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Surname Saturday - Aiz

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!

3 comments to Surname Saturday – “Aiz”

  • marcis

    knew a bloke once with the really unusual name of traumanis. big boy as tall as me.

    then we have a footballer here with the name of alkermanis. apparantly manis means man of the field?

  • Antra

    “-manis” is the Latvianized form of the German suffix “-mann”, just meaning “man”, often as an occupational marker. Alkermanis (Alkermann in German) might be a form of Ackermann, which would be man of the field. I’ve seen the name Traumanis around, but have yet to figure out what it means.


    Could someone help me with the revision list, census for BAUSKA & RIGA. Family name KULMAN/SEARMAN for the years 1890 to 1906. I have written to the archives, they could not find anything.
    My grandfather MAX KULMAN left about 1905, I have him entering Quebec Canada, Oct 20, 1906. I am unable to find info to trace back….any help would be appreciated. I would be happy to pay for any research. Thanks for reading this.
    Elissa Fishman
    Northridge, California

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