Here is a challenge indeed. My maiden name is Salvoni. I have made contact with another of the Salvoni family who tells me a fascinating story of the origination of the name. There are only about 350 Salvoni's world wide. And it all makes sense. But I need to trace the name from ~1350 to 1888...and then I have the link to my birth.
The king of Sweden, Erik Magnussen, had a son named Erik. The family monk, named Knut the Black, heard of a plot to kill the royal family in a confession. Knut took the child back to the Cistercian Abbey in Italy. Little Erik's mother, Beatrix of Bavaria, had a sister named Elisabeth who married into the Italian royal family. Little Erik was heir to the throne and so had to be "lost" to protect his life.
The information above has been collected from many different web sites at universities in Sweden and Norway, as well as other genealogy sites. I have URL's if you want them.
I have a distant relative who has also been researching this story and got me started on the Scandanavian link. He is sending me more information about what happened next after his wife translates it from Italian into English. In the interim, I'm asking for help if you have any.
To protect little Erik, the priests changed his name from Erik to Rico. He needed an Italian surname, so they created it from the Latin word salvus, meaning saved, and put oni at the end = Salvoni. So the first Salvoni was the grandson of the king of Sweden and Norway and mother was Belgian, which certainly explains Grandpa Joe's blonde hair and blue eyes (and my blonde hair and hazel eyes).
But after little Erik's name was changed to Rico Salvoni, he had at least two sons. One settled in Lombardi and the other went to Tuscany. The relative sending me this information is from the Lombardi branch. I am from the Tuscan branch in Lammari, Capennori, Lucca area. My grandfather was born in Lammari but died before I was born. I don't even know his father's first name, but I'm hoping to find that out soon from a distant cousin here in the US.
After I figure all of this stuff out, I'm going to have to write a book!!
Happy New Year!