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Thread: Italian surnames inherited from ancient Romans

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    5 out of 5 members found this post helpful.

    Italian surnames inherited from ancient Romans



    I was wondering if any of the ancient Roman patrician and plebeian families still had descendants carrying their surnames today. I went to Cognomix, and searched for what the modern surnames would sound like without the -us ending. It turns out that not only most of the famous ancient surnames are still present, but the vast majority are still found in central Italy today - not just in Lazio, but also quite a lot in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo.

    Here are the Patrician families I could find. The others are probably extinct or their names became heavily corrupted.

    - Aquili (gens Aquilia) : 126 families today, including 71 in Marche, 23 in Lazio and 13 in Umbria.

    - Attili (gens Atilia) : 259 families today, including 113 in Lazio, 53 in Marche, 34 in Umbria and 26 in Abruzzo.

    - Claudi (gens Claudia) : 100 families today, including 26 in Lazio, 18 in Marche and 16 in Toscana.

    - Comini (gens Cominia) : 684 families today, including 425 in Lombardia (maybe another origin or the family moved there early in Roman times), 26 in Lazio, 19 in Marche and 18 in Toscana.

    - Corneli (gens Cornelia) : 203 families today, including 40 in Umbria, 24 in Lazio, 27 in Marche and 24 in Toscana.

    - Curti (gens Curtia) : 2395 families today, including 956 in Lombardia (same as the Comini), 309 in Emilia-Romagna, 302 in Piemonte and 263 in Lazio.

    - Ermini (gens Herminia) : 791 families today, including 535 in Toscana and 97 in Lazio.

    - Fabi (gens Fabia) : 796 families today, including 437 in Lazio, 147 in Marche and 58 in Umbria.

    - Furi (gens Furia) : 65 families today, including 41 in Toscana and 8 in Lazio.

    - Giuli (gens Julia) : 379 families today, including 136 in Lazio, 57 in Toscana, 53 in Umbria and 44 in Marche.

    - Lucrezi (gens Lucretia) : 24 families today, including 9 in Umbria and 4 in Lazio.

    - Orazi (gens Horatia) : 780 families today, including 328 in Marche, 205 in Lazio and 106 in Umbria.

    - Ostili (gens Hostilia) : 65 families today, including 41 in Lazio, 12 in Umbria and 7 in Toscana.

    - Postumi (gens Postumia) : 7 families today, all in Lazio!

    - Servili (gens Servilia) : 75 families today, including 21 in Lazio, 21 in Umbria and 20 in Marche.

    - Sulpizi (gens Sulpicia) : 106 families today, including 63 in Lazio and 25 in Abruzzo.

    - Tarquini (gens Tarquinia) : 1059 families today, including 391 in Lazio, 283 in Abruzzo, 125 in Toscana and 109 in Marche.

    - Tulli (gens Tullia) : 593 families today, including 346 in Lazio, 85 in Marche, 64 in Umbria and 38 in Abruzzo.

    - Valeri (gens Valeria) : 2063 families today, including 756 in Lazio, 310 in Marche, 196 in Toscana and 138 in Abruzzo.

    - Vitelli (gens Vitellia) : 862 families today, including 229 in Lazio, 184 in Campania, 87 in Abruzzo and 45 in Toscana.


    What we observe is that these patrician names are found overwhelmingly in central Italy, especially in Lazio, but represent only a small part of the population today.

    And now for a few renowned Plebeian families.

    - Aureli (gens Aurelia) : 733 families, including 322 in Lazio, 129 in Marche, 87 in Emilia-Romagna, 61 in Abruzzo, 30 in Umbria and 29 in Toscana.

    - Cecili (gens Caecilia) : 125 families, including 92 in Lazio, 10 in Umbria and 8 in Marche.

    - Deci (gens Decia) : 27 families, including 22 in Lazio.

    - Domiziani (gens Domitia) : 40 families today, including 22 in Umbria, 9 in Lazio and 6 in Emilia-Romagna.

