Cara History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

From the ancient and beautiful Italian island of Sicily emerged a variety of distinguished names, including the notable surname Cara. 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. Local names, also 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, and does not necessarily denote nobility. The Cara family lived in a town just outside Palermo, as in 1189, a member of the Caro family was the Archbishop of Monreale.

Early Origins of the Cara family

The surname Cara was first found in Sicily (Italian: Sicilia), the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Naples and the southern portion of the peninsula. Research shows that records of the Cara family date back to the year 1189 when a member of the Caro family was the Archbishop of Monreale, a town just outside Palermo.

Early History of the Cara family

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

Cara 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 Cara include Caro, Cari, Cara, De Caro, Di Caro, Di Cara, La Cara, Li Cari, Carello, Carelli, Carella, Carillo, Caretti, Caroli, Caretta, Carino, Carini, Caruccio, Carucci, Carocci, Carracci, Caricchio, Caricchia, Carollo, Carullo, Carulli, Carotti, Carone, Caroni, Carofiglio, Carofratello, Carolillo, Carotenuto and many more.

Early Notables of the Cara family (pre 1700)

Prominent among bearers of this surname in early times was Marchetto Cara (c. 1470-1525), an Italian composer, lutenist and singer of the Renaissance; Cecco del Caravaggio, a painter born in 1571 near Milan. He is most famous for his technique of "Chiaroscuro" or light and dark contrast. Some of his most famous works include The Calling of St. Matthew, and David with the Head of Goliath. Others include Gioffredo Caroli, who was the mayor of...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cara Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cara migration to the United States +

An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Cara arrived in North America very early:

Cara Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Miss Cara, who sailed to New Orleans in 1821
  • Jose Cara, aged 32, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1843 [1]
  • Manuel Cara, aged 30, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1847 [1]

New Zealand Cara migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cara Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Ms. Catherine Cara, (b. 1844), aged 30, Cornish servant departing on 10th June 1874 aboard the ship "Cathcart" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th August 1874 [2]
  • Miss Elizabeth M. Cara, (b. 1856), aged 18, Cornish factory girl departing on 10th June 1874 aboard the ship "Cathcart" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 29th August 1874 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cara (post 1700) +

  • Irene Cara (b. 1959), born Irene Cara Escalera, an American Academy Award winning and Golden Globe Award nominated singer, songwriter and actress, perhaps best known for co-writing "Flashdance... What a Feeling" and her recording of the song "Fame"
  • Ana C. Cara, American creolist, translator, and Professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College, awarded the 2007 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize
  • Joanne Cara Deakins (b. 1972), English retired female backstroke swimmer; she won a silver medal in the 1990 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal at the 1995 Summer Universiade
  • Cara McCollum (1992-2016), American journalist and a news anchor for SNJ Today, Miss New Jersey 2013
  • Cara Buono (b. 1974), American Primetime Emmy Award nominated actress, known for her roles in Let Me In (2010), Hulk (2003) and Paper Towns (2015)
  • Cara Luft (b. 1974), Canadian singer-songwriter, founding member of the Canadian folk trio The Wailin' Jennys
  • Cara Horgan, English actress that has worked in television, film, and theatre
  • Cara Fasone, American writer and producer
  • Cara Carleton "Carly" Fiorina (1954-1999), American business executive, Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005
  • Cara Tivey, English pianist/keyboardist and vocalist

  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from on Facebook
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