Naming Traditons - First Names  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in

 While I know this blog is about surnames, I would like to stop a minute and talk about first names and Italian naming patterns. It's a subject I find that rarely gets old and can be useful while researching.

Ok, so we have all heard about the *traditional* Italian naming pattern of the first born male is named after the paternal grandfather, the first born female after the paternal grandmother, the second born male after the maternal grandfather and the second born female after the maternal grandmother. While this is a fairly recent tradition (in my opinion of course) I found that in many families this is not how it worked until the more recent records of the early to mid 1900's.

This was especially true on my paternal side where the opposite naming patterns applied.  The first born male was actually named after the maternal grandfather, the first born female after the maternal grandmother, etc.  I found this pattern began early in the civil records and continued to my father's generation.  Only recently, has the more recognized pattern been followed which I find interesting.  This pattern would break of course if a child passed away and another child born shortly after in which case the name would be *recycled*. Sometimes the middle name, if given would be changed to differentiate between the two children and sometimes the name would remain the same.  And of course, lets not forget that very often the name Maria precedes many female names - Maria Rosa, Maria Antonia, Maria Concetta, etc.   My family named each one of their female children this way.

So if you are having trouble finding a lost relative try switching the names around and see if anything new turns up.  I managed to find more than one ancestor this way.

This entry was posted on Sunday, October 10, 2010 and is filed under . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments ( Atom ) .


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