Fourteenth Century Venetian Personal Names

by Arval Benicoeur (Josh Mittleman, and
Talan Gwynek (Brian M. Scott,
October 1999

© 1999 by Brian M. Scott and Joshua Mittleman; all rights reserved.

Table of Surnames

We have traced the origin of as many of these names as we could. Some surnames have multiple origins, and we do not have enough Venetian sources to know which are most likely in that region. The translations and origins given below are our best guesses, mostly based on De Felice, Fucilla, and McKee. Typically Venetian names are listed in bold face.

ab Aqua locative, Latin 'from the water'; perhaps for the Italian Dell'Acqua
Alberti patronymic, from Alberto
Alberto patronymic
Aliprando patronymic
Angelo patronymic
Antelini probably patronymic. There is a place Antella in Tuscany, but it's not a likely source for this name.
Antonio patronymic
Badoer McKee has three instances of a surname Baduario, two of them dukes of Crete.
Balbi patronymic
Barbarigo probably patronymic from a diminutive of Barbaro [De Felice, Cognomi]. On the other hand, Fucilla suggests it is a place name. The -igo suffix is typically Venetian.
Barbaro patronymic
Barberigo cf. Barbarigo.
Barbo descriptive, origin uncertain. Fucilla, p.51, suggests that the most common origin is a northern word for 'uncle', but notes that it could also derive from barba 'beard' or or balbo 'stutterer'. McKee has Barbo as both a given name and byname.
Barozzi patronymic, or possibly metonymic. De Felice derives it from the given name Baro via the diminutive Barozzo. Fucilla suggests a derivation from a northern word for 'cart'.
Baseggio patronymic from a Venetian diminutive of Basile
Basilio patronymic
Berberio perhaps patronymic from another variant of Barbaro
Bertaldo patronymic. McKee has Bertoldus
Boccassio patronymic from a diminutive of Bocca. McKee has Bocasso.
Boccono patronymic from a diminutive of Bocca
Bollani possibly patronymic from Iacobollo
Bon patronymic from a Venetian form of Bono
Bondemiro probably patronymic
Bonifati patronymic from Bonifacio
Bono patronymic
Bragadin patronymic; McKee has the given name Bragadino.
Bredani probably locative from breda 'grassy field'
Buscharino locative or descriptive from busco, a variant of bosco 'woods'; hence 'rustic'.
Buticularo occupational, 'butler', from Latin buticularius [5]. McKee has buticlarius and butiglarius.
Calderario occupational, 'cauldron-maker'. McKee has Calderero.
Cancharello occupational, 'chancellor'. McKee has cancellarius and Çancarolo, Çancharole.
Cappello metonymic, 'hat'
Caravello descriptive, from a word meaning 'brain'. Often used for a foolish or thoughtless person, according to Fucilla, p.179. Apparently a common Venetian surname, judging from McKee.
Caresini There is a place Caresana in Piedmont, but it is not obviously the source of this surname.
Carrara locative, from a village near Padua. The surname was borne by the lords of Padua in the 14th century.
Chavalerio occupational or descriptive, 'knight, horseman'
Chodeschino possibly a descriptive analogous to Cobiancho 'white head' or Codagnello 'sheep's head'.
Cimator occupational, 'cloth-shearer' [3].
Cocco patronymic, Cocco is a pet form of Francesco via Francescoccio
Collegario apparently occupational, perhaps from Italian collegare 'bind, connect, unite', or Latin collegar 'bandage'.
Contarini locative, from Contarina, 25 miles S of Venice
Corner perhaps occupational from corno 'horn'. Judging from McKee's listing, this was a common Venetian surname. She has it also as Cornario.
Correr perhaps occupational from a form of corriero 'runner, courier'
d'Armano patronymic
d'Artusio patronymic; Artusio is an Italian form of Arthur
D'Este locative 'from Este'. The name of an important Venetian family.
da Barleto locative.
da Bologna locative. Bologna is about 90 miles SSW of Venice.
da Brabante locative. Probably based on the province of Brabant in the Low Countries.
da Canal locative, 'from the canal'. The second most common surname in Venice.
da Carrara See Carrara above.
da Cernia locative, probably based on some Slovenian or Croatian placename. De Felice, Cognomi, s.n. Cerne, derives that surname from Slovene {c^}rn or Croat crn or crnac 'black'.
da Chioggia locative, from a seaport on an Island in the Venetian lagoon.
da Cimento locative
da Cola apparently locative
da Ferrara locative. Ferrara is 50 miles SSW of Venice.
da Firenze locative, 'from Florence'.
da Forli locative. Forli is 80 miles S of Venice.
