As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I know that Italian women keep their maiden names. But I’m not sure what to make of some recent documents.
A great-aunt’s marriage record and death certificate both list her mother’s maiden name as “Castello” which was instead her grandmother’s maiden name (actually “Castiello”).
I thought this was just an error until I found her sister’s baptism record – which lists the mother’s name once again as Castello. So this is coming from the mother, herself, listing her mother’s maiden name as her own, rather than her father’s surname. I don’t think there was a language problem since the baptism record from a NYC church is in Italian.
My grandfather’s documents list his mother’s correct maiden name – the same as her father’s cognome.
Wow! That is something intriguing to consider. Her father is on her birth record from Italy, but he is listed as already dead when she got married. I'll have to go back to the microfilms and see what else I can dig up on the family.
I actually just looked at my uncle's NY marriage record; he and my grandfather both list the mother's correct maiden name. The 2 sisters both list the grandmother's maiden name. Almost seems like a gender issue. Very odd. I'm still looking for the third sister's marriage record and will track down the other, earlier baptism records to see what they all have to say.
I am not that familiar with how you are going to handle maiden names because most likely, any link to it would have been erased if they have already changed their marital status. Though records might still be available if they have not switched to it yet.