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Surnames and Their Origins


Italian-American Herald

This month our Italian surname feature will begin its coverage of surnames beginning with the letter “D.”

In doing the research that is required to put this feature together, I discovered that a very large number of the “D” surnames are related to the Italian word ponte, which in Italian means “bridge.” Surnames related to this word are clearly toponymic surnames, to indicate a family living nearby a bridge or coming from a place called Ponte. A great many small places in Italy have a name starting with the word Ponte, Ponti, and there are also localities called Ponticello, Ponticelli, Pontone, Pontoni. Getting back to the Ds, there surnames related to ponte, which I have researched.

DA PONTE — This surname is rare with 120 listings widespread over Italy in the various regional Italian white pages. This means most families are unconnected or unrelated. The spread ranges over 42 different comuni in Abruzzo, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardia, Liguria, Marche, Puglia, Toscana, Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto. In addition to the surname Da Ponte the variations Deponte and Diponte appear in the United States white pages phone listings as one word. Ellis Island has a record of 91 arrivals for Da Ponte immigrants. However these 91 arrivals came mostly from St. Michael’s in Portugal. Variations: De Ponte, Di Ponte.

DAL PONTE — The surname is rare with140 listings in regional Italian white pages and localized mostly in northern Italy, exactly in the regions of Veneto and Piedmont. In all this surname appears in 62 different comuni. On Ellis Island 58 arrivals for Dal Ponte immigrants are recorded, coming mostly Salcedo and Lusiano from the province of Vicenza in Tuscany.

DEL PONTE — The surname appears in Italy with about 500 listings in regional Italian white pages, mostly in Piedmont, Liguria, Friuli and Abruzzo. Del Ponte appears in the United States with 180 white page listings, mostly spelled as one word, Delponte or DelPonte. Ellis Island recorded 77 arrivals for Del Ponte immigrants, coming mostly from Southern Italy.

When the letter “A” was being featured we listed the surname Adamo which derived from the Hebrew word adam which means man. As a first name “Adamo” was widespread in the Middle Ages. It is therefore classified as a patronimic surname. A “D” surname that derives from the name “Adamo” D’Adamo.

D’ADAMO — The surname D’Adamo appears in Italy with over 1,000 listings. On Ellis Island 290 arrivals for D’Adamo immigrants are recorded, coming mostly from Southern Italy. As has historically happened on Ellis Island spelling often underwent changes. In the United States many families with the surname D’Adamo now found their records listing them as Adamo roughly 900 in number or Dadamo roughly four in number. Today the actual surname spelled as D’Adamo appears in the United States’ white pages with over 100 listings, in Canada’s white pages with 37 listings, in Argentina white pages with about a dozen listings. Ellis Island recorded 290 arrivals for D’Adamo immigrants, coming mostly from Southern Italy.

In the next issue we will continue with surnames beginning with the letter D. 

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