Chapter 1 - The Origins of the Family Names

This chapter is devoted to understanding the meaning of our surnames, or family names. Often, this give us clues to what our family did many generations ago. The etymology (the origin and development of the surname) of each name is usually very interesting. Some date back to biblical times, while others date from the Middle Ages. Surnames derive from many different origins. Usually, a name is derived from the father (a patronymic), a location (a toponym), the type of work a person did (an occupational name), a religious name, a nickname, or a prominent feature or characteristic of a person.

In order to help understand this section better, some definitions are included here.

Surname: 1. The family name, or last name, as distinguished from a given name. (The prefix sur- is a prefix meaning over, upon, above, beyond. Thus a surname is a name given above and beyond a first name.) (Ref. 6, pg. 1433 and pg. 1431)

Patronymic: 1. Derived from the name of a father or ancestor. 2. A name showing descent from a father or ancestor shown by the addition of a prefix or suffix. 3. A family name or surname. (Ref. 6, p. 1042)

Italian patronymics are shown by the prefix De or d'. This is a contraction for the word "de", which means "Of." This is used to designate "son of," as in DeLorenzo (Son of Lorenzo).

Matronymic: 1. Of or derived from the name of the mother or a female ancestor. 2. a matronymic name. (Ref. 6, p. 875).

Toponym: 1. A name that indicates origin, natural, locale, etc. (Ref. 6, p. 1500)

Hypocoristic: 1. a pet name, a diminutive name, or a term of endearment. (Ref. 6, p. 691)

Metonym: 1. a word or phrase used ... as a substitute for another. (Ref. 6, p. 895)

Some terms dealing with the names given to the ancient Romans:

Gens-name: This is a name given to a family in ancient Roman. The definition of a gens is:

Gens: 1. in ancient Rome, a clan united by descent through the male line from a common ancestor and having both name and religious observances in common. (Ref. 6, p. 583)

Praenomen: 1. The first or personal name of an ancient Roman, preceding the nomen and cognomen (Example: Marcus Tullius Cicero). (The name is derived from the Latin prae-, meaning before or in front of, and Nomen, meaning name.) (Ref. 6, pg. 1118)

Nomen: 1. The second of the three names of an ancient Roman, following the praenomen and preceding the cognomen (Example: Marcus Tullius Cicero). (Ref. 6, pg. 965)

Cognomen: 1. The third or family name of an ancient Roman (example: Marcus Tillius Cicero).

2. Any family name; surname; last name. 3. any name; especially a nickname. (Ref. 6, pg. 276)



1. Albanese (Italian): One who came from Albania (meaning Hill, White) (Ref. 1, page 4).

2. Albanese also had a military origin, meaning light cavalryman. These soldiers used to be Albanians, hence the name (Ref. 2, page 161).


3. Albanésè. Varianti: Albanési. // Diffuso, e molto comune, nel Sud, raro nell'Italia centro-sett., è derivato do un secondo nome o soprannome formato dall'etnico Albanése "abitante, oriundo dell'Albania", o anche, nel Sud, "appartenente alle colonie albanesi" (esistenti in Abruzzo, Puglie, Campania, Calabria e Sicilia). (Ref. 3, page 48).


3. Albanese. Variations: Albanesi. Widespread, and very common, in the south, rarer in central-north Italy, and derived from a second name or nickname formed from the ethnic Albanese "inhabitant, native of Albania," or also, in the south, "member of the colony albanesi." (Name exists in the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Puglia, Campania, Calabria and Sicily.)


1. Amato (Italian): Descendant of Amato (beloved). (Ref. 1, page 7)


2. Amato. Variante: Amati, Amat, Amata; D'Amato. Alterati e derivati: Amatucci, Amatulli. // Cognome diffuso prev. nel Sud, con massima frequenza nel Napoletano e in Sicilia, ma rappresentato in alcune forme anche nell'Italia centrale e del Nord. È la congnominizzazione del nome Amato che in parte continua il personale latino Amatus "amato" e, in età e ambienti cristiani, "amato, protetto da Dio", in parte ha alla base, come soprannome, amato (come documentano le forme medioevali l'Amato e l'Amata), in parte può anche essere l'abbreviazione di Benamato. (Ref. 3, page 54)


2. Amato. Surname widespread predominately in the South, with maximum frequency in the Naples region and in Sicily, but also represented in some forms in central and northern Italy. It is a derived cognomen (surname) of the name Amato, which comes from the personal Latin name Amatus "amato" and in the Christian age "amato, protected by God". It is partly based on the nickname, amato (which is documented in the Middle Ages in the form l'Amato and l'Amata). It may also be partly derived as an abbreviation of the name Benamato.



Ardito (Idedo)


1. Arditi. Varianti: Ardito, Ardìt. // Distribuito in tutta l'Italia, ma comune solo nelle Venezie (dove è specifico Ardìt) e nel Sud, ha alla base il nome già medioevale Ardito, formato dall'agg. ardito "molto coraggioso, audace". (Ref. 3, page 60).

1. Arditi. Distributed throughout Italy, but common only in the Venice area (where it is spelled specifically Ardìt) and in the south, and the name has its basis in the former medieval name Ardito, formed from the adjective ardito, meaning "very corageous and brave."



1. Barba1. Varianti: Barbi, Barbis; Della Barba. Alterati e Derivati: Barbèlla, Barbétta e Barbétti, ____ Composti: ______ // Diffuso, con varia distribuzione e frequenza secondo i vari tipi, in tutta l'Italia, ma prev. in quella sett., è la congominizzazione di soprannomi già comuni nell'alto Medio Evo che denominavano la persona per le caratteristiche di avere la barba o un particolare tipo di barba (formati cioè da barba, barbétta, barbàccia, ecc., o da barbato, barbuto, barbóne, "che ha la barba", o da barbìs, barbisìn che in alcuni dialetti sett. indica le basette e i baffi, o da barbòzza, che indica anche il mento). In alcuni casi non è possibile distiguere alcuni cognomi qui elencati da quelli formalmente identici e analoghi riuniti sotto Barba2. Inoltre Barbone e Barboni possono appartenere al tipo autonomo Barbóne. (Ref. 3, page 69)


1. Barba. Widespread, with various distribution and frequency according to several types throughout Italy, but predominant in northern Italy. It iz a derived cognomen (surname) of the nickname common in the later Middle Ages for people who had the characteristic of a beard or a particular type of beard (such as a goatee, little beard, etc. or derived from barbato, barbuto, barbóne, "he who is bearded", or from barbìs, barbisìn, words that in some northern dialects means "whiskers" or "moustache", or from barbòzza, which means "chin"). In some cases it is not possible to distinguish between the surnames listed here from the identical and analogous names grouped under the second definition, Barba2. Furthermore, Barbone and Barboni may possibly belong to the separate name Barbóne.


