The study is based on the data from the parish register of baptisms in the village of Jadowniki Podgórne (Malopolska region), dated from 1784 to 2005, and on the results of a questionnaire, which was answered by contemporary parents. The work concerns the influence of different factors on the frequency with which some names are given to children and the relation between worship of local saints and the process of choosing a name. At the beginning of the 19th century the names of the local patron saints became very popular. Besides, Polish counterparts of the names given to members of the royal Hapsburg family became popular among the inhabitants of the Malopolska region. The first half of the 20th c. witnessed the rise in popularity of names of Slavonic origin. During the second world war and after it some names were very popular because of political reasons and the influence of pop culture. Nevertheless, parents continued to name their children after the names of the local patron saints. In the 1970s and 1980s traditional names connected with the local worship of saints almost disappeared. These names were replaced with modern names, without any reference to the past. Names of local patron saints were given as the first names; later, when their popularity gradually declined, they became rare. Finally, as a trend of giving second names developed, names of local patron saints were given as the second name. A few factors contributed to the popularity of a group of names frequently chosen - worship of a local patron saint, commemoration of a parent (a grandparent or godparent), relation between the date of birth and the celebration day of a patron saint. Nowadays, the motivation behind the choice of names has changed. The first name is regarded as a part of the personal image that represents its owner, while the second name is connected with the Christian tradition or family customs. But the tradition is followed without any knowledge of the etymology and without any regard for the attributes connected with particular names. It seems that the tradition can be preserved but it is required that its gist be internalised.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.