    - Emili (gens Aemilia) : 434 families today, including 177 in Lazio 77 in Marche and 73 in Umbria,

    - Flavi (gens Flavia) : 61 families today, including 36 in Lazio and 10 in Toscana.

    - Mari (gens Maria) : 2724 families today, including 576 in Lazio, 403 in Lombardia, 382 in Emilia-Romagna and 358 in Toscana.

    - Nevi (gens Naevia) : 189 families today, including 48 in Lazio, 42 in Lombardia, 38 in Umbria and 24 in Emilia-Romagna.

    - Ottavi (gens Octavia) : 359 families today, including 115 in Lazio, 68 in Marche, 66 in Umbria, 33 in Emilia-Romagna and 23 in Toscana.

    - Papi (gens Papia) : 1439 families today, including 614 in Toscana, 271 in Lazio, 403, 152 in Emilia-Romagna, 133 in Marche and 75 in Umbria.

    - Pompei (gens Pompeia) : 1356 families today, including 546 in Lazio, 223 in Marche, 140 in Abruzzo and 134 in Umbria.

    - Settimi (gens Septimia) : 373 families today, including 129 in Lazio, 100 in Umbria, 72 in Marche and 26 in Abruzzo.

    - Titi (gens Titia) : 70 families today, including 12 in Lazio, 12 in Abruzzo, 12 in Emilia-Romagna, 7 in Umbria and 6 in Toscana.

    - Ulpiani (gens Ulpia) : 28 families today, including 24 in Lazio.


    The pattern is similar, but with a stronger presence in northern Italy for some families.
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    Interesting research, keep it up.

    But keep in mind that during the 15-1600 it was fashionable to take the surname of past heroes and then tell people you belong to that line, even when it was not true.

    For example during the 1700's there were several families who had changed their name to Castriota, in order to claim the glory of Gjergj Kastrioti. Some of them were even found out that they were lying.

    It simply was a great way to gain quick glory at the time.

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Italians who carry them may not even be aware those are variations of the names of certain Roman gens. Which of their ancestors used it and for what reason is something which I don't think can be known.

    There are Curti surnames in both my mother's and father's regions, but I always thought it might be a variation of "corti" or short. I'm sure they would prefer it be a Roman gens name. :)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernekar View Post
    Interesting research, keep it up.

    But keep in mind that during the 15-1600 it was fashionable to take the surname of past heroes and then tell people you belong to that line, even when it was not true.

    For example during the 1700's there were several families who had changed their name to Castriota, in order to claim the glory of Gjergj Kastrioti. Some of them were even found out that they were lying.

    It simply was a great way to gain quick glory at the time.
    It's possible, but then we would expect a lot of Giuli and no specific concentration of ancient Roman surnames around the Latium. Besides, a lot of ancient Roman surnames are still present, even obscure ones that most ordinary people have never heard of and that would therefore not confer any particular prestige.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Italians who carry them may not even be aware those are variations of the names of certain Roman gens. Which of their ancestors used it and for what reason is something which I don't think can be known.

    There are Curti surnames in both my mother's and father's regions, but I always thought it might be a variation of "corti" or short. I'm sure they would prefer it be a Roman gens name. :)
    As I explained above, the Curti and Comini appear to be exceptions as they are much more common the northern Italy. It's either due to a migration of these families north, or to the appearance of another family with the same name. As you said, Curti could be a regional variant of Corti.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Gens Aemilia, originally Aimillia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aemilia_(gens)

    Emili:

    Rather remarkably centered on Lazio and Umbria
    http://www.gens.info/italia/it/turis...6#.XOLAnchKhPZ

    Delia is another one, but centered more on southern Italy.

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    Distribution map of my surname, cognomen of the gens Julia and Aemilia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Italians who carry them may not even be aware those are variations of the names of certain Roman gens. Which of their ancestors used it and for what reason is something which I don't think can be known.