2. Barba2. Varianti: De Barba, Del Barba; Barbano, Barbana, Barbani e Barbàn. Alterati e Derivati: Barbanèlli, Barbanòtti; Barbanti e Barbantini, Barbanènte. Composti: _________________ // Diffuso nell'Italia sett. e mer. peninsulare, ha alla base il soprannome Barba o Barbano (nel Nord Barbàn), formato dal sost. barba (e ant. barbano), sinonimo di "zio" nelle parlate regionali sett. e mer., spec. in Puglia e nel Salento. Questo termine (che può essere di origine germanica ma può anche derivare da barba "uomo con la barba, anziano e autorevole") si è diffuso dal Nord al Sud in età longobardica con la tipica declinazione germ. latinizzata in -a, -anis (barba, caso retto, e barbana, caso obliquo), ed è documentato sin dal IX secolo come nome comune (barba, barbas, barbane), e dopo il Mille come soprannome e poi cognome (Barba, Barbaneus, Barbane), nel Veneto, in Toscana, e nel Lazio, in Campania, in Lucania e nelle Puglie. Il tipo Barbanti può anche avere alla base, nel Nord, barbante, "pastore protestante valdese" o [frate] barbante "frate cercatore, che fa la questua". (Ref. 3, pages 69-70)


2. Barba. Widespread throughout Italy in the northern and southern penisula, and comes from the nickname barba "beard" or Barbano (in the north Barbàn) formed from the noun barba (and antonym? Barbano), a synonym of "uncle" used in southern and northern regional dialects, especially in Puglia and in the Salento. The term (which may be of Germanic origin but also may be derived from barba, "man with the beard, old, senior, and authoritative") was diffused from the north to the south in the Longobardica age (the Lombard age was in the early Middle Ages, in the 6th and 7th centuries, when the Lombards, a Germanic tribe ruled Italy) with a typical declension with Latin base ending with a suffix of -a or -anis (barba, a straight case, and barbana, an oblique case), and is documented as far back as the 9th century with the common names (barba, barbas, barbane), and after the year 1000 as a nickname and then a surname (Barba, Barbaneus, Barbane), in Veneto, Tuscany, Latium, Campania, Lucania and in the Apulia. The type Barbanti may also be based in the north on barbante, "a Protestant Waldanese pastor" or friar barbante "the searching friar, who does the church collection." (The Waldenses were a sect of dissenters from the Roman Catholic Church which arose about 1170 in Southern France. They were excommunicated in 1184, and they survive in the Alps of France and in Italy. They are named after Peter Waldo, a 12th century French merchant and founder of the sect. Ref. 6, p. 1597).


3. Barba (Spanish): One with hair on his chin, a beard; one who came from Barba (beard), in Spain. (Ref. 1, page 21)


1. No definitive information has been found yet on this name.



1. Visconte (Italian): from Italian visconte, a title of rank (med. Latin vicecomes deputy of a Count). Unusually (since most noble families took their surnames from their estates), the surname was sometimes of literal application, but it is also no doubt in part a nickname for someone who gave himself airs and graces, and in part an occupational name for someone employed by a viscount. Variations: Visconti; Bisconti (S. Italy), Viceconte, Viceconti (learned alterations).

The Viscontis were rulers of Milan for almost 200 years, from 1277 to 1447, and took their name from their hereditary office. They traced their descent from Desiderius, whose daughter married Charlemagne. They were related to the royal houses of Valois, Tudor, and Habsburg as a result of marriages arranged by Duke Gian Visconti (1351-1402). His son was the last of the direct line, and in 1447 the Duchy passed to the Sforza family. (Ref. 4, page 557).


2. Viscónti. Varianti: Viscónte, Biscónti, Vicecónti e Vicecónte. // Diffuso in tutta l'Italia nella forma base Visconti, nel Sud in tutte le altre, è la cognominizzazione del titolo di ufficio e di grado feudale viscónte (dal latino medioevale vicecomes vicecomitis, formato da vice- "in luogo, in sostituzione di..." e comes comitis "conte", v. Cónti: la variante notarile Viceconte riflette appunto la forma del latino medioevale), che, a partire dall'età carolingia, indicò l'alto dignitario eletto dal conte, e successivamente dal vescovo-conte, come proprio sostituto e rappresentante, investito di vari poteri e benefici, e che divenne più tardi, con l'ereditarietà dell'ufficio, titolo nobiliare. Come per Cónti, Duca, Marchési, Prìcipe, ecc., il cognome Visconti solo rarissimamente riflette tuttavia questo ufficio o titolo: per lo più ha alla base un soprannome o un appellativo dato a chi viveva o lavorava presso un visconte. (Ref. 3, page 263).


2. Visconti. Widespread throughout Italy in the base form Visconti, in the south in all other variations. The name is the official title of the feudal rank visconte (which comes from the medevial Latin vicecomes, vicecomitis, derived from vice-, "one who acts in the place of, or is the substitute of" and from comitis "count". Compare with the name Cònti. The notarial variation Viceconte reflects the mark of the Latin medevial form), which started in the Age of Charlemange (Charlemange, king of the Franks, defeated the Lombards in 774 and became ruler of Italy and protector of the Papal states). The name indicates a high elected dignitary of the count, and successively from bishop-count, who substituted and represented the count, and later it became a noble title of the office and became hereditary. Like the names Cónti (Count), Duca (Duke), Marchési (Marquis), Prìcipe (Prince), etc., the name Visconti only rarely reflects this one office or title, for it more often has a basis in a nickname or was given as a name to someone who lived or worked near a Visconte.



1. Brindise, Brindisi (Italian): One who came from Brindisi (meaning, "a toast, a drink in honor of someone"), in Italy. (Ref. 1, page 60)



1. Bosco (Italian): Dweller in, or near, a woods. (Ref. 1, page 52)


2. Bòsco. Varianti: Bòschi e Bòsca, Busco e Busca; Del Bòsco; Boscovich [pron. bòskovic]. Alterati e Derivati: Boschèllo, Boschètto e Boschètti, Boschini e Boschìn, Bòscolo; Boscaro e Boscari, Boscarèllo, Boscarino, Boscarini e Boscarìn, Buscarino e Buscarini, Buscaino e Boscaìn, Buscaìno, Boscoriòlo e Boscoriòl, Boscaròli e Boscaròl, Boscarato, Boschèro e Boschièro, Boschièri, Boschièr, Boscherini; Boscàglia e Buscàglia, Buscagliòne, Boscassi, Boscato. // Diffuso variamente in tutta l'Italia secondo le varie forme: Bosco e Boschi sono più frequenti in Liguria, in Emilia, in Toscana e nel Napoletano; Bòscolo, che ha l'epicentro a Chioggia, le forme tronche, Boscorato e il patronimico di tipo slavo Boscovich sono propri del Veneto e del Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Alla base sono toponimi del tipo Bòsco (Bòschi, Boschétto, Boscàglia, ecc.) largamente distrubuiti nell'Italia sett. e centrale, con i relativi etnici, oppure nomi e soprannomi professionali del Medio Evo connessi con il lavorare, e con il vivere, nei boschi (e con le caratteristiche che ne derivano: "persona scontrosa, rozza"), come boscarino (e in forme dialetti boscaìn, buscaién) o boschèro, "boscaiolo". (Ref. 3, page 85).


1. Bosco. Widespread variations throughout Italy, according to the various forms. Bosco and Boschi is more frequent in Liguria, Emilia, Toscany, and in the Naples region. Boscola, which is centered in Chioggia, the truncated forms, Boscorato, and the Slavic patronymic Boscovich is found in Veneto and in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia. The basis of the name is a toponym of the type Bòsco (Bòschi, Boschétto, Boscàglia, etc.) is broadly distributed in northern and central Italy, and has relatively ethnic origins, or else it is the name and professional nickname of the Middle Ages, related to the work, and with life in the woods (and the derivations of the characteristic "a cross or irritable person, a rough person") as in boscarino (and in the dialect form boscaìn, buscaién) or boschèro, "a woodcutter."




1. No information has been found yet on this name.



1. Caggiani - means seagull in the Vastese area. (Ref. 2, page 121)

2. Caggiano - It is indeed not surprising that one of the first Western European countries, after the fall of the Roman Empire, to institute hereditary surnames was Italy. There is documentary evidence to show that hereditary names were employed among the patricians of the the Republic of Venice in the tenth and eleventh centuries. As among the Romans, where a gens-name, derived from the founder of the family-tree, was added to the praenomen, or first name, so to among the Venetians the "cognomen", a "family name" was derived from a name applied to an early ancestor. This name was itself derived from a number of very diverse sources.

