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About us


Our new Wolinsky - Wilonsky - Wilensky Family History Y-DNA Study welcomes Wolinskys and all similar spelling variations (plus matching testers with different surnames). This all-volunteer investigative project is designed to move beyond brick walls in traditional research, to use Y-DNA profiles in tracing different Wolinsky (and similar spelling) family lines back to their earliest detectable origins, and to find and either prove or disprove relationships between and within these family lines. The umbrella surname Wolinsky, as used on this website, typically includes similar surnames such as Wilonsky, Wilensky, Wolins, Volinskij, Wilentz, Wolinetz, and so on.


1. OUR TWO MATCHING G2C WOLINSKY SUBGROUP TESTERS, tracing back to different parts of Lithuania on different family lines as early as 1720,

2. OUR R1B WOLINSKY BELARUS SUBGROUP TESTER, tracing back to Grodno Gubernia (Province) in 1750,

and (through Family Tree DNA and Ysearch)

3. THE ASHKENAZI G2C MODAL HAPLOTYPE PROFILE, believed to have likely originated with the Jews expelled from Sicily in 1492-1493 during the Spanish Inquisition,

4. A J2 WOLINSKY PROFILE tracing back to Belarus in 1780 (in the WIRTH Group),

5. A G2C WILENTZ PROFILE tracing back to Lithuania (in the Wilentz Group),

6. A WILENSKY PROFILE (in the Wilensky Group),

7. AN I1 WOLINSKI PROFILE tracing back to Mlawa, Poland, in 1854,

8. A G2C WOLINSKY PROFILE tracing back to the Ukraine in 1760,

9. THE ASHKENAZI G1 MODAL HAPLOTYPE PROFILE, believed to have likely originated in Lithuania,

10. AN R1A1 LEVITE WOLINSKY PROFILE tracing back to Kiev in the Ukraine, and

11.  OTHER WOLINSKY-VARIATION PROFILES accessed through Family Tree DNA and Ysearch.

Our goal is a broad-band, one-stop-shopping Wolinsky-variation surname group with an informative, publicly accessible website where a visitor can discover new and interesting nuggets about his surname history and the different Wolinsky family profiles. We hope to build a group where a prospective tester can join and test against a variety of Wolinsky-variation testers and family line profiles of different haplogroups and subclades. Any similar-surname tester in another group is invited to join our own as a second surname group (just as our members are encouraged to join other Wolinsky-related groups for which they may be eligible).

Related testers will be set up in their own subgroup -- such as our G2c Wolinsky Subgroup. An unrelated tester would have his own subgroup -- such as our R1b Wolinsky Belarus Subgroup -- for future testers to match and join. We hope that having as many Wolinsky-variation testers in our group as possible, along with our public website, will help build the synergy and critical mass to generate more tests and matches needed to discover more about our different Wolinsky family lines -- when and where they came from -- benefitting all the Wolinsky allied groups.

Y-DNA testing measures specific characteristics on the male tester's Y-chromosome -- genealogical markers passed down on the direct paternal line from a father to his son, to his son, to his son, etc., with relatively few changes or mutations over the centuries. These markers usually (but not always) follow the surname back through the generations many hundreds of years ago to the time in history when surnames were first adopted, and then follow the genetic profile back through the Middle Ages and beyond. A second test is recommended to verify each line and avoid the possibility of a diversion in the normal expected surname paternal chain due to an unrecorded adoption, name change, friendly neighbor, or research mistake.

The Y-DNA test for Wolinsky-surname males, swabbing the inside of the cheek, is easy and takes only a few minutes -- 3 swabs at 60 seconds each. The testkit comes in the mail to the tester's home. No blood is involved, and no medical or other information is recorded or obtained.Female Wolinsky descendants and male Wolinsky descendants not having the Wolinsky-variation surname can actively participate by encouraging their Wolinsky-surname brothers, cousins or other relatives to submit a test. We use the leading testing company with the largest databank. No one with our Wolinsky study has any interest in the testing company or any related entity, or receives any type of compensation in connection with our testing program.

