Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

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Victorlm
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Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby Victorlm » 30 Sep 2004, 03:57

Someone mentioned their name and they got a strong negative reaction from an Italian native? What kind of inferences could people make from a last name?
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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby ptimber » 30 Sep 2004, 04:26

This is a genealogy forum and not designed to discuss neurons. Peter

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby SciBirg » 30 Sep 2004, 12:25

I talked to a guy from Sicilia once, and he said that his name got a negative reaction from northern Italians because it was very obviously a southern Italian name. He said that northern Italians look down their noses at the impoverished south.

I don't know if this goes as a rule but it is worth considering.

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby ptimber » 30 Sep 2004, 17:20

What has the got to do with genealogy? This is not relevant in this forum. Peter

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby Victorlm » 30 Sep 2004, 20:03

I plan to go to Northern Italy to do some genealogical research on my family name but I don't want to find a lot of unpleasant surprises, I might as well just forget about it.
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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby dchristiani » 30 Sep 2004, 21:58

It has everything to do with genealogy. It is learning about the people and the past. It is learning abut a different way our ancestors communicated with one another

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby DeliBoy » 30 Sep 2004, 22:25

Victor,

Yes it's true that there are people who say Italy is a small but very long country. These people are ignorant and are characterised by forming an opinion on someone without ever trying to get to know them. With respect, are you not guilty of that crime in cancelling your trip to Northern Italy based upon a web posting by a guy (respect to SciBerg too here) who met a guy who told him all Notherners looked down their noses at Southerners?

If you go to the South, you are just as likely to find someone who will insist on talking to you in incomprehensible dialect, even though you share standard Italian as a common language.

So what? Don't let these biggots rule your life. If you want to go to Italy, go!

Should I never visit America because I've heard some Americans butt into other peoples internet forum threads with the sole intention of belittling and bad mouthing them?

Going back to your original point which, with respect to Peter, I believe does have genealogical relevance in so far as it deals with the geographical diffusion of names which are inherited from one generation to the next, I think you should also consider first names. Gennaro is an example of a name which is almost stereotypically Neapolitan in origin. Similarly I would be very surprised to hear of any girls called Valleverdina who were not born within 10 km of Bovino (Fg)

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby vineviz » 30 Sep 2004, 22:58

DeliBoy wrote:
If you go to the South, you are just as likely to find someone who will insist on talking to you in incomprehensible dialect, even though you share standard Italian as a common language.

So what? Don't let these biggots rule your life. If you want to go to Italy, go!


There are regional and provincial prejudices in any nation, especially one that hasn't been a nation very long. The cultural differences between northern and southern Italy are somewhat analagous to the differences between northern and southern USA: take someone who was born and raised in New York and deposit them in rural Mississippi and you will likely experience a little friction of one type or another.

That said, I suspect the differences are being a bit overplayed. I have found most Italians to be both courteous and generous. They are likely to consider you more of an American than a Sicilian. I'd be very shocked if you had a difficult time conducting your research merely because of your surname.

And I think that understanding the origins, history, and effects of these differences is important to genealogists who really want to create a family history. For instance, emigration from the south of Italy did not really begin in earnest until after the unification: the imposition of "northern" economic policies on southern Italy had far reaching (and often catastrophic) effects on much of the Mezzogiorno causing massive outflows to the Americas and Europe of former contadini.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I want to know as much as I can about the world in which my ancestors lived and the forces that led them to make the choices (like emigration) that they did.

But that "standard" Italian you mentioned is essentially a Florentine/Roman dialect imposed on the rest of the country by the ruling classes. I can understand the reluctance of some ethnic groups to adopt it over their native toungues.

BTW, I have really enjoyed a book by Robert Lumley ("The New History of the Italian South: The Mezzogiorno Revisted") and recommend it if you want to read a detailed, if somewhat academic, view of the relationship between northern and southern Italy. Jane Schneider's book ("Italy's Southern Question: Orientalism in One Country") is also very good. These books could be considered to have a bit of a southern slant to them (a northern Italian historian might call them revisionist) but I think they make a good companion to most typical Italian histories.

