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Post Posted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:17 am      Post subject: Duplaga
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Finding any reliable info about the surname "Duplaga" is like identifying those unknown people in our photos!!!! My guess is that it is Not a Common name. There are a couple short stories about the origins being French or maybe Italian because a Polish prince married an Italian, and something about skilled workers traveling between the two countries.--but as far as I know, both sides of my family are just Polish-I've never heard anything different.

I paid $26 to get one of those Family Name Certificates and the information on it was so incredibly depressing that we didn't use it in the family book that I worked on with a Cousin. Here's a quote from the Certificate: "In the case of the surname Duplaga, the appeallation arose from the Polish word "plaga", signifying "Calamity", "Scourge" , "Curse", or "Pest". Hence, the initial bearer of the nicknamed "Duplaga" might have been one who had suffered from a series of misfortunes, or who was thought to be "under a curse". By the same token, Duplaga may have referred to a person who was regarded as a scourge: an individual who inspried fear or dread in others." That's quite an Ancestry reputation to live down!!!! The cousin said she had heard those Certificates are not necessarily accurate. Both of us agreed that all our known Duplaga's were pretty kind, sweet, mild manner people!

I did check the maps that give migrations of the surnamed peoples and found several pockets of Duplaga's in various areas of Poland.
I also printed the Ship records off all the Duplaga's that immigrated and found about #70 Duplaga's that came over in the early 1900's. A majority of them seemed to originate from Brzozow (my family), Stara Wies, & Golcowa, all in the south eastern region of Poland. Like many families they spread out and I do know a couple went to Pa., mine and several others ended up in Cleveland and others to New York.

If anyone can add any info regarding the Duplaga's, I'd be most appreciative,
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Post Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:38 am      Post subject:
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Although I haven't found any reliable explanation about meaning or origin of your surname Duplaga I will try to give you some hints and directions.

In 2002 there were 378 individuals using the surname Duplaga living in Poland. The most of them lived in your Brzozów county. Many also lived in, so called, Recovered Territories (Ziemie Odzyskane) . This may mean that the Duplagas were forcibly moved from their home regions by communists after WWII. This happened to people living in south east part of Poland who were regarded as Ukrainians (and other ethnicity minorities: Lemkos and Boykos). You can read more about Operacja Wisła (Operation Vistula) here: .
Detailed map of the surname distribution can be found here: .

Listen how your surname is pronounced in Polish (speakers turned on): .

I think it is worth trying to ask in private message or in email Fred Hoffman, IMHO the greatest expert in Polish surnames meaning nowadays, about meaning of your surname. Just click here: to see exemplary reply received by one of our community members from Fred. Fred's personal page on with contact information (link to private message), can be found here: .

Last edited by Zenon on Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:23 am      Post subject:
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Thank you for the references to some other options for me to check out regarding my Surname of "Duplaga". I've never hear about the "Recovered Territories", so that sounds quite interesting.
I'm pleased to find how I can contct Mr. Hoffman directly-I never thought that would be a possibility for me!
Thank you,
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:31 am      Post subject:
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Hi MaryAnne,
I was playing with Google and found watchmaker Stanislaw Duplaga in Brzozow.
Here is his website in Polish:
And translated into English:

His website includes an email:
A little info from the website (translated thru Google: Laboratory horological Mickiewicza Street 33 in Brzozowie was founded in 1974. Its founder was Bronislaw Duplaga with his son Stanislaw. Originally conducted only watchmakers, the popular Russian repairing watches and clocks. Since 1990, the studio took the son of Stanislaus, which has expanded to the sale of watches, clocks, and in 2002 also introduced a wide range of silver jewelry.

I hope your find that he is related to you!

Also, I once told you that there were Duplaga families in western PA. Here is a link to the obit of attorney Edward Duplaga:
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:24 am      Post subject:
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Right before I read your message, I had recalled that last year I had stumbled across the Watchmaker Duplaga in Brzozow where my Duplaga's are from. I emailed him and we had a few emails going back and forth, but he concluded that we probably were not related and didn't answer my further emails. I had requested if he could possibly find someone else in his family that would be willing to exchange information with me, but he never got back to me. I imagine, it was taking up too much of his time & that he needed to attend to his business.
At some point when I have some further information, I do intend to contact him again, but thought it best not to totally wear out my welcome with him!

In regards to Edward Duplaga-I found a family tree on and found his daughter-in-law. She said in the years before he died, he did provide a lot of names & dates for the tree, but she really didn't have any further info or documents that we could compare.
However, I also located two other people in the U.S.,researching Duplaga's and feel at least one of them is related. We have exchanged some photos and are working at it when we get new info. That would be "Basimara" who is also a Polish Origins memeber.

Thank you for taking the time to do a little research on my behalf!!! I do appreicate it.
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:20 am      Post subject:
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RE: Surnames: Duplaga & Szuba

Here is the wonderful reply that I received from Mr. Hoffman regarding my Surname Origin request.
Please note that he has referred to the village of "Brzozow" mistakenly as Borzow. He had been working on a project with a village named Borzow recently and inadvertantly used the wrong term in this reply! Brzozow is close to Sanok in Southern Poland.


