, he offered his services to the revolutionary forces in America in 1777, and served with distinction in the War of Independance.
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