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Cesky s diakritikou * Cesky bez diakritiky

Why pedigree?

Sometimes during year 1997, I received several e-mails from the USA from people of the same name looking for their origin and relatives. I replied by the following letter.


This is the legend as it has been told to me by my father:

In the times of fading Osman Empire at the end of 16th century (another version speaks about "the second besiege of Vienna by Turks", which was in 1683) a young Turkish officer called Kolafa was captured in a battle near Vienna by Adam z Hradce a na Hluboke. He was held in the Hluboka Castle and had to wait until a ransom came. However, he fell in love with a peasant girl and after the money came he bought a farm (estate) in Mahous u Netolic in Southern Bohemia, was baptized and married the girl, and thus founded the Kolafa kin in Bohemia.

This is the story (in fact, one of several versions), but unfortunately, the historical truth does not seem to be so romantic, though my father swears that there is a record in the church registry of Hluboka about the baptism of Turk named Kolafa in 1595. Antonie Kolafova, a cousin of my father, made thorough investigations in old documents like church registries. In her letter of 1976 (in Czech) (preserved thanks to my uncle Vaclav Kolafa) she does not mention this story, but gives a lot of historical data instead. In brief:

The first record with family name Kolafa was found in the registry of the Hluboka county (estates) in village Busanovice. It is dated 1490 - yes, before Columbus arrived to the New World! After a gap of almost 100 years there are records in Libejovice, also in Southern Bohemia, from 1579, spelled Kolaffa, sometimes Kalafa, and more records from the beginning of the 17th century. Antonie Kolafova investigated changes in ownership of villages and estates and argues that all these occurrences of our name are probably connected.

The family name series (but not the pedigree) of my family can be followed since the times of the Thirty Years War (1618-1638) from Hlavatce as "Kolaffa grunt". The grunt (farmland) was bought in about 1659 by Matej Krivacek, who accepted the name according to the farm. He was my [grand*8]-father. And something at least a bit romantic: double wedding. On January 20th 1788, Jakub Kolafa married Alzbeta Kostkova, a widow, and his brother, my [grand*4]-father Vaclav Kolafa, married her 17 years old daughter Anna.

Kolafa is not too frequent name in the Czech Republic. There are 14 occurrences of Kolafa and Kolafova (female variant of the name: in Czech, suffix -ova is added to woman names) in the Prague phone directory among about 500,000 directory entries.

I have heard that in old Greek, [kappa omicron lambda alpha phi iota zeta omega] (or something like this) means "I slap (sb. into a face)" (or something like this). It could via Aramaic become a Turkish name ... and eventually via an Osman solder be imported to Bohemia (or to some other country). In the recently published book on the origin of Czech family names it is suggested that name Kolafa is derived from Mikulas (or East Slavic Nikola(i), Engl. Nicholas). It sounds quite probable.


Several links for Czech genealogy hackers:
www.mageo.cz/.chatroom/3451 or www.mageo.com/.chatroom/3451, http://www.glasnet.ru/~petrkrouzek/

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