The surname of RUDNIK is of three-fold origin. It was a Russian patronymic nickname 'the son of RUDAK' meaning the son of the red-haired man. It may also have been a locational name for someone who came from the town of RUDNIK in south east Poland, or from some other place similarly named with the Slavonic word RUDY (red). It was also a Polish habitation name from a village called RUTKI, again derived from the personal name RUDAK. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. The name is also spelt RUDIN, RUDNEV, RUTKOWSKI, RUTKIEWICZ, RUDY, RUDA, RUDNIAK, RUDZSKI, RUDEIKO, RUDENKO, RUDZKO, RUDYONOK and RUDNICKI. Many of this family served the Russian Throne in noble positions and were granted fiefdoms in 1627 and other years. Fedot RUDNEV of the Company of Life Guards by the command of Her Highness Empress Elizaveta Petrovna dated December 31st, 1741, was granted the rank of nobility along with all his legal descendants. 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. 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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