Surname Database Update  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database

Finally, after several months of falling behind I have, as of yesterday evening,  added over 300 new surnames and contacts to the Database. As I mentioned earlier we are still in the process of changing the way names are to be submitted so keep a look out for the new contact form.  I will be asking for feedback on which way you prefer more.

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Royal Italian Families - King Victor Emmanuel II  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in ,

King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

While watching the English - Canadian TV series, the Tudors  the other night I started  thinking about the Italian Monarchy and Royal Surnames of Italy and found some interesting sites detailing the lives of the Italian Royal Family.

Allan Raymonds Monarchies of Europe website gives a detailed time line of the Royal Italian Families which include descendants of Queen Victoria.  There's some wonderful information on the families including links to King Victor Emmanuel II who belonged to the House of Savoy-Carignano, obituary.

Victor Emmanuel II was born Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso, eldest son of Charles Albert of Sardinia and Maria Theresa of Austria on 14 March 1820 in Torino, Piemonte, Italy and died 9 January 1878 in Rome Lazio Italy. From 1849 to 1861, he was King of  of Piedmont, Savoy, and Sardinia and on 17 March 1861 he assumed King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy, a title he held until his death in 1878.

Sources: ,,

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Holiday Inspired Italian Names  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in , , , , ,

With the holiday season upon us I thought it would be nice to talk about some holiday inspired names.  Some names that come to mind are Natale (Christmas) Grazia (Grace) and Bifano (Epiphany).  All have been used as first or surnames.

A quick search on Searching the Enhanced Ellis Island Database in One Step using Natale with no variation returns over 2300 persons with the surname arrived through Ellis Island between 1892-1924.  By removing the letter e from the end of the name and searching again, the returns are over 3400.  By doing a search using it as a first name, which does yield some variations, almost 15,000 hits are returned!
Using Gens-Italia, we find the surname is present in over 956 towns with the highest concentration in the regions of Campania and Lombardy.  And of course, if we use the Italian White Pages Pagine Bianche to search the surname, we find that 3317 people are listed.

Let's try the same thing with Grazia. Doing a quick search on Grazia, again with no variation, we find that 3282 immigrants with the surname entered through the New York port.  Gens Italia returns the name is still present in 158 towns with the highest concentration in Emilia Romagna while there are only 423 persons listed in the Italian White pages.

The less popular Bifano still returns 119 hits on Ellis Island, found in 72 towns in Italy and 158 hits on the Italian White Pages.

As a side note - while extracting records from various towns in Reggio Calabria, I often noticed that the first names Natale and  Natalina were given to persons born either near or on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.  I also found that these births, and many births which took place in late December were not registered until January the following year so my advice is that if you are looking for someone named Natale and are having difficulty locating a birth record, try looking in the months of December and January.  
Name Meaning and History

Southern Italian: from the medieval personal name Epifanio, ultimately from Greek Epiphanios, a derivative of epiphainesthai ‘to appear’, a name typically given to children born on 6th January, with reference to the Christian festival of the Epiphany, which commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Magi.
Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
Italian form of Grace.
A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0192800507

This post is dedicated to my good friend "Biff" and his family who I now consider a part of my very special Gente family.  God Bless and Happy Holidays.

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Time for a Change.  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in

It's been a very long three months.  After Carole's death things just sort of spiraled out of control which has left me a bit backlogged with work.  Yesterday I spent almost 19 hours just going through all my emails and formatting the more than 200 names to be entered into the database.  Spelling errors, missing information and follow up emails were all part of the process.  Now that it's all copied over I need to merge them into the database.
Perhaps one of the single most difficult thing about this database is that it's all created by html.  I chose to have people send me the info to help eliminate the spam that is definitely associated with almost every website.  Also, I wanted to be able to correct and fill in missing information and make it so the contact links are *not* click able.  This will prevent spam programs from using the mail to link to send unwanted mail.
Having said that, I think it may be time for a change.
After conversations with a friend who specializes in web program and development, I decided it may be time to make the database interactive.  People will be able to input their own data - but of course I will still be able to *weed out* the undesirable.  There will no longer be an option for people to send me their genealogy questions.  I would love to help everyone but the truth is I am not a professional genealogist.  I have a full time job and a house and family to look after.  This a a hobby for me and I don't have the time or money to be able to actually answer everyone's questions.
I just want to remind everyone that if they do have a genealogy related question they can post it on the Gente Genealogy Forum that we have.  There are hundreds of members on Gente from all over the world that would love to help - and it really lightens my load quite a bit.  If you have a chance check it out.  You may find it useful.

