I have been reading birth records scanned in the ANTENATI Archives as well as using transcriptions on Ancestry and Family Search. I'm wondering about the recording of names in the primary documents; understanding them might help with the transcriptions.
For example: John Smith might be recorded (1850s) as John of Smith, and I'm not referring to the record of John's father (where reference would be di or fu depending on the father's still living or deceased).
My questions: Is John's name John Smith? Is John's name John of(di)Smith? Was the "di" used to certify belonging and lineage? Or was it a very real part of the person's name?
There are so many pages, if not nearly all, in the records where the father of the birth-child presents himself and after his first name is recorded, it is followed with "di" before the surname is written.
It seems strange to me that most males in Napoli were named John-of-Smith, as example.
But, I don't know!
The Ancestry and FS search records will transcribe names using "di" as John DiSmith. Therefore, it can be difficult to "match" records from more than one source.
I suppose you refer to cases when you find the word "di" between the name and what you expect to be the surname. But, are you sure THAT is the surname? In Italy there are lots of surnames of the kind "di Maria", "Di Marco", "di Natale". This makes you wonder about the meaning of "di" above all because in the XIX century you would often find the form "di ..." with a lowercase "d", whereas today surnames are always written with a capital "D" (if you found "Di", you would of course think it is part of surname). I hope I was able to explain...
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi
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Thanks, PippoM, for your reply. Because so many of the 800+ pages I've read so far have the lower-case 'di' between the faher's given and family names, even used in the names of the birth-mother, I wondered how that could be. Far too many of them in one Quartiere not to raise questions for me!
Then, if I turned the page, so to speak, where a contrato for marriage was recorded, often the "di" disappeared from the name of the marrying person for whom the birth record was written on the previous page.
That led to my questions too.I thought perhaps it was what you wrote, a reflection of the time frame in which the records were written.
There are (rare) instances in which the letter -D- was capitalized; most letters -d- were/are not.