In this instance, the surname Caggiano is of toponymic origin. Toponymic names are those surnames which derive their origin from a particular place name near which the original bearer resided or held land. In this instance, the surname Caggiano is derived from the place name Caggiano and therefore signifies "descendant of or son of one who hails from Caggiano". Caggiano is the name of a place located in the province of Salento. As a surname, Caggiano is also found in Forenza, Irsina, San Rufo and is widely found in Calabria, Naples and of course in the province of Salento itself.

It is also possible that in some instances this name, along with its variants Caggiani and Caggio, may be of nickname origin, being derived from a dialect word for a seagull. In this instance, the name derives from "caggiano" which in Vastese, Abruzzi, means "a seagull". (Ref. 10)

Coat of arms information:

BLAZON OF ARMS: Argent; a cross gules (red), surmounted by a mullet (star) of the same (this means a silver shield, or "escutcheon", with a red cross, with a star of the same color).

Translation: The mullet (star) denotes Military Honour.

CREST: The star of the arms.


(Ref. 10)



1. Cavallo, Cavallero (Italian): One who had charge of the horses; dweller at the sign of the horse; one who came from Cavalla (meaning "horse"), in Italy. (Ref. 1, page 78)

2. Cavello, Caviello, derived from Iacava. (Ref. 2, page _____)


3. Cavallo (Italian): metonymic occupational name for a man in charge of horses, perhaps also a nickname for someone supposedly resembling a horse, from Italian cavallo horse (Late Latin caballus). (Ref. 4, page 99)


4. Cavalli. Varianti: Cavallo. Alternati e Derivati: Cavallétti e Cavallétto, Cavallini, Cavallino, Cavallina e Cavallìn, Cavallucci e Cavallùccio, Cavalluzzi, Cavallòtti e Cavallòtto, Cavallóne, Cavallacci e Cavallazzi; Cavallari, Cavallaro e Cavallàr, Cavallèri e Cavallèro, Cavalèri e Cavalèro, Cavalièri, Cavalière, Cavalièro e Cavalièr. // Largamente diffuso in tutta l'Italia, ha alla base nomi personali già comuni nell'alto Medio Evo che continuano soprannomi, nomi di mestiere, titoli e gradi, formati o derivati da cavallo, cavallaro "guardiano, mercante, conduttore di cavalli; messaggero, corriere a cavallo", cavalière "chi va a cavallo, soldato, ufficiale a cavallo; appartenente alla cavalleria, come istituzione feudale". In alcuni casi qualche cognome può derivare anche da toponimi dello stesso etimo (per esempio, Cavallaro SO, Cavallari AQ, Cavallèri TO, Cavallino VE, FO, LE, Cavallina FI, Cavallini SV, Cavallòtti SV, Cavallóni AQ). (Ref. 3, page 99)


1. Cavalli. Widely diffused throughout Italy, it is based on the formerly common personal name in the late Middle Ages that comes from a nickname, occupational name, title and rank, formed or derived from cavallo, meaning "horse", or cavallaro, "guardian, merchant, or rider of horses; messenger, courier by horse", cavalier, ("knight") "who goes by horse, a soldier, or official of a horse; belonging to the calvary, in the feudal system." In some cases, a few surnames may also be derived as a toponym of the same etimology (for example, Cavallaro SO, Cavallari AQ, Cavallèri TO, Cavallino VE, FO, LE, Cavallina FI, Cavallini SV, Cavallòtti SV, Cavallóni AQ, all towns in Italy derived from the name Horse).





1. No information has been found yet on this name.



1. No information has been found yet on this name.




1. Ciàrdi. Varianti: Ciàrdo. Alterati e Derivati: Ciardèlli, Ciardèllo, e Ciardièllo, Ciardèlla, Ciardétti, Ciardini, Ciardulli, e Ciardullo. // Diffuso nel Sud peninsulare e, per Ciardi, Ciardetti e Ciardini, in Toscana, ha alla base il nome medioevale Ciàrdo (documentato a Firenze nel 1260: Ciardus), ipocoristico aferetico di Ricciàrdo (v. Riccardi), o anche, in qualche caso, dei nomi medioevali Acciàrdo, Bocciàrdo, Guicciàrdo. (Ref. 3, page 103)


1. Ciardi. Widespread in the south penisula and for Ciardi, Ciardetti and Ciardini, in Toscany, the name comes from the medievial name Ciàrdo (documented in Florence in the year 1260: Ciardus). The name is also a hypocoristic or pet name of the name Ricciàrdo, or also, in some cases, from the medievial names Acciàrdo, Bocciàrdo, Guicciàrdo.




1. Giovannini (Italian): Son of John (gracious gift of Jehovah). (Ref. 1, page 183).


2. Gióvine. Varianti: Gióvini, Gióvino, Gióvene; Ióvine o Jóvine, Ióvino o Jóvino, Ióvene o Jóvene, Ióvane o Jóvane, Ióvano o Jóvano. Alterati e Derivati: Giovinétti, Giovinazzo e Giovinazzi; Iovinèlli o Iovinèlla. // Proprio del Sud, e frequente spec. nel Napoletano nel tipo mer. in Io-, è la cognominizzazione del nome ant. Gióvine o Ióvine, da un soprannome o appellativo formato da gióvane (nelle varianti mer. ióvine, ióvene, ecc.): è quindi l'opposto di Vècchi. (Ref. 3, page 139)


2. Giovine. Found only in the south, and frequent especially in the Naples region, spelled with the prefix Io-. The name is a surname derived from the first name Gióvine or Ióvine. It is also derived from a nickname or a given name formed from gióvane, meaning "a young man, boy, or youth." (with southern variations ióvine, ióvene, etc.) It is hence the opposite of Vècchi, meaning "old man, elder."


de Lauria


1. Laurìa. Derivati: Lauriàno. // Diffuso in Basilicata, in Calabria e in Sicilia, è formato dal toponimo Laurìa (PZ) e dal suo etnico. (Ref. 3, page 150)


1. Lauria. Widespread in Basilicata, in Calabria and in Sicily, and formed from the toponym Laura (PZ) and from its ethnic origins.




1. Lorènzi. Variante: Laurènzi e Laurènti, Larèntis; De Lorènzo e Di Lorènzo, De Lorènzis, De Laurènzis e De Laurèntis. Alterati e Derivati: Lorenzétti e Lorenzétto, Lorenzini e Lorenzìn, Lorenzóni e Lorenzón; Lorenzato, Lorenzutti e Lorenzùt. Abbreviati: Rènzi e De Rènzi o De Rènzis, Rènsi, Rènzo e Rènza; Renzétti, Renzini, Renzóni, Renzulli e Renzullo. // Diffuso in tutta l'Italia nel tipo base Lorenzi, con più alta frequenza nelle Venezie (dove sono specifici gli alterati e derivati in -ìn, -ón, -ato, -utti, o -ùt), in Emilia e in Toscana, è comune prev. nel Lazio per Laurenzi e Laurenti, nel Trentino per Larentis; Renzi è panitaliano, la variante Rensi sett., Renzulli napoletano; i patronimici con De o Di sono propri del Sud. È la cognominizzazione del nome Lorènzo (con le forme latineggianti Laurènzio e Laurèntio o Laurènto, e l'ipocoristico aferetico Rènzo), che continua, sostenuto dal culto di San Lorenzo, martire a Roma nel 258, il cognomen etnico latino Laurentius, derivato da Laurentum, città del Lazio antico situata a Ovest di Roma, che forse si identifica con Lavinio. (Ref. 3, page 154).


