Help, the Internet knows where I live! It even has a map. A Polandian reader wrote and asked me if there are any people in Poland called Dyle. I said I doubted it, even though there is a village with that name, but what the hell would I know anyway? Twenty Google minutes later I had come up with this nifty name-checking site that shows the distribution of surnames across the country. I remember playing with something similar a few years ago in the UK, but it had never occurred to me to check my own surname in Poland:
Two Stokes in Krakow. The weird thing is, I don’t think this is me or my wife. I bet this is based on 2002 Census data, and I wasn’t here in 2002.
Clearly, I couldn’t leave it there:
Surely our very own Scatts—unique and ‘special’ as always.
I would have searched for the surnames of the other Polandians, but they very sensibly haven’t revealed then on this site. I’m not sure they even have surnames. I just call them Newboy 1,2, and 3. I was, however, unable to resist the temptation to search for Kowalski:
67,203 Kowalskis—I thought there would be more.
And Kowalska, because I’m not a complete idiot:
71,158 Kowalskas—the sisters are the longer-lived half of the clan.
But what about the English equivalent—Smith? Just how pervasive is the evil influence of British culture?
98 Smiths—not bad. Apart from the expected Warsaw concentration, there’s a weird agglomeration of Smiths in the tiny town of Nidzica.
152 Jones: the second most common English name, and the most common Welsh name—I didn’t know Lublin was sheep country. Jones is such a common name in Wales that Welsh regiments routinely add a service number to the names of privates who have it: “Jones 397! Get a haircut you ‘orrible little man.”
What about common immigrant names in the UK—how widely are they represented in Poland?
127 Singhs—it’s more common than Smith. I was quite surprised by this because I haven’t noticed a significant Indian community here. Singh is a hugely common surname in Northern India and, literally, all Sikhs are called Singh—a fact that has caused more than one immigration official to leap from a tall building.
What about Patel?
Only 3 Patels! Patel is a common Indian surname: it is the third most common surname in the London area. Strange there should be a lot of Singhs but so few Patels. Sikhs also live in Pakistan, which had close Cold War links with Poland, so maybe that’s the reason.
What about the ethnic minorities we know live in Poland? Nguyen is the classic Vietnamese surname, it accounts for something like 40 percent of the population. Tran is the second most popular.
A healthy 339 Nguyens, unsurprisingly clustered in urban fast-food centers.
109 Trans—about equal to the Smiths.
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The map is here if you want to play with it.