The distinguished surname Bonfatti can be traced back to the ancient and beautiful region of Sicily
, which is located off Southwestern Italy and incorporates the island of Sicily
itself, the area of Naples, and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. 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 were characterized by a profusion of derivatives coined from given names. The most common type of family name found in the region of Sicily
is the patronymic
surname, which is derived from the father's given name. During the Middle Ages, Italians adopted the patronymic system of name-making because it perfectly complemented the prevailing Feudal
System. In Italy the popularity of patronymic type of surname is also due to the fact that during the Christian era, people often named their children after saints and biblical figures. The surname Bonfatti was derived from the baptismal name which means the "good, faithful man." As the naming tradition grew in Europe baptismal names began to be introduced in many countries. Baptismal names were sometimes given in honor of Christian saints and other biblical figures. There are very few Christian countries in Europe that did not adopt surnames from these religious figures.
Early Origins of the Bonfatti family
The surname Bonfatti was first found in the city of Messina, where early records show Matteo Bonifacio was a lawyer, a judge and was Baron
of Casale. His brother Nicolo Bonifacio was senator of Messina around 1450.
Early History of the Bonfatti family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonfatti research. More information is included under the topic Early Bonfatti History in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Bonfatti Spelling Variations
Italian surnames have a surprising number of forms in comparison with other European surnames because they reflect the regional variations and the many dialects of the Italian language, each of which has its distinctive features. For example, in Northern Italy the most standard Italian surname suffix is "I", whereas in Southern Italy the most typical surname suffix is "O". Sardinian is very different from other forms of Italian and in fact, it is considered to be its own distinct language. Additionally, spelling changes frequently occurred because medieval scribes, church officials, and the bearers of names, spelled names as they sounded rather than according to any specific spelling rules. As a consequence of the major changes in the Italian language and in the local
spellings of Italian surnames that occurred over the course of history, there are numerous variations for the surname Bonfatti. These spelling variations
include Bonifaci, Bonifacio, Bonifacci, Bonifazio, Bonifazi, Bonifazzi, Bonifati, Bonifacino, Bonfatti and many more.
Early Notables of the Bonfatti family (pre 1700)
Prominent among bearers of this surname in early times was Roberto Bonifacio, a castleowner and member of the nobility in Naples around 1465; Giovanni Bernardino Bonifacio was a nobleman and a very famous author in 1517; Natale Bonifacio was an artist who specialized in engravings around 1535; Natale's twin brother Francesco... Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonfatti Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Bonfatti family to the New World and Oceana
A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Bonfatti: Antonius Boniface, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1820 at the age of 34.