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Posted by: Italian Surname Database in , , ,

Gens-Italia  is an excellent site to use to see the distribution of your surname in Italy.  Some of you might remember it as the site Susan Sarandon used in the April 2010 episode of Who do You Think You Are? to help her get started on researching her roots. While I know I have written briefly about this site before I think it important to revisit and find out what else it can do for you.

To get started, you simply enter your surname in the search bar labeled Cognome: in the top left hand corner and click the arrow or hit enter. 

Now if you have a common surname such as Rossi then it probably won't help you much as the map is almost completely covered by circles meaning the name is extremely popular throughout all of Italy and found in 4541 towns. Now if you have a not so common surname such as Baldovini you will see that it is primarily found in Central Italy and in only 16 towns or villages. By clicking on the circles you will get a close up map of the region the name is found in and with the help of Google Maps you might even be able to zero in on the specific towns.

You can also search for your name in the USA using the Gen-US Surname Map which can be really useful if you're trying to determine not only where your ancestors originally emigrated from but to where those with the surname are currently living.  Once again using Baldovini we see that there are currently only three states which the name is prevalent in which make up about 10 persons.  But, if we translate the name to Baldwin, the American equivalent to Baldovini,  it now becomes a totally different ball game with the name being distributed fairly evenly in almost every US state and which represent hundreds of people.

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Common Suffixes in Surnames  

Posted by: Italian Surname Database in ,

From Wikipedia..

A large number of Italian surnames end in i, due to the medieval Italian habit of identifying families by the name of the ancestors in the plural (which have an -i suffix in Italian). For instance, Filippo from the Ormanno family (gli Ormanni) would be called "signore Filippo degli Ormanni" ("Mr. Filippo of the Ormannos"). In time, the middle possessive portion ("of the") was dropped, but surnames became permanently pluralized and never referred to in the singular, even for a single person. Filippo Ormanno would therefore be known as Filippo Ormanni.[5] Some families, however, opted to retain the possessive portion of their surnames, for instance Lorenzo de' Medici literally means "Lorenzo of the Medici" (de' is a contraction of dei, also meaning "of the"; c.f. The Medicis).

Some common suffixes indicate endearment (which may also become pluralized and receive an -i ending), for example:

  • -ello/illo/etto/ino (diminutive "little"), e.g., Bernardino, Bernardello
  • -one (augmentative "big"), e.g., Mangione
  • -accio/azzo/asso (pejorative[6]), e.g., Boccaccio
Other endings are characteristic of certain regions:[2]
  • Veneto: -asso, -ato and consonants (l, n, r): Bissacco, Zoccarato, Cavinato, Brombal, Francescon, Meneghin, Perin, Peron, Vazzoler
  • Sicily: -aro, -isi and "osso": Cavallaro, Puglisi, Rosso (Sicily and Veneto)
  • Lombardy: -ago/ghi and -ate/ati: Salmoiraghi, Bonati
  • Friuli: -otti/utti and -t: Bortolotti, Pascutti, Codutti, Rigonat
  • Tuscany: -ai and -aci/ecci/ucci: Bollai, Balducci
  • Sardinia: -u, -as and -is: Pusceddu, Schirru, Marras, Argiolas, Floris, Melis, Abis
  • Piedmont: -ero, -audi, -asco,-zzi: Ferrero, Rambaudi, Comaco, Bonazzi
  • Calabria: -ace: Storace
  • Campania: -iello: Borriello
Side note Accuracy of article - all information on this article is sourced. It is worth looking through the sources for additional information.

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