Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

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bnelson
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Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby bnelson » 20 Oct 2011, 03:50

Can anyone explain why some Italian families with a surname ending in "a" changed the last letter to "o"? My ancestors were born with the surname Caiazza, but later changed to Caiazzo. I think this is fairly common but have no idea why.

I apologize if this has been asked and answered many times before.

Thanks,

Bill

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Re: Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby Max Power » 20 Oct 2011, 12:28

Seems that in the past, sometimes, the people who worked at the registration in the city hall were ignorant, and thus many errors were made during the registration of the name and family name of newly born.
So, in some cases, the surnames were changed: for example, my family name is actually Napolitano, but I found my great grandfather was called Napolitani.
This is because in the registration file now stored in my city church, the employee wrote badly his surname.
This is happened also in more recent times: a friend of my father has surname Mazzocchi, but his brother is registered as Mazzocca.

bnelson
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Re: Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby bnelson » 21 Oct 2011, 03:08

Thank you for the information. Unfortunately I can't read Italian. Do you know when the town Caiazza changed its name to Caiazzo?

My Caiazza family members changed their name to Caiazzo roughly between 1890 and 1910.

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Re: Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby Italysearcher » 21 Oct 2011, 20:05

Napolitani is the plural form of Napolitano. The clerks weren't that stupid. Sometimes the person making the declaration might have responded with the plural form if he was there with other family members.
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Re: Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby PippoM » 23 Oct 2011, 19:19

I think that change of name of the family is not connected to change of name of town.
Change of name of family is generally due to transcription errors. Southern people, expecially from Campania, don't pronounce the final vowel of words, so, this is a common mistake of Registrars. When people emigrated to USA, it was even more difficult for American clerks to write down correctly their names, as because of difficulties of comprehension, as for the illeteracy of most emigrants.
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bnelson
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Re: Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby bnelson » 24 Oct 2011, 02:51

I have the birth certificates for my grandfather and all of his siblings. All were born with the surname Caiazza, and all eventually changed the surname to Caiazzo. I am certain this is the same family.

When they immigrated to America (different ships over the course of many years), some of the earlier ships manifests list the name as Caiazza, some of the later ones as Caiazzo. Could be the result of multiple transcription errors over time, if that is the case, some of the errors happened in Italy.

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Re: Surname ending letter changed from a to o?

Postby bnelson » 25 Oct 2011, 02:33

A few ship's manifests which were created in Naples identify some of the siblings as Caiazzo. All of the male siblings that were naturalized in the USA used the surname Caiazzo in the naturalization papers. One female sibling still used the surname Caiazza when married in the USA in 1914.


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