Show ContentsCancilla History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Tuscany, one of the oldest and most beautiful island regions of Italy, is the esteemed birthplace of numerous prominent families, including the family that bears the surname Cancilla. 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; 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 common type of family name found in Tuscany is the patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, names derived from occupations are also found. Occupational surnames, which are less common that other types of surnames in Italy, date back to the feudal era. However, under the Feudal System, occupational names did not become hereditary until the offices themselves became hereditary. It was only after an occupation was inherited by several generations in lineal descent, that occupational names came to be applied to entire families, and so became a hereditary surname. The surname Cancilla is a name for a person who first held the position of Chancellor. Checking further we found the name was derived from the Italian word cancelliero which translates to chancellor.

Early Origins of the Cancilla family

The surname Cancilla was first found in Tuscany (Italian: Toscana), a region in central Italy, where Pietro del Porcone Cancellieri held the position of Chancellor of the Frankish Kingdom in 1171. Cialdo Cancellieri, was the mayor of Pistoia in 1256. Diego Cancellieri was a brave knight in Pisa in the 13th century; Vanni Cancellieri, also known as "Foccaccia," was active in politics in Pistoia at this time; Ricciardo di Lazzaro Cancellieri was mayor of Perugia in 1333, and in 1378 became General Captain for the armies of the powerful Estensi ruling family. Bartolomeo Cancellieri was a knight in Pistoia during the next century; Bartolomeo Cancellieri became mayor of Bologna and, later, was a judge in Abruzzo.

Early History of the Cancilla family

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

Cancilla Spelling Variations

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 Cancilla include Cancilla, Cancelliere, Cancellieri, Cancelli, Cancella, Cancello, Cancillo, Cancellotti, Cancellosi and many more.

Early Notables of the Cancilla family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the family was Pietro Cancellieri, Bishop of Lipari during the 15th century; and Chiaretto Costanzo Cancellieri of Pisa, prominent philosopher and intellectual during the 15th century. Pietro de'Trieste Cancellieri...
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Migration of the Cancilla family

In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Cancilla were found: Andrew Cancellierre, who was Naturalized in Mississippi in 1892, in Guisseppe Cancillo, who arrived in Indiana prior to 1907.

Contemporary Notables of the name Cancilla (post 1700) +

  • Elaine Cancilla Orbach (1940-2009), known professionally as Elaine Cancilla, an American stage and musical theatre actress and dancer
  • Elaine Cancilla Orbach (1940-2009), American stage and musical theatre actress and dancer on Facebook