When you are searching for a family in Bohemia or Moravia and you don't know where the family was from surname often helps. There are surnames which occur only in a few specific villages and you can determine where the ancestors were from. But then there are those surnames which occur in tens of thousands. Here are ten of those most common surnames - how many people have them, what they mean and so on.
Almost every Czech surname has its male and female form. That's why there are two very similar surnames in all cases.
1. Novák - Nováková
This surname holds first place with almost 70 thousands occurences (35.5 thousands of female form, 34 thousands of male form). Novák means someone new in the village, someone who came from another place, or someone who built a new house. This surname was very usual after the Thirty Years' War when there were many people moved to new places to ensure the land cultivation or restoration of devastated and abandoned properties.
2. Svoboda - Svobodová
Second place with 26.5 thousands (female) and 25.2 thousands (male form) occurences. Svoboda means liberty and people who had this name were personally free, freemen subordinated directly to the king and not "only" to some nobleman.
3. Novotný - Novotná
Surname very similar to Novák and Nováková - the meaning of the surname is the same, someone new in the village, person coming from another place. There are 25.3 thousands of women having this surname and 24.3 thousand of men.
4. Dvořák - Dvořáková
Another surname which has similar meaning as one of the previous surnames. Dvořák was originally a freeman who owned a farm, "dvůr". Dvůr is the word from which the surname was derived. People who were personally free were very proud of this status. There are 22.3 thousands of men with this surname and 23.3 thousands of women.
5. Černý - Černá
One of the oldest surnames which was based on personal appearence of its holder. Černý means black and the surname meant someone with black hair or dark skin - usually people who were suntanned, often gypsies etc. This surnames is held by 18.5 thousands women and 17.8 thousands of men.
6. Procházka - Procházková
This is quite specific surname connected to the fact that our crafting ancestors were travelling to get enough of experience to become masters of their craft. This surname is very common in milling families - procházka means walkabout or strolling and many millers left their homes to walk a long distance to get the experience. 16.7 and 16 thousands of occurences (female and male form).
7. Kučera and Kučerová
Another surname originating in personal appearence. Kučera is derived from hair - it means curl, someone with curly hair. There are 15.1 thousands of male holders and 15.8 thousands of female holders of this surname.
8. Veselý - Veselá
Not a personal appearence, but one's nature or character. Veselý means someone happy, good-tempered, person who has always a smile on. This surname is a bit of surprise in case of Czech people as there are not so many happy people nowadays. :) 13.6 thousands of women and 13 thousands of men have this surname.
9. Horák - Horáková
Someone who comes from hills or mountains - hora means hill or mountain, so horák is a word for hillman or highlander. Today there are 12.8 thousands of women having this surname and 12.2 thousands of men.
One of those few surnames where is one form for both men and women. There are 12 thousands holders of this surname, not dividing among men and women this time. Krejčí means taylor - and this surname means that its first holder was taylor in his professional life.