Humanities › History & Culture NOWAK - Surname Meaning and Origin What Does the Last Name Nowak Mean? Share Flipboard Email Print Julie Fletcher/Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated October 14, 2019 The Polish surname Nowak means "new guy in town," from the Polish root nowy (Czech nový), meaning "new." The Nowak surname was also occasionally bestowed on one who converted to Christianity (a new man). Nowak is the most common surname in Poland and is also very common in other Slavic countries, especially the Czech Republic, where Novák tops the list of most common surnames. Novak is also the most common surname in Slovenia and the sixth most common surname in Croatia. Nowak was also sometimes Anglicized as Novak, so it can be difficult to count solely on spelling to determine the surname's origins. Surname Origin: Polish Alternate Surname Spellings: NOVAK, NOWIK, NOVIK, NOVACEK, NOVKOVIC, NOWACZYK Similar to NOWAKOWSKI Where Do People With the Surname NOWAK Live? Individuals with the Nowak last name are found in the greatest numbers in Poland, followed by Germany and Austria. The greatest concentration of individuals with the Nowak surname is found in south and central Poland, especially the voivodeships (provinces) of Wielkopolskie, Swietokrzyskie, Malopolskie, Slaskie, and Lubuskie. The Polish-specific surname distribution map on moikrewni.pl calculates the population distribution of surnames down to the district level, identifying over 205,000 people with the Nowak surname living in Poland, with the majority found in Poznań, followed by Kraków, Warszawa, Łódź, Wrocław, Sosnowiec, Będzin, and Katowice. The Novak surname is found in the greatest density in Slovenia, according to Forebears, followed by the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Slovakia. It is also about twice as common in the United States as compared to Nowak. Famous People With the Surname NOWAK or NOVAK Bob Novak - American TV talk show personalityKim Novak - American film actressJan Nowak-Jeziorański - Polish journalist and WWII hero (he added Nowak as a nom de guerre)Lisa Marie Nowak - former American astronaut Genealogy Resources for the Surname NOWAK Nowak Family Genealogy ForumSearch this popular genealogy forum for the Nowak surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Nowak surname query. FamilySearch - NOWAK GenealogyAccess over 840,000 free historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Nowak surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. DistantCousin.com - NOWAK Genealogy & Family HistoryExplore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Nowak. NOWAK Surname & Family Mailing ListRootsWeb hosts a free mailing list for researchers of the Nowak surname. They also have one for Novak. Browse or search the archive, or subscribe to submit your own Nowak or Novak query. The Nowak Genealogy and Family Tree PageBrowse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Polish surname Nowak from the website of Genealogy Today. Polish Genealogy Databases OnlineSearch for information on Nowak ancestors in this collection of Polish genealogy databases and indexes from Poland, the United States, and other countries. References: Surname Meanings & Origins Cottle, Basil. "Penguin Dictionary of Surnames." Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967.Menk, Lars. "A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2005.Beider, Alexander. "A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004.Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. "A Dictionary of Surnames." New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.Hanks, Patrick. "Dictionary of American Family Names." New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.Hoffman, William F. "Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings." Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1993.Rymut, Kazimierz. "Nazwiska Polakow." Wroclaw: Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich - Wydawnictwo, 1991.Smith, Elsdon C. "American Surnames." Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.