Illustrious names such as Tarnawski proudly evoke images of the historic Eastern European homeland of the Polish people. Although the most common form of a hereditary surname in Poland is the "patronymic" surname, which is derived from the name of the father, there are also "local" surnames. Local
surnames usually came from a fairly universal and long standing tradition of noting "where" a person came from. They were derived from place-names; where a person lived, held land, or where he was born. Over the course of its history, the boundaries of Poland changed frequently and as a result, Polish names have much in common with other Slavic names in the way they are formed and in reference to localities. Polish surnames often end with a diminutive suffix, such as -owicz, ak, ski or ska, which can be attached to local
names. A "local" type of surname, the Tarnawski family lived in the city of Tarnow in the region known as Malopolska, which means Little Poland. However, it was Cracow where the lineage originated. The earliest records of the House of Tarnowski date back to 1330, when a Spicimir Tarnowski, who was a member of the Cracow nobility, founded the city of Tarnow and the Melsztyn castle.
Early Notables of the Tarnawski family (pre 1700)
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