    There are Curti surnames in both my mother's and father's regions, but I always thought it might be a variation of "corti" or short. I'm sure they would prefer it be a Roman gens name. :)
    any coincidence on names?
    Italian Curti Greek κουρτης kourtis fem kourti

    link and open map (only male phone-catalogue, for female write kourti)
    https://forebears.io/surnames/kourtis

    you can also use the -idis -adis -ides -ades ending, is more typical to Pontic Greeks
    https://forebears.io/surnames/kourtidis


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    As I explained above, the Curti and Comini appear to be exceptions as they are much more common the northern Italy. It's either due to a migration of these families north, or to the appearance of another family with the same name. As you said, Curti could be a regional variant of Corti.
    these name, I do not claim any origin or something else
    but are very common in Greek world,
    for example Curti in modern Greek is Kourtis and alternative, mostly in anatolian Greeks Kourtidis
    about more than 2700 are the male Kourtis and 1500 Kourtidis
    I use the new ISO of Greek to Latin, since that is offcial after EU laws,
    excluding the previous Erasmian ending Kourtes Kourtides Kourtedes
    https://forebears.io/surnames/kourtis
    https://forebears.io/surnames/kourtidis

    and also from the Byzantine era we have the dukes Comnenos Comnena Commenos etc
    in modern Greek ISO to Latin appear as Komninos Komminos
    more than 1600 are the male names.

    https://forebears.io/surnames/komninos


    the Italian Curti is over 10 000 in Italy (I don't know if they have different ending male and female surmnames like in Greek)
    https://forebears.io/surnames/curti

    the ratio
    in Greece is 1/4000 only for Kourtis, Kourtidis is excluded
    and in Italy the ratio for Curti is 1/5700

    the etymology may come from Mediaval Italian Curtis, the noble Feudal systems habittants
    the wall soundounding a property a corte a curta (κουρτα κουρτια is the stone wall that sourounds a yard, a sheep floak, etc)
    from the medieaval judge-comittee Corte = court
    even for the right to carry a noble's knife in belt, the corte cortela (although sounds more Spanish to me)


    offcourse as Curtis
    the biggest ratio is in England with 1/1600
    https://forebears.io/surnames/curtis
    which I do not know etymology,

    offcourse the biggest analogy is in Turkey,
    Kurt is 1/304, but means wolf, so I doupt to be connected with Medieval European names.
    https://forebears.io/surnames/kurt
    Last edited by Yetos; 21-05-19 at 01:08.

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    Which source did you use? Forebears.io gives me different numbers for most of these surnames.

    For example Papi: https://forebears.io/surnames/papi

    Tuscany - 3458
    Lazio - 1613
    Marche - 735
    Emilia-Romagna - 710
    Umbria - 358
    Lombardy - 224
    Piedmont - 155
    Liguria - 77
    Sardinia - 50
    Campania - 40
    Abruzzo - 22
    Veneto - 22

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomenable View Post
    Which source did you use? Forebears.io gives me higher numbers for most of these surnames.

    For example Papi: https://forebears.io/surnames/papi

    Tuscany - 3458
    Lazio - 1613
    Marche - 735
    Emilia-Romagna - 710
    Umbria - 358
    Lombardy - 224
    Piedmont - 155
    Liguria - 77
    Sardinia - 50
    Campania - 40
    Abruzzo - 22
    Veneto - 22

    Forebears.io has no crediblity, it's not accurate.

    Italy is one of the nations in Europe with the highest number of surnames, and many surnames are in fact shared between neighboring regions. Sometimes even between distant regions. So a surname alone is not always enough proof of someone's origin. Not to mention that today surnames from other regions are found everywhere in Italy because of internal migration and the maternal line can have different origins. It is difficult for Italians to reconstruct the origins of someone, let alone someone who was not born and raised in Italy, and has no familiarity with Italian genealogy.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I was wondering if any of the ancient Roman patrician and plebeian families still had descendants carrying their surnames today. I went to Cognomix, and searched for what the modern surnames would sound like without the -us ending. It turns out that not only most of the famous ancient surnames are still present, but the vast majority are still found in central Italy today - not just in Lazio, but also quite a lot in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo.

