The surname of WIECH is a Polish and German nickname for someone supposedly resembling a bat. The name was derived from the Polish word WIECZOREK. Other spellings of the name include WIECK, VECEREK, VECERKA, WIECZORKIEWICZ and WIECZORSKI. Surnames which were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have the same meaning in many languages. The court of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, king of the Franks (742-814) was Christian and Latin speaking). The vernacular was the Frankish dialect of Old High German, and the personal names in use were Germanic and vernacular. These names were adopted in many parts of northwest Europe, particularly among the noble ruling classes. Hereditary surnames were found in Germany in the second half of the 12th century - a little later than in England and France. It was about the 16th century that they became stabilized. Clara Josepine Schumann WIECK (1819-96) was the pianist and composer, born in Leipzig, Germany. She gave her first concert at 11, and published four of her Polonaises the following year. Her compositions include chamber music, songs and many piano works, including a concerto. She married Robert Schumann in 1840, and from 1878 was principal piano teacher in the Conservatory at Frankfurt. 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 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.
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