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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

From the historical and enchanting Italian region of Tuscany emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Bonanno family. During the Middle Ages, as populations grew and travel between regions became more frequent, the people of Tuscany found it necessary to adopt a second name to identify themselves and their families. 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. Although the most common type of family name found in Tuscany is the patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, the nickname type of surname is also frequently found. Nickname surnames were derived from an eke-name, or added name. They usually reflected the physical characteristics or attributes of the first person that used the name. The surname Bonanno is a name for a fortunate person having derived from the words buon, which means good, and anno, which means year, combined to mean good year.


The surname Bonanno was first found in Pisa, where in 1130 a Bonanno was a prominent intellectual. Bonanno who was a painter, sculptor, and architect, and who is famous for the bronze doors of the Cathedral in Pisa which he finished in the 12th century. Another of his accomplishments is the leaning tower at Pisa, which he constructed with Gugliemo Tedesco in 1174.

There are many variations of most of those Italian names that originated in the medieval era. Some of these come from regional differences, like the tradition of ending northern names in "o" and southern names in "i". Others come from inaccuracies in the recording process, which were extremely common in the eras before dictionaries standardized spelling. Some of the spelling variations of Bonanno are Bonanno, Bonanni, Buonanno, Buonanni, Bonano, Bonan and many more.


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


Prominent among members of the family was Giacomo Bonanno was Baron of Canicatti, and was a famous author; Pietro Bonanno was the first Prince of Roccafiorita and was Baron of Castelmare; Giacomo Bonanno was the first Bishop of Patti, and was also Archbishop of Monreale. Rinaldo Bonanno was an...

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bonanno Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Bonanno:

Bonanno Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Angela Bonanno, aged 52, who arrived in America from Regalbuto, Italy, in 1904
  • Alfio Bonanno, aged 23, who arrived at New York from Roccella, Italy, in 1910
  • Andrea Bonanno, aged 44, who arrived in America from Messina, Italy, in 1912
  • Angela Bonanno, aged 38, who arrived in New York from Salina, Italy, in 1912
  • Alfio Bonanno, aged 24, who emigrated to America from Catania, Sicily, in 1912
  • ...

  • Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, American poet, teacher, and contributing editor to The American Poetry Review
  • Joseph Charles Bonanno Sr. (1905-2002), Sicilian-born American mafioso
  • Margaret Wander Bonanno (b. 1950), American science fiction writer, ghost writer and small press publisher
  • George A. Bonanno, American professor of clinical psychology
  • Jesse Bonanno (b. 1983), American rock singer-songwriter

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    Other References

    1. Glazier, Ira A. and P. Williams Filby Edition. Italians to America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Print.
    2. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
    3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    4. Bongioanni, Angelo. Nomi e Cognomi. Saggio di Ricerche Etimologiche e Storiche. Torino: A. Forni, 1979. Print.
    5. Stiens, Robert E. Passenger list Italy to New York 1893 In Italian Genealogist. Torrance, CA: Augustan Society No 3, 1983. Print.
    6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Print.
    7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    8. Colletta, John P. Finding Italian Roots The Complete Guide for Americans. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2003. Print.
    9. Di Crollalanza, Goffredo. Enciclopedia araldico cavalleresca Prontuario nobiliare. Pisa: Presso La Direzione Del Giorale Araldica , 1878. Print.
    10. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
    11. ...

    The Bonanno Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Bonanno 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 17 March 2015 at 21:37.

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