    Here are the Patrician families I could find. The others are probably extinct or their names became heavily corrupted.
    In my opinion they're not related, I mean they're not descendants. With the barbarian invasions the surnames disappeared in Italy and the modern Italian surnames were born only starting from the Middle Ages and only after the Council of Trento they spread again in a significant way. Except for a few rare exceptions made up of noble families of high lineage.

    If the cognomen of the Roman patrician and plebeian families are still findable in modern Italian surnames it is because of the onomastic tradition. Not of a direct descent.

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    For some surnames Forebears.io gives smaller numbers, actually:

    https://forebears.io/surnames/ostili

    https://forebears.io/surnames/orazi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomenable View Post
    For some surnames Forebears.io gives smaller numbers, actually:

    https://forebears.io/surnames/ostili

    https://forebears.io/surnames/orazi

    There is nothing strange about it, of course Italian surnames all have a different numerical distribution, some are very common and others are very rare. Some Italian surnames have even died out in the last 100 years and are found only among the descendants of Italians abroad. Other surnames, however, for various reasons are now more widespread in Italy than they were in the past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pax Augusta View Post
    There is nothing strange about it, of course Italian surnames all have a different numerical distribution, some are very common and others are very rare. Some Italian surnames have even died out in the last 100 years and are found only among the descendants of Italians abroad. Other surnames, however, for various reasons are now more widespread in Italy than they were in the past.
    My ggmother's surname (Scotto d'Ardino) is non existent in Italy. I only found a few instances, and only outside Italy among descendants of Procida immigrants. It seems it is one of those surnames which has died out? I'm also wondering why the surnames Scotto and "Scotto di …" are so prominent in Procida (Scotto is the number 1 surname there). There's a tale that says it comes from Scottish sailors who settled on the island and married local women, but it's only a tale.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by TardisBlue View Post
    My ggmother's surname (Scotto d'Ardino) is non existent in Italy. I only found a few instances, and only outside Italy among descendants of Procida immigrants. It seems it is one of those surnames which has died out? I'm also wondering why the surnames Scotto and "Scotto di …" are so prominent in Procida (Scotto is the number 1 surname there). There's a tale that says it comes from Scottish sailors who settled on the island and married local women, but it's only a tale.
    https://it.geneanet.org/search/?bdd=...Nap&region=CAM

    from Campania Italy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I was wondering if any of the ancient Roman patrician and plebeian families still had descendants carrying their surnames today. I went to Cognomix, and searched for what the modern surnames would sound like without the -us ending. It turns out that not only most of the famous ancient surnames are still present, but the vast majority are still found in central Italy today - not just in Lazio, but also quite a lot in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo.

    Here are the Patrician families I could find. The others are probably extinct or their names became heavily corrupted.

    - Aquili (gens Aquilia) : 126 families today, including 71 in Marche, 23 in Lazio and 13 in Umbria.

    - Attili (gens Atilia) : 259 families today, including 113 in Lazio, 53 in Marche, 34 in Umbria and 26 in Abruzzo.

    - Claudi (gens Claudia) : 100 families today, including 26 in Lazio, 18 in Marche and 16 in Toscana.

    - Comini (gens Cominia) : 684 families today, including 425 in Lombardia (maybe another origin or the family moved there early in Roman times), 26 in Lazio, 19 in Marche and 18 in Toscana.

    - Corneli (gens Cornelia) : 203 families today, including 40 in Umbria, 24 in Lazio, 27 in Marche and 24 in Toscana.

    - Curti (gens Curtia) : 2395 families today, including 956 in Lombardia (same as the Comini), 309 in Emilia-Romagna, 302 in Piemonte and 263 in Lazio.

    - Ermini (gens Herminia) : 791 families today, including 535 in Toscana and 97 in Lazio.

    - Fabi (gens Fabia) : 796 families today, including 437 in Lazio, 147 in Marche and 58 in Umbria.

