Friday, September 7, 2012

Female surnames

Czech language, as other Slavic languages, has its specialities which are not too easy to understand to people who are not used to this kind of languages. One of these specialities are female surnames. I promised to write an article about them...

Czech female surnames are derived from the male form of the surname. English or German speaking countries are using the same form for both males and females, but Slavic languages are different.

Most common change is simply adding -ová to the end of male form of the surname. This is used in case when the surname ends with a consonant. Here are some examples:
Novák - Nováková
Dvořák - Dvořáková
Peták - Petáková
Famfulík - Famfulíková

If the surname ends with the vowel -a, the vowel is eliminated and -ová is added. Examples follow:
Rybička - Rybičková
Humpola - Humpolová
Liška - Lišková
Růžička - Růžičková

There are also surnames ending with -e and they behave quite randomly:
  • they may eliminate the -e (Kaše - Kašová)
  • they may depend on a family preference (Skočdopole - Skočdopolová/Skočdopole)
  • or they may even preserve the -e esp. in non-Czech surnames (Šebrle - Šebrleová/Šebrlová).
The last case where -ová is used is elimination of the vowel -e- if the surname ends with -ek or -el: -e is eliminated and -ová is added. It's quite complicated to explain, but the examples show it quite well:
Janáček - Janáčková
Pekárek - Pekárková
Nosek - Nosková
Pavel - Pavlová
Kozel - Kozlová

Another example is the case when the surname ends with the vowel -ý. This vowel is replaced by the female form ending with -á. So:
Krátký - Krátká
Černý - Černá
Bezruký - Bezruká
Toužimský - Toužimská

You can see one more case in those registries which are written in German. There is usually -in added to the male version to express that the person is female. Here are examples:
Kout - Koutin
Čermák - Čermákin
Svoboda - Svobodin
There are also surnames that should remain the same in male and female versions (Krejčí, Petrů etc.), but even they are sometimes used according to the previous rules, esp. in older times.
You can also very rarely encounter a surname that may add letters into the root of the surname (or during declension) instead of removing it or changing it: these are surnames like Hrabě-Hrabětová, Dítě-Dítětová, Poupě-Poupětová, etc.


  1. thanks blanka,
    beatiful blog.
    martin balik

  2. Nice to see you blogging! Hope all is well with the new baby and your family. Take Care!!
    Judy from Canada

  3. Thank you for doing the Blog. I had traced my father's family back to Blatna, CZ & Kocelovive, CZ in the 1880s. Perhaps I can gain some insights or directions from your postings.

    Charles Valav, Florida USA

  4. Hi Charles, both Blatna (parish Blatna) and Kocelovice (parish Lnare) registries are available online in the Trebon archives on - you'll be probably able to find your ancestors there. Good luck!

  5. Thanks Blanka! I appreciate the article!

    John Devroy, De Pere, Wisconsin

  6. Is there any standard convention for entering the family names of women in genealogical databases or programs? It seems that most people enter the names of both male and female children as the same, for example Hinková = Hinek. This is also what I have done. But, I always have the question as to whether I should enter the female children as, for example, Hinková.

  7. What I find interesting is that many entries for females in the registries, even when written in Czech, are often written in the male form. Any reason for that?

  8. Hi Blanka
    hope you don't mind me asking about changes of male surnames on this page.
    I have a marriage record on which the groom's surname is Huska but his father's name is Husky.
    I've noticed from birth records that an a is added to the father's name. e.g. Son-Josef Klesl,father-Antonin Klesla.
    On some records I have Father-Josef Kubika and grandfather Vaclav Kubika.
    I know the actual names are Klesl and Kubik but what about Huska? Is it Husk, Huska or Husky?
    Thanks D.

    1. Nominative is Huska, genitive form (possesive clause) is Husky. For example the Czech form "syn Husky" equals "son of Huska" in English.