1. Lorenzi. Widespread throughout Italy in the basic form of Lorenzi, with higher frequency in Venice (where it is specifically altered and derived with the suffixes -ìn, -ón, -ato, -utti, or -ùt), in Emilia and in Tuscany. The name is common predominately in the Latium (an ancient region in central Italy, including Rome and the region southeast of Rome) as Larenzi and Laurenti, in the Trent region as Larentis. The name Renzi is found throughout Italy, the variation Rensi is found in northern Italy, Renzulli in the Naples region; the patronymic with De or Di is found in the south. It is a derived congnomen (surname) of the name Lorenzo (with the Latin form Laurènzio and Laurèntio or Laurènto, and the hypocoristic or pet name Rènzo) which continues, and is sustained from the worship of San Lorenzo, a martyr in Rome in the year 258. The cognomen comes from the ethnic Latin name Laurentius, from Laurentum, a city in Latium situated to the west of Rome. It perhaps is also identified with Lavinio.


de Vingo

1. means son of Vingo.

2. Virgo (English): of uncertain origin. The surname coincides in form with the Latin virgo, gen. virginis, maiden, from which is derived (via Old French) modern English virgin. It is possible that the surname was originally a nickname for someone who had played the part of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a mystery play. This, and the vernacular variations listed below, may also have been nicknames for shy young men, or possibly ironically for notorious lechers. Variations: Virgoe, Vergo, Virgin, Vergin(e).

3. Vèrga. Varianti: Virga. Alterati e Derivati: Vergòtti, Vergóna, Vergóne e Vergóni; Vergano e Vergari. // Diffuso nella forma base in tutta l'Italia, proprio della Sicilia nella variante Virga, sporadico e raro negli alterati e nei derivati, ha alla base soprannomi e nomi di mestiere formati o derivati da vèrga (in siciliano virga) "ramo sottile, virgulto; bastone da pastori" e, in alcune regioni come la Liguria, "coreggiato per battere il grano", e vergaro "pastore, capo dei pastori di un gregge". (Ref. 3, page 260).


3. Virga. Widespread in the base form throughout Italy, found in Sicily, in the variation Virga, and alterations and derivatives are sporadic and rare. The name has a basis in the nickname and occupational name formed or derived from vèrga (in Sicilian, virga) "a thin branch, shoot, or shrub; a baton for a shepherd" and, in some regions like Liguria, "flail beat the grain", and vergaro "pastor, head shephard of the flock".



1. Donofrio, D'Onofrio (Italian): Son of Onofrio, Supporter of Peace (Ref. 1, p. 124).


2. Onòfri. Varianti: Onòfrio, Onùfrio, D'Onòfrio. Abbreviati: Nòfri e Nòferi, Noferini. // Diffuso prev. nelle forme «piene» in Emilia per Onofri e nel Sud per Onofrio, Onufrio, e D'Onofrio, in Toscana per gli abbreviati, è la cognominizzazione del nome Onòfrio, che continua il latino cristiano Onnuphrius, adattamento dell'epiteto egizio Onnophris (propr. "sempre felice") del dio egizio Osiride. Il nome si è diffuso in Italia con le crociate, con il culto di S. Onofrio, anacoreta e martire della Tebaide del V secolo. (Ref. 3, page 181)


2. Onofri. Variations: Onofrio, Onufrio, D'Onofrio. Abbreviations: Nofri or Noferi, Noferini. Widespread predominantly in the form Onofri in Italian region of Emilia, and Onofrio, Onufrio, or D'Onofrio in the south. In the Tuscany region its abbreviated form is used. The name is a derived cognomen (surname) of the name Onofrio, comes from the Christian Latin Onnuphrius, an adaptation of the Egyptian epithet Onnophris (meaning "always happy") from the Egyptian god Osiride. The name was spread through Italy during the Crusades, with the worship of Saint Onofrio, hermit and martyr of Theba_d (Thebes, an ancient city in the central south part of Egypt, on the Nile) of the fifth century.



3. D'Onofrio. The Italian surname D'Onofrio is of patronymic origin, as it belongs to that group of names based on the first name of a father. In this case, the root of the name is the personal name Onofrio; the surname thus indicates that early bearers of this name were "sons of Onofrio".

It was not until the early Middle Ages that surnames were first used to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same personal name. With the growth of documentation in the later Middle Ages, such names became essential, and a person whose distinguishing name described his trade, his place of residence, his father's name, or some personal characteristic, passed that name on to his children, and the surname became hereditary.

The name Onofrio is itself of ultimate Latin derivation, based on the name Onnuphrius. This name literally means "always happy". The name was popularized by the saint of the name; St. Onofrio was a fifth century hermit and martyr of Thebaid. In early Christian times, parents were encouraged to bestow the names of saints and holy men on their children in the hope of invoking divin blessing on the children.

Today the name is known in the forms Onofrio, Onufrio, Nofri, and Noferini. The form D'Onofrio is particularly associated with the south of Italy and Sicily. (Ref. 10)

Coat of arms information:

BLAZON OF ARMS: Tierced in fess (this means the shield, or "escutcheon", on the coat of arms has three ("tierced") horizontal bands ("fess"). Each of these bands has a color and a symbol associated with it, and is described below using terms of heraldry);

First or (gold), a rose proper (a rose represented in its natural color), leaved and stalked of the same;

Second azure (blue), a mullet of five of the first (a star of the first color "or," gold);

Third gules (red), a fleur-de-lis argent (a "flower of the lilly" in the color silver).

Translation: The rose is the symbol of Beauty and Grace; the mullet (star) signifies Honour and Achievement.

CREST: A rose proper.

ORIGIN: Italy.

(Ref. 10)


4. D'Onofrio is a patronymic name which means "Son of Onofrio". Onofrio is an archaic first name that was

used in Italy years ago but seldom used today. The name is of religious origins. The name is derived from Onuphrius, a saint. This is a short biography of Saint Onuphrius, from the Dictionary of Saints:

Onuphrius (died circa 400). While on a visit to the hermits of Thebaid in Egypt to find out if the eremitical (religious, hermitlike, relusive) life was for him, Abbot Paphnutius met Onuphrius, who told him he had been a monk in a monastery but had left to follow the eremitical life, which he had done for seventy years. During the night the abbot stayed with the hermit; the next morning, after food had miraculously appeared the previous evening, Onuphrius told Paphnutius that the Lord had told him he, Onuphrius, was to die and that Paphnutius had been sent by the Lord to bury him. Onuphrius did die, Paphnutius buried him in a hole in the mountainside, and the site immediately disappeared, as if to tell the abbot that he was not to remain there. The story was put into writing by one of his monks and was already popular in the sixth century. The day of observance of Saint Onuphrius is June 12. (Ref. 7, p. 437)

Additionally, here is the information on Saint Paphnutius:

Paphnutius (died circa 350). Sometimes called "the Great," he was an Egyptian who served as a monk under St. Antony in the desert for several years and was then named bishop of Upper Thebaid. He was tortured and lost his right eye during Emperor Maximinus' persecution of Christians and was condemned to labor in the mines, as were so many other Christians at the time. On his release, he was an uncompromising opponent of Arianism, successfully convinced the Council of Nicaea in 325 to allow married men to be ordained and to be consecrated bishops, though opposing marriage after ordination, and at the Council of Tyre in 335 brought Bishop Maximus of Jerusalem back to orthodoxy from Arianism. (Ref. 7, p. 445) The day of observance of Saint Paphnutius is September 11.

