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  • Mary Ann Dailey

Surnames in Pacentro

Pacentrani frequently referred to each other by their clan or nickname (soprannome) rather than their family surname. At times, official documents were recorded with a villager’s surname plus his nickname or simply his nickname (alias Bartocchia). The following are examples of some common soprannomi (surnames are in italics) uncovered on civil and ecclesiastic documents: Bartocchia Cercone, Marinaccia Cercone, Mastredatte Cercone, Peperato Lucci, Casale Lucci, Amechizze Silvestri, Cacchiarelle Silvestri, Pescine Silvestri, and Pezzotte Silvestri. Each of these soprannomi differentiated individual family members within a clan. It should be noted that all documents contain the maiden names of all female villagers, as a woman did not take the surname of her spouse. All progeny bore the surname of the father, unless a child was born out-of-wedlock and the father’s identity was not revealed, then the child was given the surname of the mother. If a child was abandoned, then a contrived surname was recorded on the birth document and the word ‘ignoti’ (unknown) was listed for the parents’ names. In this latter instance, tracing a lineage is usually impossible.


Photo by Mary Ann Dailey:

The Chiesa di San Marcello, the oldest church in the village of Pacentro.

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