Bonifati History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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The distinguished surname Bonifati 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 Bonifati 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 Bonifati family
The surname Bonifati 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.
Important Dates for the Bonifati family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bonifati research. More information is included under the topic Early Bonifati History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bonifati 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 Bonifati. These spelling variations include Bonifaci, Bonifacio, Bonifacci, Bonifazio, Bonifazi, Bonifazzi, Bonifati, Bonifacino, Bonfatti and many more.
Early Notables of the Bonifati 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 Bonifacio...
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Bonifati migration to the United States
A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Bonifati:
Bonifati Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Antonio Bonifati, aged 27, who settled in America from Sarno, in 1893
Bonifati Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Antonio Bonifati, aged 28, who landed in America from Castrovillari, in 1902
- Giuseppe Bonifati, aged 21, who immigrated to the United States from Castrovillari, in 1904
- Vincenzo Bonifati, aged 27, who landed in America from Castrovillari, in 1905
- Giovanni Bonifati, aged 18, who settled in America from Castrovillari, in 1905
- Augusto Bonifati, aged 21, who arrived in America from Merola, Italy, in 1906
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)