Occaisionally you can see references to Saint Onuphrius. For example, there is a state park in California called San Onofre State Park (north of Oceanside, California) which is named after the saint.



du Maria


1. Marìa. Varianti: De Marìa e Demarìa, Di Marìa. // Diffuso nel Sud, ma frequente solo nel matronimico con De o Di, è formato dal nome Marìa, che risale, attraverso l'addattamento latino cristiano Maria e quello greco Mariám e María, all'aramaico Mary_m (il nome, nei « Vangeli », di Maria madre di Gesù, di Maria Maddalena e di Maria di Cleofa), corrispondente all'ebraico Miry_m (che nell'«Antico Testamento» è il nome della sorella di Mosè). Il nome ebraico è prob. di origine egizia, un derivato cioè, con il suffisso del diminutivo femminile ebraico -_m, dal verbo egizio mrj "amare". (Ref. 3, page 162)


1. Maria. Widespread in the south, but frequent only in the matronymic with De or Di, and formed from the adaptation of the name Marìa, which arose from the Christian Latin Maria, the Greek Mariam and Maria, and the Aramaic Maryam (the name in the Gospel, of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, of Maria Maddalena, and of Maria of Cleofa), corresponding to the Hebrew Miryam (which in the Old Testament is the name of the sister of Moses). The name is Hebrew and is probably of Egyptian origin, a derivative of the Egyptian verb mrj, which means "to love", with the suffix of the Hebrew feminine diminuative -am. (Aramaic is a language spoken by the people who lived in ancient Syria (Aram) and Mesopotamia in Biblical times, and was the language used by Jesus and his disciples in Palestine. (Ref. 6, p. 70))


Grande (Grant)

1. Tallness is evidenced by Longo, Del Lungo, Lunghetti, Grande, Macri, and Altadonna. (ref. 2, page 210)

2. Grant (English and (now especially) Scottish): 1. Norman nickname from ANF graund, graunt tall, large (Old French grand, grant, from Latin grandis), given either to a person of remarkable size, or else in a relative way to distinguish two bearers of the same given name, often representatives of different generations within the same family. 2. from a medieval given name, probably a survival into Middle English of the Old English byname Granta (see Grantham). Variations (of 1.): Grand (E Anglia); Le Grand. Cogns. (of 1.): French: Grand, Legrand. Italian: Grandi, Grande, Grando, Lo Grande (Sicily). Spanish: Grande. (ref. 4, pages 222, 223)


3. Grandi. Varianti: Grande e Grando, Grandis; De Grandi e De Grandis, Del Grande; Lo Grande. Alterati e Derivati: Grandini e Grandìn, Grandinétti, Grandòtto, Grandóni e Grandóne, Grandése e Grandésso. // Diffuso in tutta l'Italia, con alta frequenza solo per Grandi in Emilia-Romagna: Grando, Grandis, De Grandi(s), Grandìn, Grandotto e Grandesso sono propri delle Venezie, Lo Grande della Sicilia. È la cognominizzazione del soprannome Grande, formato, in relazione alla corporatura e alla statura, da grande (è cioè l'opposto di Pìccoli). (Ref. 3, page 141).


3. Grande. Widespread throughout Italy, with high frequency only in the form Grandi in Emilia-Romagna. Grando, Grandis, De Grandi(s), Grandìn, Grandotto and Grandesso is found in Venice, Lo Grande in Sicily. It is the derived surname of the nickname Grande, formed in relation to the size and build of a large person's stature (and therefore is the opposite of Piccoli, which means "small, little").



1. Horan (Irish): Descendant of the belligerant or warlike one; grandson of little Anradh (warrior or champion); grandson of Odhar (dark gray). (Ref. 1, page 240)


Laudisio (Laudidio?)


1. Laudidìo. Varianti: Lausdèi. // Diffuso sporadicamente nel Centro e nel Sud peninsulare, ha alla base il nome gratulatorio, di devozione cristiana, Lausdèo (dalla locuzione di ringraziamento latina laus Deo) o, in forma italiana, Laudadìo " [sia] lode a Dio", dato a un figlio molto atteso e desiderato. (Ref. 3, page 150)


1. Laudidio. Widespread sporadically in the central and southern peninsula, and has its base in the gratulatory name, of devoted Christians, Lausdèo (of the Latin expression of thanks, laus Deo "thank God") or in the Italian form, Laudadio "praise to God," who gave a Son very expected and desired.



1. Maglione (Italian): One who made coats of mail, an armorer. (Ref. 1, page 332)

2. Magliari, Magliero: nail maker. (Note: This is possibly a typo and should probably read "mail maker", since it is in a section of names related to arms and armament.) (Ref. 2, page 173)




1. Màngia. Alternati: Mangini, Mangiùllo e Mangiùlli, Mangióne. Composti: Mangiacapra (con capra); Mangiacasale (con casale); Mangiafico (con fico); Mangiagalli (con galli); Mangialardo (con lardo); Magiamèle o Mangiamèli (con mèle o mèli, forme mer. per mièle); Mangiapane (con pane); Mangiatèrra (con tèrra); Mangiatórdi (con tórdi); Mangiavacchi (con vacca, vacche; v. anche Magnavacca); Mangiavillano (con villano "contadino"). // Proprio del Sud, fuorché per Mangini, più frequente in Toscana e soprattutto in Liguria, e per Mangiagalli, specifico della Lombardia e del Veneto. È la cognominizzazione di soprannomi scherzosi, o spregiativi e polemici, formati da màngia (deverbale di mangiàre), che in gran parte rappresenta l'ipocoristico abbreviato dei frequentissimi composti in mangia-. Il verbo mangiare, in questi soprennomi, può essere assunto sia in senso proprio, per sottolineare la voracità di una persona (come in Mangione, da mangióne "forte mangiatore"), o l'abitudine di mangiare particolari cibi (come in Mangialardo), sia, e più spesso, nei vari sign. fig., come "mangiare a ufo, sfruttare" (come in Mangiapane: la Torre del Mangia del Palazzo comunale di Siena prese il nome dal campanaro Giovanni Ducci soprannominato il Mangia, abbreviazione di Mangiaguadagni), "rubare" (come in Mangiavacchi e soprattutto in Mangiagalli, v. Fumagalli), o anche "perseguitare, opprimere" (come in Mangiavillano). Per Mangini, data la diversa area di diffusione e la frequenza, è prob. un incrocio con Mancini. (Ref. 3, page 160).


1. Mangia. Found in the south, except for Mangini, more frequently found in Tuscany, and above all in Liguria, and in the form Mangiagalli, specifically in Lombardia and in Venice. It is a derived surname of the joking, disparaging, or polemic (argumentative) nickname, formed from "màngia" (the word for "eat"), that in large part represents the hypocoristic or pet abbreviation frequently composed with the prefix mangia-. The verb mangiare "to eat," in these nicknames may be assumed in either of two senses: as a nickname which emphasized the voracity of a person's appetite (as in Mangione, from mangióne "hearty eater"), or the habit of eating a particular food (as in Mangialardo "one who eats fatty foods"), and often of various meanings like "eats for free, a sponge." (In the name Mangiapane "one who eats bread." The Tower of the Mangia of Palazzo in Siena takes the name of the bellringer Giovanni Ducci, nicknamed the Mangia, and abbreviation of Mangiaguadagni "one who earns food"(?)). "To rob" (as in Mangiavacchi (vacchi?) and above all in Mangiagalli (galli?), compare with the name Fumagalli), or also "to persecute or oppress" (as in Mangiavillano). The name Mangini, given the widespread diffusion and frequency, is probably a crossing or mixture with the name Mancini.





