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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Italian Donato family come from? What is the Italian Donato family crest and coat of arms? When did the Donato family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Donato family history?

The distinguished surname Donato originated in an area of Italy, known as the Papal States. Although people were originally known only by a single name, it became necessary for people to adapt a second name to identify themselves as populations grew and travel became more frequent. The process of adopting fixed hereditary surnames was not complete until the modern era, but the use of hereditary family names in Italy began in the 10th and 11th centuries. Italian hereditary surnames were developed according to fairly general principles and they are characterized by a profusion of derivatives coined from given names. Although the most traditional type of family name found in the region of the Papal States is the patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, local surnames are also found. Local names, which are the least frequent of the major types of surnames found in Italy, are derived from a place-name where the original bearer once resided or held land. Often Italian local surnames bore the prefix "di," which signifies emigration from one place to another, but does not necessarily denote nobility. The Donato family lived in the city of Assisi in 1160.

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Italian surnames come in far more variations than the names of most other nationalities. Regional traditions and dialects are a decisive factor in this characteristic. For example, northern names tend to end in "o", while southern in "i". Also important, but not unique to Italy, was the fact that before dictionaries and the printing press most scribes simply spelled words according to their sounds. The predictable result was an enormous number of spelling variations. The recorded spellings of Donato include Donato, Donati, Dona, De Donato, De Dona, Di Donato, Donatelli, Donatello, Donatini, Donadini, Donatoni, Donadoni and many more.

First found in the region of Umbria, where earliest records show that a Donato lived in the city of Assisi in 1160 and was of the Guelph faction.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donato research. More information is included under the topic Early Donato History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 307 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donato Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Donato or a variant listed above:

Donato Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Jose Donato, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1860
  • Angelantonio Donato, aged 34, who landed in America from Guingliano, in 1895

Donato Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Angela Donato, aged 58, who emigrated to the United States from Castrovillari, Italy, in 1902
  • Alberto Donato, aged 16, who landed in America from Poutyrande, Italy, in 1907
  • Alfonso Donato, aged 16, who emigrated to the United States from Pianopoli, Italy, in 1909
  • Alfonso Donato, aged 16, who landed in America from Pionopoli, Catanzaro, Italy, in 1909
  • Adelina Donato, aged 16, who landed in America from Italy, in 1911


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  • Edward Paul "Ted" Donato (b. 1969), American retired NHL ice hockey player
  • Pedro Di Donato (1911-1992), American writer, one of the most celebrated Italian American novelists of the mid-20th century
  • Fabrizio Donato (b. 1976), Italian two-time gold medalist long jumper
  • Andy Donato (b. 1937), Canadian editorial cartoonist for the Toronto Sun newspaper
  • Guy Donato (b. 1941), Filipino actor
  • Marc Donato (b. 1989), Canadian actor


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Donato Armorial History With Coat of Arms
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Donato Coat of Arms/Family Crest Key-chain
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Donato Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms
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  1. Fucilla, Josheph G. Our Italian Surnames. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0806311878).
  2. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Print.
  3. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
  4. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. Finding Italian Roots The Complete Guide for Americans. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2003. Print.
  7. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Battilana, Natale, Ed. Genealogie Dello Famiglie Nobili di Genova. Genova: Fratelli Pagano, 1825. Print.
  10. Glazier, Ira A. and P. Williams Filby Edition. Italians to America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Print.
  11. ...

The Donato Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Donato Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 April 2014 at 19:00.

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