Kosman family history

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The Kosman family crest from the most recognized sources. Before an artist or craftsman can render a family crest, it must exist. In other words the crest must have been designed and recorded by the heralds from time immemorial.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Cosmas, Cosmos, Kosmin, Kosmas, Cosimo, Cosumano, Gosmin, Gosmas, Kusmin, Kusmas and many more.

First found in Silesia, where the name gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging mediaeval society.


  1. Czech and Polish: from an altered form of the Greek personal name Kosmas (a derivative of Greek kosmos ‘order’, ‘universe’), borne by an early Christian saint martyred in Cilicia in ad 303 under the emperor Domitian, together with his brother Damian.
  2. Jewish (Ashkenazic): from the Jewish personal name Kosman, borrowed from German Christians.
  3. Jewish (Ashkenazic): occupational name for someone who made glasses or cups, from Hebrew kos ‘drinking glass’ or Yiddish kos ‘goblet’, ‘cup’ + man ‘man’.
Goeldi's Marmoset_T
Or rather, our great ancestors the marmoset, which in Czech is Kosman?


  1. Slovenian, Croatian, Czech, and Polish: nickname from kos ‘blackbird’, denoting someone thought to resemble the bird in some way, for example someone with a good singing voice (or perhaps our big and famous beaks?). This is a very common surname in Slovenia and Croatia.
  2. Czech and Sorbian (Koš): metonymic occupational name for a basketmaker, from koš ‘basket’.
  3. German (Kös): possibly a nickname for a gossip or a smooth-talker, from Middle High German kosekoese ‘talk’, ‘chat’. Compare Koser.
  4. Jewish (Ashkenazic): of uncertain origin. It may be an ornamental name from Slavic kos ‘blackbird’, as in 1, or alternatively it may be from Hebrew kos ‘drinking glass’ or Yiddish kos ‘goblet’, ‘cup’, probably applied as a metonymic occupational name for someone who made glasses or cups. (Well, we do like to drink a lot of, er..)
  5. Dutch: from a Zeeland personal name derived from Constantius (see Constant).
  6. Hungarian (Kós): from a Turkish loanword kos ‘ram’ (from Old Turkish qoc, Ottoman Turkish qoç); perhaps a metonymic occupational name for a shepherd but more probably a nickname for someone thought to resemble the animal.

From the words of my dad:

I  grew up believing that my grand-grandma was Jewish. The following is as told by grandparents from my father’s side.

The last of a line of Bohemian knights named Wotzel (“vocel” meaning steel) married in Vienna an irresistibly beautiful Jewish girl. That was a social no-no and he, ostracized by the establishment, ended up drinking to death. They had two children. The boy as a young man went to America and vanished in the Wild West. Perhaps something like “Dancing with Wolves.” The girl, nurtured by relatives, grew up in Vienna, where she married my grandfather Karel Kosman. He was sent by his father, a Bavarian freehold farmer, to the high society to “learn manners.” He landed a job with the Austrian-Hungarian Empire railroad, that eventually relocated him as a train inspector to Bohemia. My father, who was six at the time, had to learn Czech while starting school.

Grandma, considered 50% Jewish, could have been taken away to a concentration camp during the reign of Hitler, but she was saved by marriage to an “Aryan.”
Ironically, however, his family may have actually originated from Serbia, where there is a village of the same name. You can google their hero Kosman still today. Historically, people from the general area (notably Turkey) often migrated to Germany.

Later, when I googled our not-very-common name, I found it could also be Jewish or Turkish. The Jewish version’s original meaning is a cupbearer. The Slavic originates from a “man of the world (Kosmos).” I like that, except I was still apparently 12.5% Jewish, so decided to check some more. Turns out that Eastern European Jews (known as Yiddish) aren’t Jewish by ethnicity but by conversion. From nomadic tribes roaming the Russian planes.

Bohemia, where we come from, is the original homeland of the Celtic tribe Boii. Early AD, Czechs migrated in following the river Danube from the East. The two tribes apparently liked each other, blending in a 60/40 ratio. Thus, my Bohemian mother Helena was 60% Celtic and 40% Slavic. Assuming that my Viennese father was 75% Slavic and 25% Yiddish, I, Karel Kosman the 3rd, am 57.5% Slav, 30% Celt, and 12.5% Yiddish.

More of my dad’s writings on the history of Czechs with some tips to friends what to enjoy there.

So as far as I’ve collected (as told by my aunt Jana), there was some mad German Albino genius named Wotzel, a choleric.

He was a judge and remembered all the laws in his head, but he was also a mad degenerate, a small little man who tyrannised his entire family. He used to take home prostitutes and all sorts of tramps and bums, and forced his wife, a Jew, to bring in lots of cash from her Jewish connections. Growing up in such an environment, the two kids, Jana and her brother Theodore, had two dogs who they antagonised against each other and thought it was great fun, or they would shoot apples off each others’ heads with a rifle. Theodore was a bit of an albino and liked Indians, and eventually moved away to America and became friends with the Dakotans, never to be heard from againWotzel’s Jewish wife soon died, probably because he wore her to death, so her daughter my great-grandma Jana (Baba Jana, as my aunt likes to call her), who was about 15 at the time, went to live with her rich aunt and uncle. Because the doctor said that Baba Jana was from a degenerate family, they found an almost primitive but healthy bridegroom for her, who was Karel Kosman I, the first in a subsequent chain. He was pretty tall, and Jana was really short – about 150cm tall. The first child, Viktor Kosman, was also very tall and Baba Jana loved him very much. My grandfather, Karel Kosman II, was the second son and very aggressive like his grandfather Wotzel, and would beat up Viktor, even though Karel was small and four years the younger.