Privacy of test results and samples is protected by the strict protocols and guidelines followed by the testing company, as required by federal and state law. Each tester has his own password-protected testkit page where he can see his own results and any matches with other testers. On this Wolinsky group website's Y-DNA Results page, each tester can choose to identify his test results by his earliest known ancestor's name, or by surname and place of origin, or by surname only, etc. Moreover, Y-DNA marker results contain only lineage information (markers showing how closely the tester could be related to another tester with similar markers), and not medical information.

Y-DNA testing as a vital part of our Wolinsky group study has the potential to discover solid, highly reliable information of unique value on the history of our different Wolinsky family lines that cannot be gained through any other means with any level or expense or effort.



Wolinski Name Meaning and History:
Polish, Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic), and Ukrainian: habitational name for someone from Wolin in Szczecin voivodeship or from Wolina in Slupsk and Tarnobrzeg voivodeships, or from the region of Volynia in Ukraine (Ukrainian Volyn, POLISH WOLYN).

[According to one of our Wolinsky researchers, the surname is Wolinsky in Polish and Russian. It is Wolinius in Lithuanian, which transliterates in Yiddish to Wolinetz.]

Wolinsky Name Meaning and History:
Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic) and Ukrainian: variant of Wolinski.

Wilensky Name Meaning and History:
Polish (Wilenski) and Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): habitational name for someone from the Lithuanian city of Vilnius (called Wilno in Polish).

Wolin Name Meaning and History:
Jewish (American): shortened form of Wolinski.
Swedish: ornamental name composed of an unexplained first element (probably abstracted from a place-name in Voll-, formed with vall‘grassy bank,’"pasture’) + the adjectival suffix -in.

Wilen Name Meaning and History:
Dutch: variant of Willen.

Willen Name Meaning and History:
variant of Wille.
habitational name from a place so named near Wittmund.
Dutch: from the personal name Willin (see Wilhelm).


Hereditary family names developed at different times for different groups of people. Jewish family names became more common in the 10th and 11th century as more Jews moved to the cities. The Jews of Spain, Portugal, and Italy had hereditary family names starting in the 14th century. In 1781 Emperor Joseph II of Austria promulgated the Edict Of Toleration for the Jews, which established the requirement for mandatory hereditary surnames. The Jews of Galicia did not adopt family names until 1785. Family names were required throughout the Austrian Empire by the year 1787, with the exception of Hungary. THE GREAT BULK OF THE JEWS IN GERMANY AND EASTERN EUROPE CONTINUED TO FOLLOW THE TRADITION OF USING THE PERSONAL NAME PLUS THE FATHER'S NAME (PATRONYMIC SYSTEM). For example, Yisrul ben Zalman, Avraham ben Zevi.

JEWISH GENEALOGY - ORIGINS OF JEWISH SURNAMES IN POLAND, By Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, 2001 (article #24), updated by Nancy Maciolek Blake, 2005:

Most Poles had surnames by the 1700s, often 100 to 200 years earlier. On the other hand, MOST JEWS LIVING IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF POLAND (WHICH INCLUDED MODERN-DAY LITHUANIA, WESTERN UKRAINE, AND BELARUS) DID NOT HAVE SURNAMES UNTIL REQUIRED TO DO SO BY AUTHORITIES IN THE 1800s. This means that Jewish surnames were given during a period for which many historical records still survive, so they can be traced back in history more easily. Also, their meaning may be understood better than the surnames that were established before the earliest surviving records.

In the old times, Jews in Poland were named after their fathers. This "father's name" was also very important in Russia. For instance Abram, son of Berk was called "Berkowicz" or "Berkson". These fathers' names were sometimes automatically converted into last names. Thus David, son of Abram, was already called David Berkowicz etc.

