This unusual surname, recorded in 19th Century Registers of Germany and Poland under the variant spellings Babinska and Babski, is ultimately of Russian origin, and is either a metronymic from "Baba", "Grandmother" (originally a nursery word), or else a patronymic/nickname from the same word denoting a rather fastidious old man. Russian surnames are almost exclusively patronymic (occasionally metronymic) in form, and usually have the possessive suffix "-in" when formed from names ending in a vowel; hence, "Baba-in", contracted to "Babin". The Polish suffix "-ski" (equivalent to the French "de", and the German "von"), originally indicated association with a place, but later came to be used much more widely to form surnames, being attached indiscriminately to given names and nicknames as well as to locational names. Variations on Babinski recorded in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Russia include: Babak, Babski, Babicky and Babinsky. On June 4th 1820, Vinzenz Babinsky was christened at Litomerice, Czechoslovakia, and on September 21st 1830, Thomas Babinski was christened at Feszke, Graudenz, Westpreussen, Germany. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and depicts a silver horseshoe, points downwards, and a silver cross pattee, on an azure shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mikulas Babak, which was dated 1673, recorded in Dobra Voda Mezirici, Maehren Kroenlande, Austria, during the reign of Leopold 1, Habsburg Emperor, 1658 - 1705. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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