Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

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jjulian14712
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Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby jjulian14712 » 13 Nov 2008, 19:35

I'm fairly sure I've made a connection to my grandfather's birth record in Italy under the name Francesco GIULIANI. However, I've also made an equally valid connection to a ship's manifest with him listed as Francesco GUILIANO.

I can understand the mistake of switching the "U" and "I" in the first part of the name, but what about the last letter? Is it common in Italian surnames to use the last letters interchangeably? I have also noticed this with other Italian ancestors. This is an important question to me because I would like to inquire about the correct name when I write to my grandfather's town in Italy.

As always, thank you for your help.

Jeff Julian

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby PeterTimber » 13 Nov 2008, 20:08

There are 1,491 cities,towns and villaghes in Italy having persons surnamed GIULIANI while there are NONE surnamed GUILIANO. Perhaps there may be a few as a result of centuries of handwriting records errors but thats about it. There may be GUILIANI surnamed persons in Italy as well. =Peter=

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 13 Nov 2008, 20:16

jjulian14712 wrote:I'm fairly sure I've made a connection to my grandfather's birth record in Italy under the name Francesco GIULIANI. However, I've also made an equally valid connection to a ship's manifest with him listed as Francesco GUILIANO.

I can understand the mistake of switching the "U" and "I" in the first part of the name, but what about the last letter? Is it common in Italian surnames to use the last letters interchangeably? I have also noticed this with other Italian ancestors. This is an important question to me because I would like to inquire about the correct name when I write to my grandfather's town in Italy.

As always, thank you for your help.

Jeff Julian



Here in the US, I might introduce myself by proclaiming, "I am Joe Smith" and myself and my family together as, "We are the Smiths."

As you probably know, changing the last vowel of many Italian words to an "i" signifies the plural form. Thus, a long strand of pasta is a "spaghetto" but a plateful of the stuff is called spaghetti. Similarly, most of us enjoy ravioli or panini, but how many realize that the singular form is raviolo or panino?

Getting back to Francesco Giuliano, it would not be unusual for the name to morph into Giuliani - "I am Franceso Giuliano", "We are the Giuliani".

On the other hand, both names are fairly common throughout Italy - even today, the Italian telephone directory lists 144 Francesco Giuliano and 113 Francesco Giuliani throughout the country. You will have to research carefully to ensure you have identified the correct ancestor.

The "ui" spelling, by the way, would be quite unusual.

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby PeterTimber » 13 Nov 2008, 20:23

There are 1,491 cities, towns and villages I(stated above) with persons surnamed Giuliani and there are 1,031 cities,towns and villages with persons surnamed Giuliano in Italy to give you a further perspective on the discussion at hand. =Peter=

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby Lucap » 13 Nov 2008, 21:13

johnnyonthespot wrote:...Getting back to Francesco Giuliano, it would not be unusual for the name to morph into Giuliani - "I am Franceso Giuliano", "We are the Giuliani"


This is not the reason why most of the italian surnames end in i! It depends from the use of the "genitivo latino" in the parish acts (the only registrations used in Italy before 1866 and in some place 1809) that are passed on the "Stato Civile" established in 1866.

Luca

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 13 Nov 2008, 21:37

Lucap wrote:
johnnyonthespot wrote:...Getting back to Francesco Giuliano, it would not be unusual for the name to morph into Giuliani - "I am Franceso Giuliano", "We are the Giuliani"


This is not the reason why most of the italian surnames end in i! It depends from the use of the "genitivo latino" in the parish acts (the only registrations used in Italy before 1866 and in some place 1809) that are passed on the "Stato Civile" established in 1866.

Luca


I understand it is not the most reliable source, but my comments are summarized formally in the following text from this Wikipedia page:

Suffixes

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 "messer 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).



Interestingly (as I interpret it), this ties together the genitivo latino (possesive) concept with the plural "i" concept.

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby Tamberino » 14 Nov 2008, 00:12

Very true Johnnyonthespot, however as your own quote states, that was the Middle Ages, not 100 years ago but more like 1000 years ago before Europe even knew the Americas existed. It is no longer the case.

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby johnnyonthespot » 14 Nov 2008, 01:14

Tamberino wrote:Very true Johnnyonthespot, however as your own quote states, that was the Middle Ages, not 100 years ago but more like 1000 years ago before Europe even knew the Americas existed. It is no longer the case.


I think perhaps my original point was lost somewhere in this conversation.

The OP asked, "Is it common in Italian surnames to use the last letters interchangeably?" When I said, "Getting back to Francesco Giuliano, it would not be unusual for the name to morph into Giuliani" my poorly-stated intention was to show that if you trace far enough into the past, you will likely find that Sr. Giuliani's roots begin with a family named Giuliano. And, also, that no - Italian surnames do not use "the last letters interchangeably" but rather some family names split-off, changed, morphed, into similar but distinctly different names.

