This surname was one of the earliest German surnames into the United States of America, see below, and is associated with the period of Independence (1771 - 1783). It was also one of the earliest surnames in Europe, and were it not for the fact that many ancient registers and charters from the early medieval period are known to have been destroyed in the Second World War, it is probable that we would have discovered even earlier recordings. The name is national, and describes a former inhabitant of Poland. The origination is from the East Prussian 'Pol' (Pole) plus 'ak' meaning 'from', with Poland (the name) meaning 'the low land'. Their are many forms of the surname and these include Polak, Pollack, Pollach, Pohlack, Pollak, Polack, and Boelecke, the German dialectal variant. Early examples of the surname recording taken from German registers includes Elisabet Pollack, christened at Dortmund, Westfalen, on February 10th 1664, Christian Pohlack, christened at Berlin Stadt, Brandenburg, on July 16th 1722. King George 111 of England who was also the king of the state of Hannover, in Germany, encouraged many Hanoverians to emigrate to the colonies of New England, in return for land grants. One of these was probably Bernhard Polak, with his wife Agnes, who were witnesses at the christening of their daughter Anna Margaretha Polak at Rensselacr, Brunswick, N.Y., on December 10th 1777, in the first year of the independant USA. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Kurschener Polag, which was dated 1480, the registers of the town of Golitz, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Joseph 11, of the German Empire, 1465 - 1490. 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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