I's and J's

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jestes
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I's and J's

Postby jestes » 21 Nov 2013, 05:46

My grandmother's family from Messina changed the spelling of their surname to "Maggio" when they moved to Santa Lucia del Mela, but prior to that they lived in Meri, where the name was spelled "Majo," but occasionally "Maio" or "Maggio."

When I am typing this into my genealogy, should I spell it "Majo" or "Maio"?
Is the letter "j" used in Italian? Or is "Majo" more of a Sicilian spelling?

It seems to be spelled however the sindaco felt like spelling it, because the same person's name on different records was spelled different ways.

Thanks,
John

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Italysearcher
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Re: I's and J's

Postby Italysearcher » 21 Nov 2013, 18:56

There is no 'j' in the Italian alphabet although it is creeping into use thanks the to American keyboard. What you are seeing is the elongated 'i', where the letter 'i' extends below the line. When using a typewriter the 'j' is used to denote this letter.
In my research I have found this elongated 'i' is used to differentiate between families with the same surname but not related in any way. The elongated 'i' usually given to the more affluent or important family.
It is difficult for an illiterate family to change its surname. The Italian language is such that you write what you hear. There is no word for 'spelling'. When they moved to a new town, the clerk would simply write the name as she heard it. If their dialect or pronunciation was different from the town she would 'hear' it differently.
If they were the only family in the new town with this surname, then every time a birth was registered or marriage, a different person spoke the name it might be written down differently.
In the your genealogy program I suggest you use the current spelling (the final version) and make a notation under the 'alternate names' icon since you will probably have several spellings for the same person during their lives.
Ann Tatangelo
http://angelresearch.wordpress.com
ANNOYING THE SAINTS - Stories of my Life in Italy. http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-b ... ly/7731505

jestes
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Re: I's and J's

Postby jestes » 22 Nov 2013, 03:08

Thanks Ann for the fascinating reply. I think your suggestion is a good one; when printing out reports, etc., Maio and Maggio show up as two separate families the way I currently have it.
Thanks again,
John


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