Recorded in a number of spellings including Gajewski, Gajownik, Gajewicz, and Gajic, this is a surname of mainly Polish, but sometimes Czech or Croation origins. It derives from the ancient pre 10th century words gaj meaning a wood or grove, with -ow meaning relative of, and -nik, a diminutive, or -ski, indicating land or estate ownership. The latter was originally equivalent to the French preposition of status 'de' or the German 'von', being minor nobility. Loosely the surname without the final suffix, translates as the relative of the forester, and with -nik suggests a translation of the son of the relative of the forester. The spelling as Gajewski apparently originates from a place of the same name, and translates as the land or estate belonging to the relative of the forester, or similar. One of the main difficulties with surnames is that in the seven centuries which have passed since most names were created, not only have languages and country borders changed out of all recognition, but so have the actual meanings. A coat of arms grnated to the Gajewski family of Pomerania probably in the 16th century, has the blazon of a red field charged with three crossed silver lances.
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