This German and Polish surname of WINIARSKI is an occupational name for a producer or seller of wine, derived originally from the Old German WEIN. The name was also adopted by Ashkenazic Jews, largely recollecting the prominence of wine in the Jewish Scriptures and its use in Jewish ceremonies. It has been suggested that the surname has been adopted because of the symbolic association of the vine with the Hebrew personal name ISRAEL (they shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine) Jeremiah. 6:9, but since wine is mentioned over nine hundred times in the Jewish scriptures it is almost impossible to explain which reference there is to this name. During the Middle Ages the manufacture and fermenting of wines and ale was necessary in every small village. Ale was the people's food in liquid form, and was consumed by everybody at all times. The extreme poverty of the Franciscans when they first settled in London was noted by a writer at the time 'I have seen the brothers drink ale so sour that some would have preferred to drink water'. In early times each villager usually brewed his own drink although he often had to pay the lord of the manor for the privilege of using his equipment. In later times the manufacture of ales and wine became an important monastic industry. The name is also spelt WEINER, WEINMAN, WEINERMAN, WAINERMAN, VEINER, WEINBACH and WEINSTOCK to name but a few. 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.
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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