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Surnames and Their Origins


Italian-American Herald

CIURCO — This surname derives from the first name Giorgio, deriving from the Greek word gheorgos, which means farmer. Though surnames derived from Greece are not very common, most that do would be mostly found in Sicily and Puglia. This particular surname is one least found in records of vital statistics in either region.

CLEMENTE — This surname is derived from the first name Clemente, deriving from the Latin word clemens, meaning clement, indulgent. It is a very common surname found in all 20 Italian regions. It largest presence is in Puglia and is least present in Val d’Aosta. This surname is also very prevalent as a Spanish and Portuguese surname. Variations: CLEMENTINI, CLEMENTONI, CLEMENTUCCI, CLEMENZA, CLEMENZI:

COCCHI — This surname derives from the first name or nickname Cocco, meaning “egg” or “dear person.” There’s really no clear explanation as to whether ancestors of these present-day families with this surname were in the egg business, a very dear person or both. In any event it is present in 17 of Italy’s 20 regions. It is most present in Emilia-Romagna and least in Molise. It is not present in Val d’Aosta, Puglia, or Calabria. Variations: Cocco, Cocca.

COCCIA — This surname derives from the slang or dialect word meaning “head,” referring as a nickname to someone stubborn, with a big head or with a great intelligence, though most often attributed to the first two definitions. Many of our readers at some point in their lives heard the expression coccia tosta or were themselves actually referred to as by a parent or grandparent when not doing as they were told. Getting back to the surname itself, it is common in 19 regions, mostly present in Lazio, lest in Basilicata. For whatever reason it appears that in Val d’Aosta no had an ancestor who was a hard head. Val d’Aosta has no record of any families with this surname.

COLASANTI — This surname derives from the first name Cola, a short name for Nicola, and all its compounds. In the Colasanti form it is found in 19 regions, mostly Lazio and least in Val d’Aosta and Sicily. It is not present in Molise. The numerous variation, however, show up in all 20 regions. Variations: COLA, COLACICCO, COLAGIOVANNI, COLAIACOVO, COLAIANNI, COLAIEMMA, COLAIOCCO, COLAIUDA, COLAJANNI, COLALILLO, COLANDREA, COLANGELO, COLANTONIO, COLANTUONI, COLAPIETRO, COLASANTA, COLASANTE, COLASANTO, COLAUCCI, COLAUSSI, COLAVITA, COLAVITO, COLELLA, COLETTA, COLETTI, COLUCCI.

COLUMBO — This very popular surname derives from the word colombo, meaning dove. Colombo dominates surnames in the region of Lombardy, where it seems to derive from the painting of a dove on the walls of churches where infants were abandoned. However it is present in all thsence.eother19 regions. Abruzzo is where it has its least presence. Variations: COLOMBANI, COLOMBERA, COLOMBINI, COLOMBRINO.

COLONNA — This word derives from the word “column,” also a very ancient Roman family. The surname has survived from the days of the Roman Empire. It has a presence in all 20 regions. It is most prevalent in Puglia, least in Trentino Alto-Adige. Variations: COLONNESE.

COMPAGNO — This surname means “companion.” It is found in all 13 regions. Of the regions that record this surname in records of Vital Statistics Veneto has the most families with that surname and Basilicata the least. Variations: COMPAGNI, COMPAGNINI, COMPAGNO, COMPAGNONI, COMPAGNUCCI.

Next month our surname column will be dedicated to Valentine’s Day.

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