1. Marine, Marini (Italian): Descendant of Marino or Marin (of the sea). (ref. 1, page 339)


2. Marini. Varianti: Marino e Marìn; De Marini e De Marinis; La Marina. Alterati e Derivati: Marinèlli e Marinèlla, Mariniéllo, Marinétti, Marinucci e Marinuzzi, Marinòlli, Marinòlli, Marinòtti e Marinòtto, Marinóni, Marinacci e Marinàccio, Marinazzo; Marinato. Composti: Malipièro (formato da Marini, dissimilato in Malin-, e Pièro). // Diffuso con alta frequenza nel Nord e in Toscana per Marini e nel Centro-Sud per Marino: Marìn, e gli alterati, i derivati e il composto, sono propri delle Venezie (ma Marinelli è frequente in tutta l'Italia), Mariniello e Marinaccio del Napoletano, La Marina dell'estremo Sud. Nella maggior parte dei casi è la cognominizzizione del nome Marino, che continua il cognomen e poi personale latino, già di età repubblicana, Marinus, di origine etrusca (prob. un derivato di Marius "Mario"), ma connesso per etimologia popolare con marinus (da mare) "del mare, che vive e lavora sul mare, in zone marittime". In alcuni casi, tuttavia, qualche cognome riflette i toponimi Marino o Marini, frequenti spec. nel Centro-Sud. (Ref. 3, page 162).


2. Marini. Widespread with high frequency in the north and in Tuscany in the form Marini and in the central southern region of Italy in the form Marino.

Marìn, and its variations, derivitives, and compounds, is found in Venice (but Marinelli is frequent throughout Italy), Mariniello and Marinaccio is found in Naples, and La Marina in the extreme South. In the majority of cases, it is a derived surname of the name Marino, which comes from the personal Latin, is from the Age of the Republics, Marinus, of Etruscan origin (probably a derivative of Marius "Mario"), but related by popular etimology with Marinus (from "mare") "of the sea, one who lives and works on the sea, in the maritime zone." In some cases, however, some surnames are a toponym, such as Marino or Marini, frequent especially in the central southern region of Italy. (Etruscan is the language of the people of Etruria, an ancient country occupying what is now Tuscany and part of Umbria in western central Italy. (Ref. 6, p. 481))





1. No information has been found on this name yet.



1. Though most of the Mori, Morelli, Moretti, Morittu (Sardinia) etc., can be traced to Mauro and Amore, a few instances may well go back to the term Moro, Moor, meaning a negro or a person with very dark hair and complexion. (Ref. 2, page 218)

2. Morrell (English): from the medieval given name Morel, a diminuative of More (see Moore 3) with the hypocoristic suffix -el. Cogn: Italian: Maur(i)ello, Maurel(li), Morelli, Morello.

The earliest certainly established bearer of the surname Morrell is Sir Geoffrey Morrell (d. 1321) of Roding in Essex. The name was taken to America by the brothers Abraham and Isaac Morrill, who arrived at the Massachussetts Bay Colony in September 1632. (Ref. 4, page 376).


3. Màuro. Varianti: Màuri, Màur, Màura; De Màuro e Di Màuro; Maurich o Mauric [pron. màuric], Maurovic [pron. màurovic]; Lo Mauro. Alterati: Maurèllo o Mauriéllo, Maurèlli, Maurèl, Maurino, Maurini e Maurìn. Composti: Maurantònio (con Antònio); Maurogiovanni (con Giovanni). // Diffuso nel Sud (dove sono specifici Maura, i patronimici con De o Di, Lo Mauro, i composti e, nel Napoletano, Mauriello) e nelle Venezie (specifici, qui Maurièl e Maurìn, e, nella Venezia Giulia, Maur e i patronimici di tipo slavo in -ich o -ic), sporadicamente in altre zone, ha alla base il nome Màuro che continua, con tradizione dotta o semidotta, il cognomen etnico e il personale latino Maurus, da Maurus "abitante, oriundo dell'Africa settentrionale, della Mauritania; appartenente alla popolazione dei Mauri". V. Mòri e Maurizi. (Ref. 3, page 165).


3. Mauro. Widespread in the south (where the name is specifically of the form Maura. It is a patronymic with the prefix De or Di. Lo Mauro, is a compound, and in Naples, it is in the form Mauriello). It is also widespread in Venice (specifically in the form Mauriel and Maurin, and in Venezia Giulia, Maur and in the Slavic patronymic form with the suffixes -ich or -ic), sporadically found in other areas. It has its base in the name Mauro that comes, from scholarly or semischolarly tradition, an ethnic surname and from the personal Latin Maurus, from Maurus, "inhabitant, native of North Africa, from Mauritania; belonging to the population of Mauri." Compare with the names Mori and Maurizi.


Moffeo (Mosseo?)

1. No information has been found on this name yet.



1. Mouche (French): nickname from the housefly, Old French mouche (Latin musca), denoting a small, light person, an insignificant one, or an irritating one. Variations: Mouque, Lamouche, Lamouque. Cogns: Italian: Mosca, Moschi; Musca (Sicily, S. Calabria) Diminuatives: Italian: Moschella, Moschelli, Moschetta, Moschetti, Moschetto, Moschin(i), Moschino, Moschitta, Moscolini, Mussolini. Augmentives: Italian: Moscone, Moscon(i). Cat.: Moscardó. Pejs.: It.: Moscardo, Moscardi. (Ref. 4, page 378).


2. Mósca. Varianti: ___________ Alterati e Derivati: _______________ // Diffuso in tutto l'Italia con diversa distribuzione e frequenza secondo i vari tipi e le varie forme: le forme in Mu- sono proprie della Sicilia e della Calabria mer. (ma Muscas è specifico della Sardegna mer.) come Moschitta, e quelle tronche delle Venezie; Moscariello è specifico della Campania. Alla base sono vari nomi e originari soprannomi comuni nel Medio Evo, formati da mòsca (siciliano musca e sardo muska, plurale muskas) e dai suoi alterati (moschétta, moschina o moschino, moscóne), con una motivazione che può essere in rapporto sia al sign. proprio, sia e soprattutto ai vari sign. estensivi e figurati (come, per mosca, persona piccola e sgraziata, o fastidiosa, ecc.). Per il tipo Moscardo e Moscardino, la base può essere moscardo, o moscardino, nomi regionali di alcune specie di sparvieri e di falchi e, rispettivamente, di piccoli polpi. (Ref. 3, page 173).


2. Mosca. Widespread throughout Italy with diverse distribution and frequency according to the various types and forms. The form with that begins with Mu- is found in Sicily and in southern Calabria (but Muscas is specific to southern Sardinia.). The form Moschitta, and its (tronche?) in Venice, the form Moscariello is specific to Campania. It is based on various names and original nicknames common in the Middle Ages, formed from mòsca, meaning "fly or gadfly" (Sicilian form, musca; Sardanian form, muska; plural form, muskas) and its alternates (moschetta, moschina or moschino, moscone), with a motive that may be related to its meaning, and above all to the various meanings that are extensive and figurative (as in mosca, "a small and awkward or bothersome person", etc.) For the type Moscardo and Moscardino, the base of the name may be moscardo, or moscardino, a regional name of some species of hawk and falcon, and of octopus, respectively.