da Frixaturo locative
da Lucca locative. Lucca is 40 miles W of Florence
da Milano locative, 'from Milan'.
da Molin locative, 'from the mill' or from a place called Molin
da Monte locative, 'from the hill, mountain'.
da Mosto locative. There is a modern Torre di Mosto near Venice.
da Munego locative. McKee has Munega.
da Mutina locative. Mutina is an older form of Modena, which is in Emilia-Romagna, about 80 miles SW of Venice [Getty Thesaurus]
da Negroponte locative. Negroponte is an Italian name for the island of Evvoia, Greece [Getty Thesaurus]
da Padova locative. Padova or Padua is 30 miles W of Venice.
da Parma locative. Parma is 110 WSW of Venice.
da Peraga locative. There are several places Peregallo, Peragal, etc. in Lombardy, Piedmont, and Liguria.
Da Polenta locative. Fucilla mentions such a place.
da Quaterno locative
da Raguso locative. Ragusa is the Italian name for Dubrovnic in Croatia.
da Riva locative, 'from the shore, bank'. There are several Italian places of this name.
da Sabardia locative
da Segna locative. Segna is an Italian name for Senj, Croatia, about 115 ESE of Venice [Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names]
da Treviso locative. Treviso is a city 20 miles NNW of Venice. McKee has Trevisano, Trivisano, Trivixano, Trivisio, Trivixio.
da Valaseno locative
da Vale locative, 'from the valley'
da Venzone locative. Venzone is in Udine, about 60 miles NNE of Venice.
Da Verardo apparently locative
   da Verardo
da Verona locative. Verona is 60 miles W of Venice.
da Vicenza locative. Vicenza is 40 miles W of Venice.
da Vigonovo locative. Vigonovo is 10 miles W of Venice.
da Ziliolo apparently locative
Dal Sol locative, perhaps 'from the clearing'
dalla Stava locative
dalle Boccole locative. Literally 'from the buckles or ear-rings'; possibly for a man who lives near a buckle-maker.
Damiani patronymic
Dandolo One instance recorded in the 16th century
de Buora probably patronymic
de Mezzo probably patronymic, perhaps from a pet form of a name like Bartolomeo via Meo [De Felice Cognomi s.n. Meo]
della Cava locative, 'from the quarry'.
Della Scalla locative, 'from the staircase or terrace'. The surname of the rulers of Verona through most of the 14th century.
Dente descriptive, 'tooth'
Desiderato patronymic
di Leonardo patronymic
Di Pigli perhaps a patronymic based on an occupational. di is normally combined with a given name to create a patronymic. Pigli might derive from a verb that means 'take, catch, seize'.
Dolfin patronymic, from a pet form of some name like Adolfo, Gandolfo, etc.
Donà patronymic, from a Venetian form of Donato
Doro patronymic, from a pet form of Teodoro, Isidoro, Polidoro, etc.
Emo patronymic, from a pet form of Ademaro via Ademo
Enzignerio apparently occupational
Faber occupational, 'smith'. Possibly Latin. The Venetian form may have been Fabri, Fabris, Favri, Favro, etc.
Falier apparently occupational. Marin Falier was doge 1354-55 [4].
Fanutio probably patronymic, from a diminutive of Fano or Fanio, pet forms of Stefano, Epifano, or some similar name.
Foscari patronymic, from Fosco. Borne by an important Venetian family from the 11th century.
Francesco patronymic
Furlano ethnic, from the Venetian word for 'person from Friuli'
Galinarion occupational or descriptive. Gallinaro is a dialect word for 'chicken'. The final n marks this as a Venetian form.
Gamba descriptive, 'leg'; possibly patronymic
Garzone possibly patronymic from an augmentative form of Garzia
Girardo patronymic
Giustinian patronymic. The final n marks this a Venetian form.
Gonzago perhaps locative from the village of Gonzaga, between Mantua and Reggio.
Gradenigo locative [Fucilla, p.31]. In the form Gradonico, it is quite common in McKee.
Graffaro probably occupational 'registrar', from Latin grapharius [5]
Grassi descriptive, 'fat, stout'
Greco ethnic, 'Greek', used literally but also figuratively for someone from Naples or a Greek-speaking area, and also to mean 'clever', 'insincere', or 'deceitful'.
Grissoni descriptive, from a Friuliano word for 'louse' or from a word for 'grey'; but possibly locative from Grisan in Switzerland
Karelo possibly patronymic from Domenicarelli
Loredan possibly locative, from Loreo, 20 miles S of Venice. The final n marks this as a typical Venetian name. Pietro Loredan was a 15th century Venetian nobleman and admiral [4].
Malipiero patronymic. The name is a compound of Marini and Piero, with the r shifting to l [De Felice Cognomi s.n. Marini]
