Surname of married women

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Surname of married women

Postby senior » 30 Aug 2011, 15:58

Hello everyone and thanks in advance; I have always believed the European custom was for the women to retain her father's surname when she married. All of my research (my family is Italian on both sides) has always shown this to be true. However, when I was helping a friend with her genealogy in the Lake Como area, I noticed women and men "sharing" the man's surname. Is this a regional custom? Were they distant cousins in a small village? My past research is safe, but I need to know what I'm seeing when they share the surname.
Thanks again,
Senior :)
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Re: Surname of married women

Postby Italysearcher » 30 Aug 2011, 18:45

When you get the marriage record all will become clear. In many small towns a surname could be so common this would happen. The priest usually made sure they had 3 generations with no common ancestor.
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Re: Surname of married women

Postby PippoM » 31 Aug 2011, 08:03

In my town (35.000 inhabitants) it often happens that people with the same surname get married. That happens with common (in that town) surnames such as Pepe, Marrazzo, or Tortora. Also in my wife's village it happened the same. For instance, she had a couple of GGparents who shared one surname. The priest made searches for eventual common ancestors, and in the case of a 3rd or 4th grade relationship, it could be "removed" by means of a "penitence" (Offering!).
So I confirm what Ann said above. What I want to add is that till the 1970s, it was very common for women to use their husband's surname or to add it to their own. In our old databases, at work, for women we could find their surname as well as their husband's. For instance, my mother was known with my father's surname. Then, in 1974, there was a reform of laws about family, and all that was definitely over. But we still have some famous female politicians who are known with their (ex-) husband's surnames!!
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Re: Surname of married women

Postby senior » 31 Aug 2011, 15:42

Ann and Pippo; Thanks so much to both of you for your response to my question. As I said, this occurred in my family as well, and while we had questions as children, we never received an explanation until we were older. So thanks again for providing us with even more knowledge to use in our search for our families histories.
Senior :)
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Re: Surname of married women

Postby johnnyonthespot » 31 Aug 2011, 15:58

PippoM wrote:...
So I confirm what Ann said above. What I want to add is that till the 1970s, it was very common for women to use their husband's surname or to add it to their own. In our old databases, at work, for women we could find their surname as well as their husband's. For instance, my mother was known with my father's surname. Then, in 1974, there was a reform of laws about family, and all that was definitely over. But we still have some famous female politicians who are known with their (ex-) husband's surnames!!


But, Pippo, this was only true informally, correct? What I mean is that if Giuseppa Rossi married Giovanni Mancino, she might refer to herself as "Giuseppa Rossi-Mancino" or "Giuseppa Rossi in Mancino" or even "Giuseppa Mancino", but her legal documents such as passport, patente (driver's license), tessera sanitaria (healthcare card), and the atti di nascita of her children would all still show only her maiden name, Giuseppa Rossi.

Isn't that correct?
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