In addition, Jews were also given German names (Fischel, Hirsch, Toeplitz), Polish names (Paluch, Maka-Maczak), or Hebrew names (Lewim, Tuwim). Typical Jewish names from the time of Polish partition include Goldberg, Silberstein, or Feldman.

Some Jewish names originate from the cities inhabited by Jews, such as Morawski (from Morawy or Moravia); Warschauer, Warszawski or Warski (from the Polish capital Warszawa or Warsaw); and Krakowski (from Krakow).


Adjectival surnames: Like all Polish adjectives, surnames have masculine and feminine forms. If a masculine surname ends in -i or -y, its feminine equivalent ends in -a.

SKI vs. - SKA.. . Surnames ending in -ski are regarded as adjectives, so they , too, reflect gender in different endings. Thus Janowski is the nominative form for a male and Janowska is the same for a woman.

CKI - ZKI Essentially, these are just variants of - ski / ska. Certain words end with consonants that, when combined with the basic ending - ski, produce a pronunciation change.


Apart from these tendencies, the general trend of nomenclature among Jews in the Middle Ages was to adopt that of the countries in which they lived, the given names being often identical with those of the surrounding peoples, and other means of identification being derived mainly from localities or offices. Certain peculiarities of various countries may be taken separately. . . .

[Concerning possible reasons for changing surnames] Superstitions:
It was thought that Jews of the same name should not live in the same town or permit their children to marry into each others' families;[17] this seems to have some reference to exogamy. It is even urged that one should not marry a woman of the same name as one's mother; or that she should be required to change it.[18] Even to the present day it is considered unlucky in Russia for a father-in-law to have the same name as the bridegroom. In other parts of Russia it is considered bad luck to name a child after a living relative. When several children have died in a family the next that is born has no name given to it, but is referred to as "Alter" (Yiddish: אלתר, literally "old"), or Alterke, the view being that the Angel of Death, not knowing the name of the child, will not be able to seize it. When such a child attains the marriageable age, a new name, generally that of one of the Patriarchs, is given to it. For a somewhat similar reason it is considered unlucky in Lithuania to call an only child by his right name.


The U.S. census population figures for Wolinsky-variation individuals shows the relative numbers of the different surname groups and the dramatic increase in populations in 1880-1900 and continuing through 1920. (The innumerable similar surnames such as Wolynski, Shraga, Walenski, etc. are not included because they showed less than 100 in 1920-1930.) We estimate the various surnames together had a total of around 2,500-2,600 in 1930.












The testing member may furnish his direct paternal line information to the group administrator, including the name of the earliest ancestor (and vital dates and places if known) to which he can trace his Wolinsky line with reasonable probability, using conventional research methods. If FTDNA finds a match between members, FTDNA notifies them, and they may communicate with each other and exchange information to expand and extend their lineage.

The volunteer group administrator coordinating the study is an amateur genealogist and a recent arrival in DNA technology. He handles administrative details, answers member questions within his range of information, manages this website, and summarizes results when available with the information and guidance of FTDNA.

The only money that changes hands is between the participant and FTDNA for the test kit and lab work. FTDNA provides discounted prices for our surname group members. The lab work is done by professionals at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

FTDNA is available by email and by phone to discuss the meaning and interpretation of test results with the members and the group administrator. Since the members furnish their own ancestor information based on their own conventional research, some may be correct, and some incorrect. Each member can check the sources of the matching member to verify the accuracy of the pedigree information. Neither FTDNA nor the group nor its administrator can verify or vouch for the accuracy of the names, dates, or other pedigree information furnished by the members.

Anyone who wishes to help advance our investigation in Europe and elsewhere may do so by contributing to future key tests through the FTDNA General Fund for this Wolinsky surname group.

This website is updated periodically with new information. Any additions or corrections to the information on this website and any ideas to make this website more useful, accurate, relevant or informative, or to improve the design of the study, are welcome.