1. Nazaire (French): from the given name Nazaire, which was relatively common in the Middle Ages in France as a result of the popularity of a 5th-century saint so called, abbot of Lerins. The given name represents a vernacular form of Latin Nazareus or Greek Nazarios, a derivative of Nazareth (Hebrew Natserat, perhaps from a root meaning 'to guard, protect'), applied to early Christians as followers of Jesus of Nazareth and accepted by them as an honourable personal name. Cogns: Italian: Naz(z)ari, Nazzaro. Polish: Nazarski. (Ref. 4, page 384)


2. Nazzari. Varianti: Nazzaro, Nazari. // Diffuso sporadicamente nel Nord nelle forme Nazzari e Nazari, nel Sud e spec. nel Napoletano in quella Nazzaro, è la cognominizzazione del nome Nazzaro o Nazàrio, che continua il personale latino di età cristiana Nazareus, adattamento del greco Nazários, derivato, come etnico, da Nàzaret (in latino Nazareth, in greco Názareth o Nazarét), la piccola città della Galilea in cui visse e ricevé l'annunciazione Maria e in cui trascorse la giovinezza Gesù (chiamato appunto Gesù Nazareno o di Nazaret), attualmente chiamata, in arabo, En-n__ira. (Ref. 3, page 176).


2. Nazzari. Widespread sporadically in the north in the form Nazzari and Nazari, in the south and especially in Naples in the form Nazzaro, and is the derived surname of the name Nazzaro or Nazario, that comes from the personal Latin of the Christian age, Nazareus, an adaptation of the Greek Nazarios, an ethnic derivation of Nazaret (in Latin, Nazareth, in Greek Názareth or Nazarét), the small city in Galilee where Mary lived and received the Annunciation and where Jesus spent his youth (he is called Jesus of Nazareth), and at present is called, in Arabic, En-nasira.





1. Olivièri. Varianti: _______________ Abbreviati: ________________. // Diffuso in tutta l'Italia nella forma base Olivieri (con alta frequenza in Liguria; Olivièr è veneto), nel Sud in quella Oliveri (questa anche in Liguria) e Oliverio, in Toscana nella variante Ulivieri: tra gli abbreviati aferetici, il tipo Livieri predomina in Emilia-Romagna e anche in Lombardia, Vieri e Vierucci sono toscani, ma Viero e Vièr veneti e Vierìn valdostano. È la cognominizzazione del nome Olivièri o Olivièro, che è l'adattamento del francese Olivier (da olivarius, derivato di oliva "olivo"), nome del personaggio del ciclo caralingico che nelle varie «Chansons», e soprattutto nella «Chanson de Roland» del 1100 circa, è il cognato e l'amico fedele, saggio e valoroso, di Orlando (l'olivo è simbolo di saggezza). Il nome si è dunque affermato in Italia nel XII e XIII secolo con la diffusione dell'epica francese, ma poiché Olivarius è documento a Pinerolo già nel 1040 Oliverius o Uliverius sono già attestati in Liguria, nel Veneto e in Toscana, dall'inizio del XII secolo, il nome doveva esistere già prima, indipendentemente dalla fortuna di Olivier dell'epica carolingica. (Ref. 3, pages 180-181).


1. Olivieri. Widespread throughout Italy in the base form Olivieri (with high frequency in Liguria, Olivier is Venitian), in the south in the form Oliveri (this form is also found in Liguria) and Oliverio, in Toscany in the variation Ulivieri. The abbreviated version Livieri is predominent in Emilia-Romagna and also in Lombardia, Vieri and Vierucci is found in Tuscany, but Viero and Vier (Venetian) and Vierin (valdostano?). It is a derived surname of the name Olivieri or Oliviero, which comes from an adaptation of the French Olivier (from olivarius, a derivative of oliva, meaning "olive"), name of the personage of the circle of Charlemange, from various people of the Chansons, and above all Chanson of Roland of the year circa 1100, is the brother-in-law and the faithful, wise, and valiant friend of Orlando (the olive-tree is a symbol of wisdom). The name is proof that Frenchmen were diffused in Italy in the 12th and 13th centuries, but since Olivarius or Uliverius is already documented existing in Liguria, Venice, and Tuscany in the beginning of the 12th century, the name must have already existed independent of the the fortunes of Olivier of the age of Charlemange.



1. Palermo (Italian): One who came from Palermo (the spacious harbor), in Italy. (ref. 1, page 385)

2. Palermi (Italian): habitation name from the Sicilian town of Palermo, an ancient Phoenician foundation of uncertain etymology. Variation (also in part Jewish): Palermo. (Ref. 4, page 403).


3. Palèrmo. Varianti: Palèrmi. // Diffuso nel Sud nella forma Palermo (e frequente spec. in Sicilia e a Palermo stessa), raro e sporadico nel Centro-Nord in quella Palermi, è formato dal toponimo Palèrmo. (Ref. 3, page 186).


3. Palermo. Diffuse in the south in the form Palermo (and frequent especially in Sicily and in Palermo), rare and sporadic in the central north region in the form Palermi, is formed from the toponym Palermo.




1. Petri (Italian): Descendant of Pietro, Italian form of Peter (a rock). (Ref. 1, page 395).


2. Piètri. Varianti: ________________. Alterati e Derivati: _______________________. // Diffuso in tutta l'Italia con diversa ma sempre alta frequenza e con varia distribuzione secondo i diversi tipi e le diversi forme: il tipo Pietro è più raro e sporadico, Petro più frequente nel Centro-Sud, Pedro è proprio del Nord e più frequente nelle Venezie e in Emilia-Romagna, Piero prevale in Toscana e nel Centro, Pero nel Nord e spec. nelle Venezie, Pierro nel Sud peninsulare, Perro nel Sud ma anche nell'Italia del Nord centro-occidentale, Perino nel Piemonte e in Liguria; i patronimici con De o Di sono prev. centro-meridionali, quelli di tipo slavo in -ich o -ic sono propri della Venezia Giulia e del Friuli, le forme tronche prevalgono nelle Venezie, i composti nel Centro-Sud; per le forme degli alterati e dei derivati, nell'impossibilità di definerle arealmente dati il loro altissimo numero e la grande varietà, si rinvia alla generica caratterizzazione areale dei suffisi delineata nell'«Introduzione». Alla base è il nome Piètro, che è la forma etimologicalmente più fedele o conservata, alla quale si affiancano fin dall'alto Medio Avo la forma Pièro (che prevale per il f. Pièra) e, dopo il Mille, le varianti regionali Pètro e Pèdro, Pièrro e Pèrro, Pèro, Pèiro (quest'ultima di tipo o con influsso occitanico). Il nome Pietro si è affermato sin dal primo cristianesimo per il prestigio e il culto di San Pietro, il principe degli apostoli martire a Roma sotto Nerone. L'apsotolo, secondo il «Vangelo» di Matteo, ebbe questo nome da Gesù Cristo (si chiamava infatti Simone, figlio di Giona), che lo riconobbe e lo consacrò fondamento e capo della propria Chiesa con le parole: "tu sei Pietro, e sopra questa pietra edificherò la mia Chiesa". Nel Vangelo di Matteo il nome è K_phâs, dal medio ebraico e aramaico giudaico k_f_, "pietra, roccia", tradotto in greco con Pétros e poi in latino con Petrus, derivati, sul modello dell'aramaico, da pétra e petra "pietra, ioccia". Alcuni dei congomi qui raccolti possono tuttavia riflettere, anche a livello d'incrocio, toponimi del tipo Piètra, Pètra o Pèdra, Pèra (da piètra). (Ref. 3, pages 196-197).




1. Salerno (Italian): One who came from Salerno, a province and city in Italy. (Ref. 1, page 443).


2. Salèrno. Varianti: Salèrni, Saliérno. Derivati: Salernitano. // Diffuso con alta frequenza in tutto il Sud (ma Salierno predomina nel Napoletano), è formato dal toponimo Salèrno e dall'etnico Salernitano. (Ref. 3, page 220).


