This surname of KRENN was a Polish habitation name from a place named with the Polish word CHRZAN (horse-radish), presumably a name applied to someone who lived near or sold horseradishes. It may also have been a nickname for someone with a stinging tongue. Nicknames usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants. The name is also spelt KRENEK, CHRZANOWSKI, KERENOV and KRENEKE. A notable member of the name was Ernst KRENEK, born in 1900, the American composer, born in Vienna. He worked with various German theatres as a conductor-director, and eventually became professor at Vassar College, New York. He has written two symphonies, and his style ranges from jazz to serialism. 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. There are nearly 600 families bearing the arms of a horseshoe enclosing a cross. 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 his 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. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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