QUOTED FROM www.polishroots.org



"The nature of surname research makes it difficult to provide really detailed information on names without equally detailed research into the history of the individual family that goes by them. But my sources do provide some insights.

Gondek is a spelling variant of Ga~dek, where I'm using a~ to represent the Polish nasal vowel written as an a with a tail under it and pronounced much like on (especially as in French bon). Since the a~ sounds so much like on, it is very common to see names written either way; so Ga~dek and Gondek are two ways of spelling the same name, with Ga~dek being the more "Polish" way to spell it. According to Polish surname expert Kazimierz Rymut in his book Nazwiska Polakow [The Surnames of Poles], Ga~dek appears in Polish legal records as far back as 1415, and derives from the term ga~dek, "player, home-bred musician." So this name was applied to somebody who played an instrument without any formal training.

As of 1990 there were 3,499 Polish citizens named Ga~dek; they lived all over Poland, with the largest numbers in the provinces of: Katowice 378, Kielce 406, Krakow 767, and Tarnow 596. Thus the name is most common in southcentral and southeastern Poland. As for the spelling Gondek, it was borne by 3,042 Poles, with the largest numbers in the provinces of: Bydgoszcz 202, Katowice 320, Krakow 263, and Tarnow 466 -- a similar distribution.