Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in America

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PepinoMattioli
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Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in America

Postby PepinoMattioli » 07 Oct 2004, 00:06

Ive always wondered this.

In my family there is the cognome Senerchia which was always pronounced as it is spelled in english pronounciation...Sener - CHia. Wouldnt the proper pronounciation in italian be Sener - Kia.

Same with the cognome Nucera. In my family it was always pronounced Nu - SERA. Isnt it supposed to be pronounced Nu -CHera

I ask because now I am stuck with a few questions....do i look for alternate spellings? ( ex. if we pronounce it Sener - CHia am I looking for the proper spelling SENERCIA )
Or were these names just americanized by my family when they got here because the everyday american would pronounce the names as they thought they were pronounced using English pronounciation.

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PepinoMattioli
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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby PepinoMattioli » 07 Oct 2004, 00:12

Mi dispiace. I got cut off before I was finished.

Finally. Is the old rumor true that agents on Ellis Island changed last names on the paperwork. Or spelled the last names to the best of their ability instead of the correct way.

Ex. - If my ancestors said their cognome was Senercia would the agents have spelled S E N E R C H I A.

grazie

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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby DeliBoy » 07 Oct 2004, 12:50

For the benefit of others looking in, you know your Senerchia ancestors came from Panni.

So if you go to the Italian phone book, www.paginebianche.it you can type in Senerchia under cognome (surname) and Panni under dove (where) and up pop a number of people living in Panni today who spell their name like you do. In this case we can be sure that it is the pronunciation that has changed over the years, not the spelling.

In the case of Nucera, there are no current Pannese with this surname spelling in the phone book, but if you go to Napoli instead, a nearby big town, there are a few. So again, I would conclude it is the pronunciation, not the spelling that has changed.

As a double check, you can try typing in how Italians would have written the name if it were pronounced as you do, and there are none.

Hope that helps.

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PepinoMattioli
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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby PepinoMattioli » 07 Oct 2004, 22:53

Yea...with Senerchia, I figured that the spelling was right on that. Especially since I know they are from Panni and I have several documents and such with that. Just a thought that possibly I had something wrong.

The Nucera cognome is my grandmothers parents. I actually have a certificate from Ellis Island I found here at my grandparents house. I have to find it again, its to certify that they came through Ellis island or something???? Not sure Ill look for it tonite and scan it on this page. Anyway the Nuceras were from Castelafranco.

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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby ctellone » 13 Oct 2004, 12:16

I think that you may be correct in assuming that when our relatives arrived in the states, the person documenting their information guessed on the spelling due to pronunciation. I am having difficulty finding anyone in Italy with the surname spelling Tellone.

Sorry Deliboy,I should have read the replies first. I pulled up the italian phone book that you provided and did locate several Tellone's in Andretta. Thanks

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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby ptimber » 13 Oct 2004, 17:22

Surnames were prepared and placed int he ships manifest in Italy prior to departure and while spelling errors occurred there were no "changes" made at Ellis Island but rather before in Italy or perhaps after landing and entering gthe social fabric of the United Stateds thru schools, work or other. The CH in Italian is hard not soft and replaces the english "K". The soft sound is CI.

name changes at Ellis island is a myth. Peter

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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby cutegal » 28 Jul 2006, 18:02

Hi there, I have been on this site before reading and posting some. Im not sure if this means anything, but i'm trying to get any info on my ancestors. Anyhoo, My grandfathers name was Joseph Nucera, older brother john and father Dominic (nick) Nucera. They moved to detroit when my grandfather was 14, john served in the war. Their father died in america and the boys moved to Canada where their names were changed to Nuclar. We have many Nuclars here in Canada. All I know about their mom is that her Name was Bella and she died in italy at a very young age. If anyone has anyinfo on the Nucera fmaily, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you :)

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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby msalvatori » 28 Jul 2006, 22:05

Yes, I find that agents at Ellis Island wrote the last names and residences of many arrivals whatever way they figured it was spelled. My grandfather is listed as Oreste Salvatore when he is really Oreste Salvatori. Alot of his relatives, the same thing happened when they came over I find in their listings. Also I found his birthplace of Sorbo written as Sorto or Sordo. Also with Tagliacozzo, I found it written Tagliacotto.

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Re: Did Pronunciation or spellings of Surnames change in Ame

Postby vineviz » 28 Jul 2006, 23:35

msalvatori wrote:Yes, I find that agents at Ellis Island wrote the last names and residences of many arrivals whatever way they figured it was spelled. My grandfather is listed as Oreste Salvatore when he is really Oreste Salvatori. Alot of his relatives, the same thing happened when they came over I find in their listings. Also I found his birthplace of Sorbo written as Sorto or Sordo. Also with Tagliacozzo, I found it written Tagliacotto.


My experience is that the ship manifests are correct far more often than they are incorrect. As someone else pointed out, the manifests were written or typed at the point of origin (e.g. Naples) where names were unlikely to be grossly misstated.

In the only manifest for Oreste Salvatore I could find, both Sorbo and Tagliacozzo were spelled correctly.

And we must all remember that more than 100 years ago, some of these surnames were fluid even in Italy. I have found my grandmother's surname bounce back and forth beteween Colavito and Colavita (depending somewhat on which town they were living in) over three or four generations in Italy before they finally settled on Colavita shortly before my great-grandparents immigrated.


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