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Updated March 27, 2024

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Ukraine has been at the center stage of global news since early 2022 due to its unfortunate battle against Russia for independence. However, the seeds of this war stem back to 2014 and, truthfully, much further than that.

Ukraine is the second-largest country in Eastern Europe, with Russia bordering it to the north and east. Belarus, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldovia also share a border with the 230,000 square mile country. 

Ukraine has long been ruled by the Russian empire but gained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It also spent a significant amount of time as part of the Austrian Empire, and it was during this time, for taxation purposes, that using surnames began.

Ukrainian is the most common language spoken by almost 70% of the population as their first language. On the other hand, 30% of Ukraine's citizens speak Russian as a first language, and a small percentage speak Hungarian. 

Most Ukrainian surnames stem from Slavic languages and culture. It is common to see last names that stem from jobs, geographic or cultural associations, and traditional patronymic origins. 

If you’re looking to learn more about Ukrainian culture or want to know the meaning of your family name before choosing a baby name, then check out our list of Ukrainian last names and meanings. 

Patronymic Ukrainian Last Names

Patronymic Ukrainian last names are derived from the first name of a person's father, adding a suffix to the father's name, which identifies the individual as being the child of so-and-so. These names tell a story of lineage and heritage, connecting generations together in a chain of familial recognition. Because of this, patronymic Ukrainian last names often have a -ko, -enko, -chuk, or -vich suffix. 

  1. Adamovich - "Son of Adam." One of the most common surnames in Ukraine.
  2. Alekseev - "Son of Aleksy or Alex."
  3. Antonova - A Russian surname meaning "Son of Anton.
  4. Andrich - Derived from the name Andrji.
  5. Babich - A matronymic name referring to a grandmother or older woman.
  6. Bondarenko - "Son of a cask maker."
  7. Davidovich - "Son of David."
  8. Ivanko - "Son of Ivan." It has Hebrew roots stemming from Yahweh.
  9. Ivanov - A Russian name meaning "Son of Ivan. Ivan is the Slavic version of the English/Hebrew name John.
  10. Kovalenko - "Son of a blacksmith."
  11. Markovich - "Son of Marko or Mark."
  12. Panchenko - This patronymic name stems from the personal name Panko.
  13. Petrenko - "Son of Peter."
  14. Shevchenko - "Son of a shoemaker."
  15. Stoylarchuk - "Son of a carpenter."
  16. Yurkovich - "Son of Yurko."
Kyiv, Ukraine

Toponymic Ukrainian Last Names

Toponymic Ukrainian last names originate from geographical locations or places. These surnames were often granted based on the family's place of origin, residence, or the location of the land they owned. They serve as a link to the family's geographical roots and history within Ukraine.

  1. Barno - An Italian name common in Tuscany. It may have been a nickname used to describe people with dark or olive skin or who came from Italy. 
  2. Boiko - An ethnic name for people from the east Slavic tribes (Boyko) or Carpathia mountain people.
  3. Lyashenko - Stems from a slur for Polish people, lyakh
  4. Litvinchuk - A name initially used to denote a Lithuanian or Belarusian person; it stems from the word litvin.
  5. Malinski - A Polish origin name referring to people from Malina in Poland. 
  6. Polishchuk -  A name referring to people who stem from the Belarusian and Ukrainian border.
  7. Zelinski - "Green." It may have originated as a name for people from a green or lush area. It is also a common name in Poland. 

Occupational Ukrainian Last Names

Occupational Ukrainian last names are indicative of the profession or the trade of the family or ancestors. This category of surnames provides insights into the contribution of the family to society, showcasing the professional identity and societal roles fulfilled by the family line through generations.

  1. Archaki - This name has Greek origins and means "lord or ruler."
  2. Bondar - "Cooper."
  3. Bortnick - "Beekeeper."
  4. Kolesnik - "Wheelwright."
  5. Koroliuk - Stems from the word korol for "a king."
  6. Kosmen - A Jewish name that refers to glass makers.
  7. Koval - "Blacksmith."
  8. Kozar - "Goat herder."
  9. Kravets - "Tailor."
  10. Kushnir - "Furrier."
  11. Melnyk - "Miller."
  12. Ponomarenko - An occupational name referring to a sexton. 
  13. Shvets - "Shoemaker." A common Ukrainian-Jewish last name.
  14. Tkachenko - "Weaver or tailor."

Personality or Physical Trait Ukrainian Last Names

Personality or physical trait Ukrainian last names are surnames that were often derived from characteristics or notable traits of an ancestor. These names might describe physical features, temperament, or moral qualities, providing a glimpse into how individuals were viewed or remembered within their communities.

  1. Aksamit - A Polish name that means "velvet."
  2. Balaban - "To chatter."
  3. Bartosh - Stems from a nickname for Bartholomew.
  4. Borys - This name stems from Russian or Bulgarian, meaning "to fight."
  5. Buchko - "Noisy person."
  6. Chernenko - "Black." It may refer to dark skin or dark hair and features. 
  7. Dovzhenko - "Long."
  8. Holub - Used in Czech, Ukrainian, and Belorussian to mean "dove."
  9. Karmazin  - Stems from the Arabic word for "red."
  10. Kiska - "Cat." Perhaps a nickname for a sly or stealthy person. 
  11. Kozak - Stems from the Turkish word kazak and means "free."
  12. Kryvonis - "Curved nose."
  13. Rudenko - "Red hair."
  14. Vovk - "Wolf."

L. Elizabeth Forry

About L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom… Read more

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