    - Furi (gens Furia) : 65 families today, including 41 in Toscana and 8 in Lazio.

    - Giuli (gens Julia) : 379 families today, including 136 in Lazio, 57 in Toscana, 53 in Umbria and 44 in Marche.

    - Lucrezi (gens Lucretia) : 24 families today, including 9 in Umbria and 4 in Lazio.

    - Orazi (gens Horatia) : 780 families today, including 328 in Marche, 205 in Lazio and 106 in Umbria.

    - Ostili (gens Hostilia) : 65 families today, including 41 in Lazio, 12 in Umbria and 7 in Toscana.

    - Postumi (gens Postumia) : 7 families today, all in Lazio!

    - Servili (gens Servilia) : 75 families today, including 21 in Lazio, 21 in Umbria and 20 in Marche.

    - Sulpizi (gens Sulpicia) : 106 families today, including 63 in Lazio and 25 in Abruzzo.

    - Tarquini (gens Tarquinia) : 1059 families today, including 391 in Lazio, 283 in Abruzzo, 125 in Toscana and 109 in Marche.

    - Tulli (gens Tullia) : 593 families today, including 346 in Lazio, 85 in Marche, 64 in Umbria and 38 in Abruzzo.

    - Valeri (gens Valeria) : 2063 families today, including 756 in Lazio, 310 in Marche, 196 in Toscana and 138 in Abruzzo.

    - Vitelli (gens Vitellia) : 862 families today, including 229 in Lazio, 184 in Campania, 87 in Abruzzo and 45 in Toscana.


    What we observe is that these patrician names are found overwhelmingly in central Italy, especially in Lazio, but represent only a small part of the population today.

    And now for a few renowned Plebeian families.

    - Aureli (gens Aurelia) : 733 families, including 322 in Lazio, 129 in Marche, 87 in Emilia-Romagna, 61 in Abruzzo, 30 in Umbria and 29 in Toscana.

    - Cecili (gens Caecilia) : 125 families, including 92 in Lazio, 10 in Umbria and 8 in Marche.

    - Deci (gens Decia) : 27 families, including 22 in Lazio.

    - Domiziani (gens Domitia) : 40 families today, including 22 in Umbria, 9 in Lazio and 6 in Emilia-Romagna.

    - Emili (gens Aemilia) : 434 families today, including 177 in Lazio 77 in Marche and 73 in Umbria,

    - Flavi (gens Flavia) : 61 families today, including 36 in Lazio and 10 in Toscana.

    - Mari (gens Maria) : 2724 families today, including 576 in Lazio, 403 in Lombardia, 382 in Emilia-Romagna and 358 in Toscana.

    - Nevi (gens Naevia) : 189 families today, including 48 in Lazio, 42 in Lombardia, 38 in Umbria and 24 in Emilia-Romagna.

    - Ottavi (gens Octavia) : 359 families today, including 115 in Lazio, 68 in Marche, 66 in Umbria, 33 in Emilia-Romagna and 23 in Toscana.

    - Papi (gens Papia) : 1439 families today, including 614 in Toscana, 271 in Lazio, 403, 152 in Emilia-Romagna, 133 in Marche and 75 in Umbria.

    - Pompei (gens Pompeia) : 1356 families today, including 546 in Lazio, 223 in Marche, 140 in Abruzzo and 134 in Umbria.

    - Settimi (gens Septimia) : 373 families today, including 129 in Lazio, 100 in Umbria, 72 in Marche and 26 in Abruzzo.

    - Titi (gens Titia) : 70 families today, including 12 in Lazio, 12 in Abruzzo, 12 in Emilia-Romagna, 7 in Umbria and 6 in Toscana.

    - Ulpiani (gens Ulpia) : 28 families today, including 24 in Lazio.


    The pattern is similar, but with a stronger presence in northern Italy for some families.
    I think in every country there are a lot of surnames similar to the surnames of their ancestors.

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