Marano perhaps locative from the Friuliano Maran 'town square' or from the village of Marano on one of the Venetian islands [4]; but perhaps also ethnic for a Jew.
Marcella metronymic
Marcello patronymic
Mare perhaps locative 'sea'
Marino patronymic
Memo patronymic, from a Venetian pet form of Guglielmo
Menegi patronymic, from a Venetian pet form of Domenico
Michiel patronymic, from a Venetian pet form of Michele. The Michiel family was one of the major families of Venice.
Mocenigo locative [Fucilla, p.31]. Tommaso Mocenigo was an admiral in the late 14th century and doge in the early 15th [4].
Molin locative, from a Venetian word for 'mill'
Moro patronymic
Morosini patronymic. The name Morosino Morosini is in our data. The name was borne by a noble family that provided four doges [4].
Muxe possibly patronymic from a variant of Muzo, a pet form of Giacomo via Giacomuzzo
Nani patronymic, from a pet form of Giovanni; or descriptive from nano 'dwarf'.
Natale patronymic
Paolo patronymic
Papacizza probably patronymic, either from a diminutive form of Papa or from a pet form of Iacopo via Papo.
Paradiso probably patronymic
Pasqualigo patronymic, from a Venetian form of Pasquale. A common surname in McKee.
Paxe patronymic, from a northern form of Pace
Petri patronymic
Pisani ethnic, from Pisano 'man from Pisa'
Polani possibly locative, from Polana Maggiore, 30 miles W of Venice, or more likely from Pola or Pula, a Croatian port ruled by Venice [4].
Premarin descriptive or perhaps patronymic derived from a descriptive. Fucilla, p.62, says this is a typically Venetian compound Pre + Marin 'Father Marin'. This sort of nickname could have been given to a man who behaved like a priest -- or just the opposite!
Priuli descriptive, from a Venetian word for 'prior'
Querini perhaps locative from Quero, a place not far from Venice. The Querini brothers took part in a failed conspiracy against the Venetian government in 1310 [4]. McKee has Quirino, Quirin.
Rambaldo patronymic
Rizo descriptive, a variant of Rizzo 'curly-haired'
Rosso patronymic form the given name Rosso, or descriptive from rosso 'red'
Sanuto descriptive from a Venetian form of zanna 'fang, tusk'
Sartor occupational, 'tailor'.
Sartore occupational, from a word for 'tailor'
Simoneti patronymic, from a diminutive of Simone
Solario Locative of uncertain origin. Possibly from one of several places Solaro, or from words meaning 'an open field exposed to the sun' or 'house with an attic'.
Soranzo descriptive or patronymic, a shortened form of Superanzo or Superancio 'excellent, superabundant', also used as a given name.
Sorto perhaps descriptive, related to sordo 'deaf'
Stornado probably descriptive, perhaps related to Stornello, below.
Stornello descriptive, from a form of storno 'starling'
Taiapetra a form of Ta(g)liapietra, literally 'cut stone', for a stonecutter or sculptor [Fucilla, p.56].
Tartare ethnic or descriptive, 'Eastern European', 'non-Christian', 'non-European', hence 'barbarian'.
Thadei patronymic
Tiepolo Baiamonte Tiepolo took part in a failed conspiracy against the Venetian government in 1310 [4].
Tomado patronymic, from a form of Tommaso
Torta descriptive, 'crooked, twisted, squinting, bowlegged'
Trevisan locative, from Treviso, a city 20 miles NNW of Venice.
Tuloni, Tulon
Turri locative, from torre 'tower'. Possibly also patronymic form a pet form of Salvatore or Bonaventura.
Utino perhaps patronymic from a pet form of Benvenuto
Venier patronymic from a Venetian form of Venerio. One of Venice's important noble families bore this surname from the 11th century.
Vidal patronymic. This derivative of Latin Vitellus is more common in southern France than Italy.
Viscia perhaps descriptive from visco 'bishop'
Visconti descriptiove from visconte 'viscount'. Our example, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, was Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia.
Vitturi probably patronymic from Vittorio
Volpe descriptive or patronymic, from volpe 'fox' or from the given name Volpe
Zancani descriptive, probably from the Venetian zanca 'crooked, deformed'; but perhaps zanca 'leg', or zanco 'left-handed'.
Zane patronymic, from a a Venetian form of Gianni, a pet form of Giovanni
Zen patronymic, from a Venetian shortening of Zeno
Zeno patronymic
Zentil patronymic, from a Venetian form of Gentile
Zorzi patronymic, from a Venetian form of Giorgio
Zusto patronymic, from a Venetian form of Giusto

Published by Arval Benicoeur

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