Thus, my final statement, "On the other hand, both names are fairly common throughout Italy - even today, the Italian telephone directory lists 144 Francesco Giuliano and 113 Francesco Giuliani throughout the country. You will have to research carefully to ensure you have identified the correct ancestor."

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby jjulian14712 » 14 Nov 2008, 04:18

Thank you all for a very informative discussion. I'd like to respond this way:

The reason I can be sure I have the correct town (Onano) is that later in life the man I knew to be my grandfather--Frank Julian-- filled out a social security form and listed his mother as "Marian Sabatin." The birth document I received from Onano lists a Francesco Giuliani born to a mother named "Marianna Sabatini," with a father named Giuseppe. Sixteen years later Francesco Guiliano appears on the manifest for the Verona (my grandfather's army records also name that ship). I have a good idea that he's the same person because the age and town are correct, and he lists his mother as "Sabatini." It's apparent to me that the person making the transcription for the Ellis Island database read the cursive writing on the manifest incorrectly--the dot above the i was misplaced, making the iu appear to be reversed.

My main question was about the i or o at the end of the name, and you answered that very well. When I write to the town to investigate further, I'll use both variations of the name.

Thanks again,

Jeff

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby Tamberino » 14 Nov 2008, 04:19

So what you are saying is that your post had nothing to do with the question, since he was asking about his grandfather.

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby anjgi » 14 Nov 2008, 08:11

In my search for the name Carotenuto I have found it written in a variety of ways, some of which, if it weren't for other factors that prove to me that they are the same people, are totally different to others. Examples might be Carodonudo, Caratamito, Carotonoto, Carunoddni etc.... Poor literary skills on the part of both person with the name and/or the name taker, particularly if taking the name orally mean that names change. In a recent census I read the enumerator was clearly not Italian (George Honer). He spelt Italy as Itlay down the entire length of his census and every single Italian family had been given an Anglicised first name. The spellings of their surname is anyone's guess. Interestingly, in the house with my 'Carotenutos' they had a boarder who went by the name of Alfred Julian. Obviously, Alfredo Guiliani/o. He was Italian.
My partner's name is Louis, but only because the registrar taking the verbal instruction to register his name misheard and then miswrote the name Luigi. When he went to live in the states for a while he used the name Louie, because of everyone's insistence at calling him Lewis instead of the French pronunciation of Louis, where the s is silent.
It's good to remember that names are ever flexible entities.
(and then again, I have just spell check this post and it tells me I've spelled 'Anglicised' wrong. It should have a 'z'. But I'm English and we spell many words with an 's' that in the States you spell with a 'z'. For me 'Anglicised' is correct.
ah the English language.....

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby Lucap » 14 Nov 2008, 09:28

jjulian14712 wrote:...It's apparent to me that the person making the transcription for the Ellis Island database read the cursive writing on the manifest incorrectly--
It could be!

My main question was about the i or o at the end of the name, and you answered that very well. When I write to the town to investigate further, I'll use both variations of the name.
Good idea!



Luca

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby barbalatte » 11 Feb 2009, 08:52

Well, my name is Daniele Giuliano, son of Federico Giuliano, in turn son of Gennaro Giuliano & Federico Giuliano, and finally Gennaro Giuliano of around 1890.
Are we related somewhere down the line?
We reside in Sydney, Australia.
We are Giuliano's from Napoli.

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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby scamosci » 11 Feb 2009, 09:41

hi,
sorry for my bad english but...
i would like to find somes informations about mister GHERBIZ GIOVANNI born on october 28,1913 on DRENCHIO provincia di Udine
He was an "alpino" based on "battaglione di UDINE"
thank for all you can tell me about this
have a nice day
MC ELECTRICITE
Walter SCAMOSCI
Château les bruyères
Route de saint Etienne des sorts
30130 PONT SAINT ESPRIT
0688197561

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uantiti
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Re: Italian Surnames: Last Letter Interchangeable?

Postby uantiti » 11 Feb 2009, 10:13

scamosci wrote:hi,
sorry for my bad english but...
i would like to find somes informations about mister GHERBIZ GIOVANNI born on october 28,1913 on DRENCHIO provincia di Udine
He was an "alpino" based on "battaglione di UDINE"
thank for all you can tell me about this
have a nice day


Bonjour,
Vous pouvez contacter l'Archive d'Etat d'Udine, aussi bien par e-mail, en demandant le "FOGLIO MATRICOLARE" pour la personne que vous recherchez. Il faut lui donner toutes les informations que Vous avez, cette à dire: date de naissance, lieu de naissance, paternité et maternité.

Hi,
you can contact The State Archive in Udine, also by e-mail, requesting the "FOGLIO MATRICOLARE" for the person you are looking for. You have to give them details such as date of birth, place of birth, father's name and mother's name.

Archivi Udine

Ada


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