Italian naming of children culture

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Irishinamerica
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Italian naming of children culture

Postby Irishinamerica » 11 Mar 2011, 23:34

Greetings,

I have a question about how Italians have historically named children.
I am finding that in my Rolle family that each couple tends to have more than one child with the same name.

For example, I have encountered 1 couple with a son born in August 1869 with the name Giacomo Bartolomeo and then another son (same couple) with the name Giacomo Carlo Bartolomeo born in Nov 1870.

And I'm encountering this with 2 other couples in the same family.

Would I be correct in assuming if two children from the same couple have the same first name - that the first child with the name likely died?

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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby johnnyonthespot » 12 Mar 2011, 00:16

More than likely the first Giacomo died in childhood and the next born male child was given the same name. This was a common practice. See http://italiangenealogy.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=11668/
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Irishinamerica
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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby Irishinamerica » 12 Mar 2011, 05:00

Makes sense!

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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby Marcello_DAleo » 12 Mar 2011, 11:31

Yes, this was a very common practice
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Irishinamerica
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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby Irishinamerica » 12 Mar 2011, 16:51

Was this usually done just for boys? The only reason I ask is that one of the families that I am researching had several Maria's.

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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby Marcello_DAleo » 12 Mar 2011, 16:57

Not only for boys, but even for little girls
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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby johnnyonthespot » 12 Mar 2011, 16:57

Both boys and girls. However you may also see many/all girls in a family with firstname Maria and different middle names. I assume this is in honor of the Virgin Mary but am not certain.
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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby nuccia » 13 Mar 2011, 12:03

You are correct Carmine - was common to give the name Maria in honour of the Virgin Mary. All my aunts in one family carried the name Maria - and so their middle name was used to identify them.

This happened many times with sons as well so although the first Giacomo may have died, he may not have. The only way to be sure is to confirm death information.
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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby johnnyonthespot » 13 Mar 2011, 13:27

I presume that male children were often given the middle name "Maria" for the same reason, as an honorific to the Virgin Mary?
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Re: Italian naming of children culture

Postby nuccia » 13 Mar 2011, 14:33

I believe so Carmine. I found many male ancestors with the middle name Maria in the 1800's but for me, I found this changed as it moved into the 1900's. The name wasn't used as often or by as many.
I have found that in Calabria at least, the most common names used for children were Maria and Giuseppe. I assume this is for the same reason as you posted above.
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