Why so many names?

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OrangeBlossom44
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Why so many names?

Postby OrangeBlossom44 » 18 Mar 2015, 18:03

My late grandmother was Clara Cantino from Frinco, Asti. She was born in the mid-1800s.

Though her name was Clara, she is almost always referred to on documents as "Vina", "Vino", "Seldina", "Seldino", "Lina", "Lena". Was this common among Italians of that generation to use so many names? Do these other names have a special meaning? I've wondered this for years.

Thank you very much.
Researching Frinco

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CiaoBella1313
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Re: Why so many names?

Postby CiaoBella1313 » 18 Mar 2015, 21:48

To me, they sound like the same name...Vino, Vina, Lina, Lena. The person that happened to write the record wrote it down like it was sounded to them.

Names aren't always spelled the same.

Seldina and Seldino...same thing...same named spelled differently.

I have seen different endings on surnames too. Like one record say Perrotta and another says Perrotti.

Anizio
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Re: Why so many names?

Postby Anizio » 18 Mar 2015, 21:49

No it is not common. Multiple names are, but not switching from one to another, and NEVER from an -a ending to an -o ending.

Sounds to me like the records for multiple different people, men and women. But of course to know you'd have to actually show us the records, and tell us what country they are from (ie. if these are American documents suddenly it might be plausible)

Also, as to the above comment "Vino, Vina, Lino, Lina" do not sound the same in Italian. Sure, some writers would make mistakes about the sound of a name but this mistake would be a pretty big one that wouldn't be made. And the endings of names did not change from masculine to feminine anymore than someone named John in English would accidentally be called Josephine. We are talking about first name here, not surnames.
TIP: When asking for records from Italy, do NOT ask for an "estratto." ALWAYS ask for a "copia integrale." A photocopy of the original Act will contain more information

OrangeBlossom44
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Re: Why so many names?

Postby OrangeBlossom44 » 18 Mar 2015, 22:53

Thank you for your comments, CiaoBella1313 & Anizio.

I'm beginning to think that all these names were nicknames, and that when Italian-speaking relatives (with their particular accents) spoke them to non-Italian-speaking Americans, they were mis-transcribed (like not knowing the difference between male "o" and female "a" endings). None of these nicknames were used on important, legal documents where she was the subject...only on documents that pertained to others and in community directories.

My late mother always referred to grandma as "Vina," but I was named after her, Clara, and my paternal grandmother, Maria. For your information, the name of my maternal grandmother came first, because she had recently died, while my paternal grandmother was still living (she died when I was 5 years old).

I looked online to see whether any of her nicknames had particular meaning; none do. But, without exception, occurrences of the nicknames appeared most frequently in Italy.

Thank you both for your help. These little mysteries are one of the reasons that being Italian is so special. Just wish that my grandmother hadn't died several years before I was born. I would have liked to have asked her the same question that is the subject of this thread.

Kindest regards,
Clara Marie Biondi Jarvis "Claire"
Researching Frinco


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