need help understanding this naming practice

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need help understanding this naming practice

Postby dmt1955 » 10 Mar 2014, 00:11

i am reviewing birth records from the town of Altavilla Irpina. i've attached a snip from a birth index of 1833 as this had the most examples.

there are several children born with the last name Esposito, the mother's name is given and the father is listed 'incerto" - unknown. this is also the information on the birth act.

also in the records, for those children who were abandoned/given up, the birth act states that the parents are unknown. and the child is given a name (surname NOT Esposito).

however, the "esposito" females are given first name Maria, males usually given the first name Fortunato. i've seen this mainly in birth records of the 1830s.

anyone have any information about this practice of naming children this way.

thanks so much
donna
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Re: need help understanding this naming practice

Postby erudita74 » 10 Mar 2014, 01:51

dmt1955 wrote:i am reviewing birth records from the town of Altavilla Irpina. i've attached a snip from a birth index of 1833 as this had the most examples.

there are several children born with the last name Esposito, the mother's name is given and the father is listed 'incerto" - unknown. this is also the information on the birth act.

also in the records, for those children who were abandoned/given up, the birth act states that the parents are unknown. and the child is given a name (surname NOT Esposito).

however, the "esposito" females are given first name Maria, males usually given the first name Fortunato. i've seen this mainly in birth records of the 1830s.

anyone have any information about this practice of naming children this way.

thanks so much
donna


Donna
I personally have never seen this practice in any other town. What I have seen are birth records where the father is unknown or uncertain with the infant being given the mother's surname and not the surname Esposito. Trafford Cole on p. 26 of his book on Italian Genealogical Records states that Esposito literally means "exposed" or "shown," and that the name derives from the practice among orphanages of displaying the orphans to visitors so that the orphans could be taken into homes as servants." The first name Fortunato or Fortunata means lucky, so it would seem to go with the explanation of the surname Esposito given by Cole. The naming practice in your ancestral town doesn't make sense to me, and I can't explain it. Hopefully someone else can.
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Re: need help understanding this naming practice

Postby dmt1955 » 10 Mar 2014, 14:17

erudita,
thanks so much for the explanation from cole's book. i was unaware of this.

as you mentioned, maybe others might have insights into this.

donna
www.MyItalianFamilies.com
Researching: Purcaro, Raimo, Rizzo, Scaglione, Troisi, Masucci
Locations: Ariano (di Puglia) Irpino, Volturrara, Altavilla, Zungoli
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