Recorded as Kalisch, Kalisz, Kaliszewski, and Kaliszek, this is a Polish and sometimes Ashkenasic, surname, and apparently one of royal or noble origins. It is described as being habitational from the town of Kalisz in Central Poland, the town name itself is believed to derive from the pre 7th century Old Polish word "kal" meaning muddy, and therefore cognate with the English "slough". If this derivation is correct these places must have been very muddy indeed, considering that little drainage existed anywhere! Habitational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification, after they had left their original homesteads to move somewhere else. This may only be the next village or some far away city, but the same principle applied. However the name could also refer to the local lord of the manor of his descendants. In Poland they were often distinguished by the suffix additive of "-ski", which originally had similar nobility status to the German "von" and the French "de", indicating land and estate ownership. In this case the earliest known record and possibly the oldest record in Poland is that of Miescko Kalish. He is given as being the Prince of Wladislaw, and was born at Poznan in 1162.
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