I saw the note you wrote to me on the Polish Origins Forum. SZUBA, pronounced roughly "SHOO-bah," is a fairly simple name to interpret, since in most cases it would come from the noun szuba, "outer covering lined with fur." That word isn't used much in modern Polish, but it still exists in Russian, sounding the same as meaning basically "fur coat." So an ancestor probably was nicknamed SZUBA because he or she was associated with a coat lined with fur -- maybe by making them, selling them, or wearing one.

In his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles], the late Polish surname expert Kazimierz Rymut gave the word meaning "fur coat" as the primary derivation of this name, but added that in some cases there could be a connection with a dialect verb szubac', "to push, shove, causing noise while doing so." That might also produce a nickname for an ancestor who tended to move things noisly. But we'd expect the name in most cases to refer to an ancestor's connection with a fur-lined coat.

DUPLAGA could conceivably be of French origin, from something like DU PLAGUE. There were Frenchmen who resettled in Poland, and over time their names were Polonized. I can't rule that out without studying the history of the specific family. Actually, in almost any case of establishing the derivation of a surname, it's necessary to learn as much as possible about the family that bore it. Different families could come to bear the same surname for different reasons; and name forms and meanings could vary greatly due to dialect tendencies, misspelling or misunderstanding, or even intentional change (maybe a family member didn't like his ancestral name and changed it on purpose).

That said, when studying Polish names, it always makes sense to ask first of all "Is there a Polish derivation for this name that fits?" In this case, there is. Prof. Rymut lists DUPLAGA, pronounced roughly "doo-PLAH-gah," under surnames deriving from the archaic noun dupla, and it has nothing to do with plague or calamity. It's an old word meaning "hole," especially "hole scooped out of a tree" or "cavity in a tooth or tree, especially associated with decay."

The same basic word exists in Ukrainian as duplo, "hollow cavity (of a tooth); hole (of a rotten tree)." SInce Borzow is in an area where Polish and Ukrainian influences on names mix and mingle, it's helpful to check to see whether there is a Ukrainian word sounding similar, and establish what it means. In this case, Polish or Ukrainian, the same basic meaning applies -- a hole or cavity, in a tooth or tree. In fact, I suspect the form with a hard D asin "DOOP-lah" is Ukrainian-influenced, since the word more often shows up in Polish as dziupla, pronounced "JOOP-lah." It's more or less the same word with the same meaning; but Poles would tend to start it off with a J sound, Ukrainians with a D sound.

How could this become a nickname that later was established as a surname? It's hard to say for sure, but we can suggest plausible ideas. Maybe an ancestor had a prominent cavity in a tooth. Maybe he made or used holes in trees, for instance, for beehives. Centuries later, the exact meaning of the name cannot be established with certainty, unless research into the family history produces something that sheds light on the matter. But a nickname alluding to some sort of connection with a hole or cavity seems most likely.

Incidentally, Rymut also mentions that dupla can mean "double-woven cloth," via a connection with the Latin word duplus, compare English double and German doppel. That might possibly apply in some cases. Rymut lists the "hole, cavity" meaning as primary, so that's probably the one you'd expect to be relevant most often. But a nickname alluding to double-woven cloth is plausible, especially if an ancestor made or sold or wore clothes from such cloth.

Without more info based on research into the history of this specific family, we can't say for sure which meaning applied when the name first developed. Maybe an ancestor was "the hole/cavity guy," maybe he was "the double-cloth guy." With luck, your research may turn up something that will help you establish which meaning fits better.

As I said, we can't rule out a possible connection with, say, a French name such as DuPLAGUE. No question, some names borne by people in Poland are of French linguistic origin. But it's a good rule of thumb to favor Polish derivations of Polish names, unless there's some reason to think otherwise. All things being equal, a family from Borzow is more likely to have a name derived from a Polish or Ukrainian word than one from a French word. I'd keep all possibilities in mind as you research, but favor Polish or Ukrainian derivations.

And don't be too quick to listen to "experts," especially if they do no real research into your family history. Anyone who really knows his stuff would check Slavic possibilities before jumping to conclusions based on French names

I hope this helps you, and good luck with your research!

Fred (William F.) Hoffman
Author, Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings

William F. "Fred" Hoffman
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:35 am      Post subject: DuPlaga in Chicago
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MDuplaga wrote:
... However, I also located two other people in the U.S.,researching Duplaga's and feel at least one of them is related.

Mary Ann,
Do you have family connections to Chicago? I found the surname DuPlaga twice in the Chicago Tribune Historical Archives. There was an obituary for Joseph S. Klepek, who passed away on Dec. 25, 1955. According to the obituary, he was " ... husband of the late Sophie A. Klepek, nee Duplaga; fond father of Estelle Bohnhoff, Anthony D., Helen Evans, Lillian Jaremkewycz, John J., and the late Frank Klepek; grandfather of 10; dear brother of Margaret Swiantkowski. ..." Source: Chicago Tribune, Record Number: 19551228dn039.

A partial list of dead, missing, and injured in the aircraft carrier Forrestal accident in the gulf of Tonkin appeared in the Chicago Tribune 1967-07-31. Under 'Missing' it listed a 'Seaman John S. Duplaga'. Source: Chicago Tribune. Record Number: 19670731ob001.

I can send you the full text of both as private message, if you like.
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