Welcome to Surname Saturday on Discovering Latvian Roots!
Today we’re going to look at Latvian surnames beginning with the prefix “aiz-”. This is a prefix that can mean various things depending on the context, but most commonly it means “beyond”, “behind” or “across”.
All of these names are from surname lists found in the book “Kas jāzina uzvārdu mainītājiem” (“What to know if you want to change your surname”), by Alberts Kalniņš (produced by the author in Jelgava, 1940).
In the National Printing House supplement that suggests names that could be taken by Latvians changing their surnames, there are a number of “aiz-” names: Aizkalns (beyond the hill), Aizlīcis (beyond the bay), Aizpurviņš (diminutive of Aizpurvis, “beyond the swamp”, Aizsils (beyond the pine forest), Aizupietis (one from across the river) and Aizvalks (beyond the portage point). There are two more “aiz-” names in this list which are outside of the typical context, Aizkrauklis (related to the town name Aizkraukle which is from the German Ascheraden) and Aizsalnieks (possible occupational name related to “aizsalt”, meaning “to freeze”).
The “new Latvian surnames” list provided by Kalniņš adds even more “aiz-” names, such as Aizāre (possibly beyond the open space”), Aizbars (beyond the crowd), Aizgalietis (one from beyond the edge), Aizietis (one who went away), Aizlaidnis (one who has been let go), Aizleja (beyond the valley), Aizlinājs (beyond the flax field), Aizmežs (beyond the forest), Aizpliens (beyond the hardened clay) and Aizstrauts (beyond the stream). Outside of the “beyond/behind/across” context we have Aiza (ravine), Aizdars (liaison), Aizdeglis (wick), Aizkurs (kindling), Aiztece (related to “aiztecēt”, meaning “to flow away”) and Aizvars (gate/seal).
From my Latvian Surname Project, we have even more “aiz-” names (with an attested location), some related to ones mentioned above: Aizgals (one from beyond the corner; Plāņi), Aizpurvis (one from beyond the swamp; Meirāni), Aizupe (beyond the river; Sinole) and Aizvakars (day before yesterday; Skaņkalne).
Do you have more “aiz-” surnames to add to the list? Let me know in comments!