The subjects of my examination are samples of Silesian surnames derived from the dialectal words determining objects of an animate and inanimate nature. The names of animals were more often used as a base to create the surnames derived from nicknames (derived from appellatives). They were more expressive due to their metaphoric meaning reflecting specific features of people and their evaluations. The signification of botanic (inanimate) nouns used within names was less transparent, however they are thought to refer to an anthropomorphic view of plant behaviour, e.g. dialectal woska/osika [aspen] — trembling. The belief that specific phenomena in nature have supernatural, magic or demonic powers, as well as other difficult to grasp factors, played a very important role in the creation of nicknames and later surnames for the Silesian population. The dialectal “nature” appellatives, which were the source for surnames derived from nicknames, also show that the same dialectal lexeme can have a different meaning in different Polish regions. On the other hand, dialectal lexemes which sound identical in specific Polish regions but differ semantically determine the cultural identity of the micro-speaking country. The same phenomenon can be observed within surnames.
The authors discuss the main premises of the project “The most popular surnames in Poland — past and present. E-dictionary” which has been in development since July 2014 in IJP PAN in Krakow. They also present its basic aims and functions, progress already made and they compare it with other dictionaries of surnames. The authors describe several aspects of the dictionary related to IT and computers but also those concerned with onomastics and lexicography. Additionally, they pay particular attention to the information contained in specific parts of each entry.