About the first and very tall Kosman: the rich aunt with the rich uncle had great and influential friends and later moved to Vienna, where they often spoke German at home. This Kosman was a poor sod because Baba Jana would commandeer him and often would throw things at him. Baba Jana was a half Jew and feared for the lives of her two sons, and some of our relatives eventually died in German concentration camps.

My father, Karel Kosman III, had it well, their household had a maid, and he was also considered a genius, because in school he calculated everything in his head, and often faster than the teachers. He acquired an education as an electronic engineer, and when the communists came after the war, he adjusted his radio to focus all its waves so that he could catch news from the west, which he subsequently printed and distributed on the streets from his motorbike.

After the Prague Spring and when the communists rolled in to “save us”, we packed up all our stuff and scrammed for the border. The communists gave all rebel rousers till midnight to get out of the country (better to let such elements out now than to deal with an underground movement later), so at the age of 26, I at the age of 3 and half and my sister at the age of 2, we went with our mom in our 2 cylinder Lada, packed up our stuff, and made a dart for the border. But the Czechs, in their miscalculated endeavour to slow down the Russian tanks, littered the roadways with nails and my father had to patch up our tires six times. At some point we got to a fork in the road and stepped out to ask a neighbouring home which way to go, but they were hiding inside in fear and did not come out to guide us. So we took a wild guess and made it to the border by 3 in the morning. Very afraid, we handed the border guards our documents, but they just smiled and let us go on our way.

After making it through the Alps with our two cylinders, we hooked up in Switzerland with all the other Czechs to compare stories. When we told them what time we made it past the border, everyone started distancing themselves from us, assuming that we must be communist spies. So we pulled out and compared our maps and it turns out that the road we took from the fork was not on the Russian map. So I guess I am fortunate to have grown up in the west by a mere 50% chance.

My mom didn’t like how in Switzerland everyone was separated by status, and she always dreamed of Vancouver, in Canada which many Czechs look on in fondness, since they love freedom and nature, so we went to Canada, but my dad instead found a job in Ottawa at Bell Northern Research, working on fibre optics. We stayed in Ottawa 12 years, and Canada for a long time has led the world in fibre optics.

My parents eventually separated, my mom finally getting a chance to move to her beloved Vancouver, and my dad eventually moved to Colorado where he started a company hooking up fibre optic cables to the computer and which he eventually sold to IBM. He later got a job dishing out millions of dollars as part of US Aid to the Czech Republic following the fall of communism, and was the president of various investment companies during the country’s transformation to capitalism.

About a year after he moved back is when I came to Prague. He is Karel Kosman III and I am IV, but we would both just use our simplified versions on our business cards. Not having such a rich background in education and experience as he, I tried my luck with several ideas in venture entrepreneurialism, such as starting a waterbed emporium or a modelling agency (Czech girls are very beautiful). I made a studio in my apartment and would often hand out pink business cards to attractive females inviting them to a photo shoot back in my flat. My dad would plead with me to put Karel Kosman Jr., or SOMETHING distinguishing on my business cards, but this felt too derogatory and I respectfully declined. He told me that he often got approached by people with puzzled looks asking him about his various other activities, considering how small a town Prague really is.

So I’m Karel Kosman IV. Karel is the Czech spelling of Karl and is drawn from the word “Kral”, which means king, as in King Charles IV, who was emperor of Europe with his seat in Prague at its height in history when it was one of the largest and most developed of European cities. During some depression, he applied demand side Keynesian economics by building a bridge across the river to what is called the Small Side (Mala Strana). This helped trade, and the local farmers, since he used eggs for cement. It is the historic Charles bridge, and being Charles IV myself, I occasionally like to holler, “Hey, get off my bridge!” The Kosman family tree.

Kosman – the Czech word for Marmoset

The Kosman monkey or Marmoset (some friends like to call me Kosmankey) is the smallest monkey in the world, growing to a robust 20 cm in height (about 8 inches) and 125 g in weight.

Their small size might be attributed to the fact that they like to “hang out” in the upper canopy of trees, in the jungles of South America, where they feed on insects, fruit and leaves. In not only their size they are peculiar to other primates by the fact that they have claws instead of nails (so they can bore holes into the trunks of trees to feed on tree gum, another part of their diet) and due to their social structure, which is more akin to some birds than other monkey. Most of their species often produce twins, and sometimes triplets, and the offspring, the female more than the male, tend to stay with their parents well past adulthood to help out with rearing other children. They do not produce their own offspring until they leave their parents. The Kosman monkey is generally very attentive when rearing their young and they like to hang around in groups of around a dozen. They are also well known for their liveliness and theatrics, constantly “monkeying around”, making goofy faces, and something which seems to have been passed in sincere measure to our own generation.

Other Kosman Monkey pics


Back to My Life – The Gypsy Traveler

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We are a family operation managing private custom boat tours in the beautiful Palawan area, and are happy to help travelers with their plans through the Philippines, having traveled a lot of it ourselves and planning to visit it all. These pages in this section cover my various solo travels before meeting my wife.

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