Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

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khafitzkha
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Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

Postby khafitzkha » 11 Jun 2009, 01:25

My great grandmother was Ida Fenoglio Gaddo. Her whole original maiden surname was "Fenoglio Gaddo". This caused some problems for researchers of the name because sometimes it is only written as "Gaddo" with "F." being considered a middle initial -- which it isn't. Sometimes it might be written as just "Fenoglio" with the "Gaddo" dropped off.

What is the history of these double surnames? Does it mean that we are related to both the original Fenoglio AND Gaddo families? Was it something to do with a marriage between people of those families? That's what I suspect but I would really like to know the real explanation of these double Piemontese (any other regions in Italy have these?) surnames.

Thanks so much in advance for clearing this up. I'm sure others on this list have these surnames and would like the answer as well.

Grazie!

Barry Jernigan
Ancestors from Torino province, Piemonte region who moved to Illinois, USA

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Italysearcher
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Re: Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

Postby Italysearcher » 11 Jun 2009, 12:20

Traditionally Italian women keep their birth surnames all their life. On marriage (in the Central and South of Italy) they are known as Gaddo IN Fenoglio. Fenoglio being her husband's surname. For official or administrative purposes she would be just Gaddo.
It is when they moved to North America that the problems arose since traditionally American women assume their husband's surname and drop their own completely. Immigrants compromised (probably with the authorities insistence) and maintained both surnames. For Piemonte maybe someone else can be of more help.
Ann Tatangelo
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

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Re: Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

Postby Eleven » 11 Jun 2009, 15:50

I volunteer to index records for the FHL and had been working on trento baptisims. These double names came up a lot..and I noticed that they were not the womans surname..but some other name. The name was separated by a dash.

I asked on another forum..and was told that because usually so many people in these small towns had the same name..the name was added for identification purposes. I am guessing, in the beginning, it was one of the womens surnames..but this double name was carried down and the hyphenated name became the surname.

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uantiti
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Re: Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

Postby uantiti » 11 Jun 2009, 16:08

Hi,
in Piedmont and in Northern Italy many people, especially in small villages have double surnames for the simple reason that they all have the same first surname. The second surname comes usually from a nickname given in the past to distinguish a family from another. In the years those nicknames became official as there were too many people with same name and same surname born in the same year and sometimes on same month and day. Very often nicknames were dialect words and were based on an occupation, a physical peculiarity, the place they had their house or were simply nicknames given for some unknown reason. Sometimes second surnames could have been the result of adding the maternal surname to avoid homonymies.
My maternal grandmother had a nickname meaning that her family was from a place near a canebrake.
I don't know if this was also the practice in Southern Italy.

I forgot to add that I'm from Piemonte.

Hope this helps.

Ada

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Re: Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

Postby Squigy » 12 Jun 2009, 09:57

My great grandmother did that. What she did is, she made her maiden name her middle name. i.e. Born Mary Smith, married John Baker, name after marriage, Mary Smith Baker, get it :?:

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uantiti
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Re: Double Italian surnames -- what is the reason?

Postby uantiti » 12 Jun 2009, 10:21

khafitzkha wrote:My great grandmother was Ida Fenoglio Gaddo. Her whole original maiden surname was "Fenoglio Gaddo". This caused some problems for researchers of the name because sometimes it is only written as "Gaddo" with "F." being considered a middle initial -- which it isn't. Sometimes it might be written as just "Fenoglio" with the "Gaddo" dropped off.

What is the history of these double surnames? Does it mean that we are related to both the original Fenoglio AND Gaddo families? Was it something to do with a marriage between people of those families? That's what I suspect but I would really like to know the real explanation of these double Piemontese (any other regions in Italy have these?) surnames.

Thanks so much in advance for clearing this up. I'm sure others on this list have these surnames and would like the answer as well.

Grazie!

Barry Jernigan
Ancestors from Torino province, Piemonte region who moved to Illinois, USA


I had a look on the Italian Telephone Directory (White Pages) and found that the family name is Fenoglio Gaddò with accent on "o" and in case you are interested some of those people live in Prascorsano.

White Pages.

Regards

Ada


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