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby ptimber » 30 Sep 2004, 23:07

Genealogy is the study of a family thru the descendants of people and surnames, matriarchal or patriarchal not whether your in for "surprises" pleaseant or unpleasant. I would have understood your asking whther you are going to meet good looking girls but your question makes me question your motives Victorim and Deliboy in all his well intention naivete got sucked in. Shame on you for playing head games. Peter

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby ptimber » 01 Oct 2004, 04:32

Dear Vineviz I am shocked that even you got sucked into this head game. No one speaks dialect anymore in Italy. it is more a dying thing among seniors and not part of everyday life. The question that is being brought up is divisive and has no place in a genealogy forum and so ZI question the motives..Here you are dealing with a subject matter that should be dealt with privately and not taking up GENEALOGY TIME with Calculated bigotry. I am really surprised at you since his other inquiries are equally scurrilous and you got taken in. Peter

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby ptimber » 01 Oct 2004, 04:42

...and as for History one can read all about the Northern migration to South America in thje early 1800's and the post unifivcation Italy migration to North America in the late 1800's in history books in order to understand Italy history and migration patterns. This forum is not for discussions about history but Family down thru the centuries. I suspect that the initiasl inquirer has a problem but whatever it is,i'll bet it is hard to pronounce!! Peter

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby Victorlm » 01 Oct 2004, 04:53

DeliBoy wrote:Victor,

Yes it's true that there are people who say Italy is a small but very long country. These people are ignorant and are characterised by forming an opinion on someone without ever trying to get to know them. With respect, are you not guilty of that crime in cancelling your trip to Northern Italy based upon a web posting by a guy (respect to SciBerg too here) who met a guy who told him all Notherners looked down their noses at Southerners?

If you go to the South, you are just as likely to find someone who will insist on talking to you in incomprehensible dialect, even though you share standard Italian as a common language.

So what? Don't let these biggots rule your life. If you want to go to Italy, go!

Should I never visit America because I've heard some Americans butt into other peoples internet forum threads with the sole intention of belittling and bad mouthing them?

Going back to your original point which, with respect to Peter, I believe does have genealogical relevance in so far as it deals with the geographical diffusion of names which are inherited from one generation to the next, I think you should also consider first names. Gennaro is an example of a name which is almost stereotypically Neapolitan in origin. Similarly I would be very surprised to hear of any girls called Valleverdina who were not born within 10 km of Bovino (Fg)



This is fascinating, I never thought first names would be so site specific. In the old days, they would say Leonardo (da Vinci) or something similar to indicate where they were from and that was at a time where there were a lot of divisions within the country and yet people were not ashamed to say where they were from. I find the study of genealogy one of the most engaging and stimulating of subjects because it teaches me about culture, how people governed themselves, their beliefs and values at different historical points. Thank you for your enlightened response.
Victor (Vittorio)

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby Victorlm » 01 Oct 2004, 05:11

Thank you for your concern. Here's what I said to Peter in another thread about the origins of my family name "Brolo":

"Sorry I brought up a subject that needs to be talked about in the open instead of being a forbidden discourse; I'm all for the free flow of ideas and this is a "Forum" not a private club. A forum is a medium for open discussion or expression of ideas."
Victor (Vittorio)

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby Victorlm » 01 Oct 2004, 05:25

Thank you for your recommendations, I'll definitely look into the work of Robert Lumley and Jane Schneider. I don't mind if their books might slant a little in favor of the South of Italy, I do find that almost everything I hear has a Northern bias and that is one of the reasons I'm trying to compile a list of illustrious Southern Italians and their contributions to the world.
Victor

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Re: Can you tell what part of Italy I am by the last name?

Postby ptimber » 01 Oct 2004, 05:34

Thank you. We are all refreshed and challenged by your uniuque point of view. Peter


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