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

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

From the ancient and picturesque Italian region of Venice emerged a variety of distinguished names, including the notable surname Fortis. Although people were originally known only by a single name, it became necessary for people to adopt 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 Venice 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 Fortis family lived in Ferrara, one of the more prosperous cities at this early time. Records are found in 1322, when the Fortiboni family moved from Ferrara to Cesena.

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In comparison with other European surnames, Italian surnames have a surprising number of forms. They reflect the regional variations and the many dialects of the Italian language, each with its own distinctive features. For example, in Northern Italy the typical Italian surname suffix is "i", whereas in Southern Italy it is "o". Additionally, spelling changes frequently occurred because medieval scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded rather than according to any specific spelling rules. The spelling variations in the name Fortis include Forti, Forte, Fort, Fortis, Lo Forte, Fortezza, Fortiboni, Fortini, Fortino, Fortin, Forteguerri and many more.

First found in Ferrara, a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. History dates the city back to 753. Records are found in 1322, when the Fortiboni family moved from Ferrara to Cesena.


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

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Another 399 words(28 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fortis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Fortis:

Fortis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Celestino Fortis, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1893

Fortis Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Nicola Fortis, aged 28, who emigrated to the United States, in 1902
  • Maria Fortis, aged 2, who landed in America from Turi, Italy, in 1913
  • Helena Fortis, aged 37, who settled in America, in 1921
  • Vassilios Fortis, aged 60, who settled in America, in 1923

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  1. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
  2. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial Général by J.B. Rietstap. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today, 1967. Print. (ISBN 0-0900455-209).
  3. Bongioanni, Angelo. Nomi e Cognomi. Saggio di Ricerche Etimologiche e Storiche. Torino: A. Forni, 1979. Print.
  4. Di Crollalanza, Goffredo. Enciclopedia araldico cavalleresca Prontuario nobiliare. Pisa: Presso La Direzione Del Giorale Araldica , 1878. Print.
  5. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  6. Stiens, Robert E. Passenger list Italy to New York 1893 In Italian Genealogist. Torrance, CA: Augustan Society No 3, 1983. Print.
  7. Di Crollalanza, G.B. Dizionario Storico-Blasonico Delle Famiglie Nobili e Notabili Italiane 3 volumes. Pisa. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. Finding Italian Roots The Complete Guide for Americans. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2003. Print.
  9. Glazier, Ira A. and P. Williams Filby Edition. Italians to America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Print.
  10. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
  11. ...

The Fortis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Fortis 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 25 May 2012 at 09:08.

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