2. Salerno. Widespread with high frequency throughout the south (but the form Salierno is predominant in Naples), and is formed from the toponym Salèrno and of the ethnic Salernitano.




1. Santangelo (Italian): One who came from Sant'Angelo (saint angel), in Italy. (Ref. 1, page 445).


2. Santàngelo. Diffuso nel Sud, spec. in Sicilia, è formato dal toponimo Sant'Angelo comune in Italia con varie determinazioni, e in particolare nel Sud (CE, SA, BN, AV, CB, PZ, CS, CZ, ME, AG). (Ref. 3, page 223).


2. Santangelo. Widespread in the south, especially in Sicily. The name is formed from the toponym Sant'Angelo, common in Italy with various determinations, and in particular in the south. The place name Sant'Angelo can be foung in the regions of _____________________ CE, SA, BN, AV, CB, PZ, CS, CZ, ME, AG.)




1. Sarno (Italian): One who came from Sarno, in Italy; one with an itch; the scabrous man. (Ref. 1, page 446).


2. Sarno. Varianti: Sarni; De Sarno. // Diffuso in Campania e nelle aree limitrofe, con alto frequenza a Napoli, è formato dal toponimo Sarno (SA). (Ref. 3, page 225).


2. Sarno. Widespread in Campania and in limited areas, with high frequency in Naples, and formed from the toponym Sarno, in the region __________ (SA).





1. No information has been found on this name yet.



1. Spina, Spino (Italian): Descendant of Spino, a pet form of Crispino (curly haired); dweller near a thorn tree; the gloomy, morose, sullen man; dweller at the sign of the porcupine. (Ref. 1, page 483).


2. Spina. Varianti: Spinas, Spino e Spini; La Spina. Alterati: Spinétti, Spinòzzi. // Diffuso con alta frequenta nel Sud nella forma base Spina (con La Spina), che è comune anche in Sardegna insieme al tipo qui specifico di plurale collettivo in -s Spinas, sporadico per Spina, Spino o Spini e alterati nel Centro-Nord, presenta etimi e processi di formazione diversi, spesso con fusi e non più distinguibili. Può avere alla base spina, come soprannome dato in relazione al sign. fig. di "cruccio, dolore morale", o nel senso religioso di "spina Christi", cioè "spina (della corona) di Cristo", con riferimento alla passione di Cristo, incoronato di spine; può anche essere l'ipocoristico abbreviato del nome e cognome medioevale Malaspina, cioè "mala spina, spina dolorosa", come comprova, con la tradizione onomastica familiare, il «Libro degli estimi» di Firenze del 1260-65 "Spina Uguccionis Malaspine". Può infine, spec. nel Centro-Nord, riflettere il toponimo Spina o Spino, qui frequente (BS, CR, VI, PG, e MO, CR, ecc.). V. anche Spinèlli e Spìnola. (Ref. 3, page 240).



2. Spina. Widespread with high frequency in the south in the base form Spina (with La Spina), that is also common in Sardinia together with the plural form ending in -s, Spinas, and sporadically found in the variations Spina, Spino, or Spini in the central north regions. The present entimology and process of formation of the name is diverse, and is often an an fusion of meanings which are not very distiguishable. It may be based from spina, a nickname given in relation to the figurative meaning "chagrin, sorrow, grief, pain", or in the religious sense of "thorn of Christ," that is "thorn (in the crown) of Christ," in relation to the passion of Christ and the coronation of thorns. It may also be a pet abbreviation of the name and surname of the medieval name Malaspina, meaning "bad thorn, a dolorous, painful thorn," proven, with the familiar, traditional onomastica (dictionary of names), the "Book of the Survey" of Florence of 1260-65 "Spina Uguccionis Malaspine." It may also reflect the toponym Spina or Spino, especially in the central north region, frequent in BS, CR, VI, PG, and MO, CR, etc. Compare also Spinelli and Spinola.





1. Terrile. Frequente a Genova e nel Genovesato, è formato dal topomino Terrile (GE). (Ref. 3, page 247).


1. Terrile. Frequent in Genoa and in the Genovesato, and formed from the toponym Terrile (GE).




1. No information has been found on this name yet.



1. Viola (Italian and Spanish): 1. from a medieval female given name, originally an affectionate nickname, from Italian and Spanish viola violet (Latin viola). 2. metonymic occupational name for a player of the musical instrument of this name (from Late Latin vitula; see Fielder). Variations: (Italian) Violi, La Viola (Apulia). Diminuatives: (Italian) Violetta, Violetti, Violino, Violin(i). (Ref. 4, page 557).


2. Viòla. Varianti: Viòli; La Viòla o Laviòla. Alterati e Derivati: Violétta e Violétti, Violino e Violini, Violìn; Violani, Violante, Violata e Violato. // Diffuso nella forma base in tutta l'Italia, con alta frequenza per Viola nel Sud (La Viola o Laviola è prev. pugliese): Violante prevale nel Sud, e è molto frequente; Violata o Violato e Violìn sono propri delle Venezie. È la cognominizzazione del nome f. Viòla (e Violétta), formato dal nome comune del fiore, viòla (come Ròsa, ecc.), simbolo di bellezza, di sensibilità e di pudore: in qualche caso, tuttavia può riflettere anche, come originario nome di mestiere, viòla, violétta, e violino, come strumenti musicale. Violante, più che un derivato diretto di vióla, è l'adattamento del nome f. francese antico Yolant o Yolans, cioè Iolanda, che può risalire al latino viola sia a un personale f. germanico. (Ref. 3, page 263).


2. Viola. Widespread in the base form throughout Italy, with high frequency as Viola in the south (La Viola or Laviola is prevalent in Apulia). Violante is prevalent in the South, and is very frequent. Violata or Violato and Violin are found in Venice. It is a derived surname of the feminine name Viola (and Violetta), formed from the common name of the flower, viola, meaning "violet, flower, bloom, blossom" (like the name Rosa, "Rose" etc.), a symbol of beauty, of sensitivity, and of decency. In some cases, however, it may also reflect an occupational name, viola, violetta, and violino, meaning "viola, violin," as in the musical instrument. Violante may be a direct derivative of viola, which is an adaptation of the ancient French feminine name Yolant or Yolans, and Iolanda, that may date from the Latin viola which is a feminine personal root.









1. New Dictionary of American Family Names. Elsdon C. Smith. Harper & Row, Publishers. New York. 1973. (St. Louis Public Library)

2. Our Italian Surnames. Joseph G. Fucilla. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore. 1987. (St. Louis Public Library)

3. Dizionario dei Cognomi Italiani. Emidio De Felice. Oscar Studio Mondadori. 1978. (St. Louis Public Library)

4. A Dictionary of Surnames. Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges. Oxford University Press. 1988. (St. Louis Public Library)

5. Montadori's Pocket Italian-English/English-Italian Dictionary. Alberto Tedeschi and Carlo Rossi Fantonetti, with Seymour A. Copstein. Pocket Books. New York. 1961. (J. Donofrio personal collection).

6. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition. David B. Guralnik, Editor. Simon and Schuster. New York. 1980. (J. Donofrio personal collection)

7. Dictionary of Saints. John J. Delaney. Doubleday and Co. Garden City, New York. 1980. (St. Louis County Library, Prarie Commons Branch.)

8. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. Donald Atwater. Penguin Books. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England. 1983.

9. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press. Oxford, England. 1978.

10. The Historical Research Center, Inc. c 1993. Purchased from European Heritage Company, Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118. (619) 435-3909.