Behind the Name

Behind the Name is a wonderful site which lists several hundred surnames and their meanings.  It also may tell your where the surname is derived from.  The beauty of this site is that it not only concentrates on Italian surnames but on surnames from several different parts of the world such as Germany, Spain, Greece […]

Surname Saturday – Why Italian Surnames Changed

Italian surnames have changed so much in the past century. Almost everyone I meet has a story about how their surname was changed at Ellis Island upon their ancestor’s entry in to the US. The truth of the matter is that names were not usually changed at Ellis. Manifest lists were complied and written in […]

Surnames of Orphans

Specific surnames were most commonly given to children who were orphans, illegitimate, or foundlings such as Esposito meaning exposed or Trovato, meaning found which identified the child for life as an abandoned child.  This often caused shame and embarrassment to the child.  After the Unification in 1865, this practice was no longer allowed. Other common […]

Italian Surnames: Ethymology and Origin

One site that offers a lot of interesting information about Italian Surnames and how they came to be is Italy World Club. They have broken down the origins of surnames by several categories such as Patronymics, Toponymics, Occupational, Nicknames, and Surnames of Foundlings. The SURNAME, also called FAMILY NAME, is nowadays added to an original […]

20 Top Surnames in Italy

According to an article in http://italian.about.com/od/italianculture/a/aa111704a.htm, written by Michael San Filippo, the top 20 surnames in Italy appear below. I have also included the meaning for each as well as alternate spellings. Russo and Rossi seem to be the most common. ROSSI – A red-haired or ruddy-complexioned individual, derived from the nickname “rosso,” meaning ‘ […]

Exploring the History and Meanings of Italian Surnames

One of the best articles I have read about Italian Surnames was the Life in Italy website and written by By Elizabeth Walling.  A piece extracted from the article follows below. Delving into the research of surnames, also known as last names or family names, is an exciting way to learn more about your family […]

GENS -Italian Surname Locator

Some of you may recognize this site as the one used by Susan Sarandon on Who Do You Think You Are which aired April 24, 2010. You plug in your Italian Surname and it will show you the concentration of the surname in various regions throughout Italy. An excellent resource for beginners and seasoned researchers […]

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