Saturday, November 28, 2015

More Plesz history

So, I've blogged a few times about my quest to discover more history behind my surname, here and here.

I originally thought our heritage was German. After all, my grandparents spoke German. Based on some recent discoveries, my theories seem way off. Let's recap what we knew and add what we know now.

My Opa said the evolution of the name went something like this: Plac - Plas - Ples - Plesz. As I mentioned before, the World Names Profiler site shows the highest concentrations of Plesz in Poland, Hungary and Austria. Ples is found in Hungary, Austria and Slovenia.

My Opa said that our heritage is based in an area of Europe that over time was always becoming part of another country. I figured that this made the corner of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic a prime candidate for the origin of the name. I was a little off.

Now we have new information. My grandparents, according to official Canadian naturalization records, came from Yugoslavia. He's listed here as Adam Plesz, cabinet maker.

Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia. Slovenia has a town named Plac. Plac happens to be right on the border with Austria. The area that Plac is in was once part of Styria. Styria was once part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire and was eventually split, the northern part becoming part of modern day Austria and the southern part becoming part of Slovenia. In more recent times, Slovenia was annexed by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Hungary during WWII.

Now, this is all circumstantial, but places are usually named after families and we were once Plac. When you take into account that Ples and Plesz have high concentrations in Slovenia, Austria and Hungary, that seems to tell a big story. Plac has pretty much evaporated as a name as has Plas.

If anyone out there has any additional Plesz history, be sure to let me know.

Update: My grandmother's maiden name (from the naturalization records) is Rochbacher, which is predominantly Hungarian.

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