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Thread: Sorbs/Wends in Ober- and Niederlausitz

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    Anyone with knowledge of the Sorb/Wend peoples in the Ost should read:

    I can trace my family back to the 1600s in the Vogtland, an industrialized region in Sachsen; specifically the Zwickau, Werdau, Leubnitz, and Lindhart area. I recently talked with a German from Berlin with my last name - Schurk - who says that it is NOT German as I have been told (Schurk[e] = rogue, scoundrel in Deutsch). Instead, it means "hamster" in Sorbian, a slavicized language of Deutsch as the Germans who spoke it left the Reich during the "scorched earth" days of Charlemagne but returned later - as I am told.

    The Vogtland is roughly 40 miles away from Ober- and Niederlausitz, so I think that this Berliner could be right. Can anyone tell me anything about these people?

    Kampfzentrum

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    Zyklop's Avatar
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    AW: Sorbs/Wends in Ober- and Niederlausitz

    Quote Originally Posted by Kampfzentrum
    Anyone with knowledge of the Sorb/Wend peoples in the Ost should read:

    I can trace my family back to the 1600s in the Vogtland, an industrialized region in Sachsen; specifically the Zwickau, Werdau, Leubnitz, and Lindhart area. I recently talked with a German from Berlin with my last name - Schurk - who says that it is NOT German as I have been told (Schurk[e] = rogue, scoundrel in Deutsch). Instead, it means "hamster" in Sorbian, a slavicized language of Deutsch as the Germans who spoke it left the Reich during the "scorched earth" days of Charlemagne but returned later - as I am told.
    Here a distribution map for the name "Schurk". As you see it is also found in non-Sorbic regions. I doubt it has any Slavic correlations. "Hamster" in Polish seems to be Chomik.

    The Duden - Familiennamen has no entry for Schurk but the name sounds like Schurig which is common in Saxony and seems to stem from Schurich(t) which means shoemaker.

    I also don´t understand the remark about Charlemagne and the Germans who allegedly left the Reich.


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    Re: AW: Sorbs/Wends in Ober- and Niederlausitz

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyklop
    Here a distribution map for the name "Schurk". As you see it is also found in non-Sorbic regions. I doubt it has any Slavic correlations. "Hamster" in Polish seems to be Chomik.
    That sounds about right, the Russian [in Deutsch orthography] is Chomjak. There is another small rodent with a name similar to schurk, however - I can't remember which though.
    Hmm, I just flipped through the dictionary and found SUROK = marmot, but I remember something better than that.
    The Duden - Familiennamen has no entry for Schurk but the name sounds like Schurig which is common in Saxony and seems to stem from Schurich(t) which means shoemaker.
    I would say from the distribution however, that the concentration around Luzhits does seem to be the most 'natural' or 'organic' looking, as the name is spread out diffusely, with no gaps, making a solid block on the map. The ones in the southern Lander are far more scattered, suggesting a recent migration, perhaps to the cities of the Rheinland in search of work.
    Perhaps the best solution is that there are two different origins [you see this a lot with Anglicised Irish names like mine, where two names look alike but have VERY different Gaelic originals], one German [and related to English 'shirk' it would seem] and one Slavonic. Surnames like Khomyakov are very common in Russia, so I don't see why they shouldn't be seen in other Slavonic territories.
    Once Slavonic in the Margravates began to lose out to German, you would expect old Serb names whose meanings were now forgotten and that already slightly resembled a more familiar German name, would be further Germanised.
    THus, there might be two unrelated families [or groups of families], one Franconian, and one Serbski. Kampfzentrum's genealogical efforts seem to indicate he is of the latter.
    I also don´t understand the remark about Charlemagne and the Germans who allegedly left the Reich.
    No, but it seems to me that Kampfzentrum has read a distorted account of how the Germanics left the area [there was no 'Reich' then]to the Slavs in the Great Migrations, and later reconquered it in Mediaeval times. Some politically motivated things I've read suppose the Luzhitskie Serby to be merely Slavonicised Ancient Germanians, and thus 'Proper Deutschers'! Hmmm...

    By the way, Well done Zyklop, linking to this map was a good idea. I love these things - I only wish I had more German acquaintances to look for! Oddly enough, I looked for O'Neill [I know several Irish in Germany of that name], and found a surprising amount...

    p.s. here's a good little online dictionary;
    http://sweb.cz/tyras/polabane/pl-pb.htm

    Four columns;
    POLSKO-POŁABSKO-CZESKO-NIEMIECKI
    i.e Polish, Polabian [or Wendish, Serbski's close relative now extinct from near Hamburg, by the Elbe [Laba in Slavonic, hence po-Labians, On-the-Laba-people], Czech and German.

    It's amazing how often the Polabian is more like the Russian than either Polish or Czech!

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