Recorded in several spellings including Wisniewska, Wisniewski, Wiszniewski, Wisniowski, Wisniowiecki, and others, this is a Polish surname of great antiquity. It derives from the medieval word 'wisnia' meaning a cherry tree, and was either residential for a person who owned a cherry orchard, or occupational for a wine and spirit merchant, one who sold cherry brandy and other liquers. It can also be Askenasic and as such ornamental in that it was one of the surnames which indicate an abstract and 'pleasant' place.It was one of a large group given to immigrants from Central Europe, many of whom fled to Germany and Poland in the 18th century, to escape from the Muslim terror waged mainly by Turkey and its allies. One of the problems with Polish surnames is that the vast majority of early church registers as previously existed, were destroyed after the Second Word War (1939 - 45) during the Communist Soviet 'reign' which lasted until 1989. As a result it is difficult to obtain early accurate records. The first recording that we have been able to positively identify is that of Jakub Wisniewski, and his wife Maryanna, at Koscielnawies, Bydgoskiego, in 1796.
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