Show ContentsDonato History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Donato originated in an area of Italy, known as the Papal States. 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, 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 are characterized by a profusion of derivatives coined from given names. Although the most traditional type of family name found in the region of the Papal States is the patronymic surname, which is derived from the father's given name, local surnames are also found. Local names, which are the least frequent of the major types of surnames 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, but does not necessarily denote nobility. The Donato family lived in the city of Assisi in 1160.

Early Origins of the Donato family

The surname Donato was first found in the region of Umbria, where earliest records show that a Donato lived in the city of Assisi in 1160 and was of the Guelph faction.

Early History of the Donato family

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

Donato 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 Donato include Donato, Donati, Dona, De Donato, De Dona, Di Donato, Donatelli, Donatello, Donatini, Donadini, Donatoni, Donadoni and many more.

Early Notables of the Donato family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the family was Corso Donati, involved in the Florentine government during the 13th century, who was considered to be one of the most popular and reformist politicians for 25 years. Simone Donati of Florence was an outspoken members of the Guelph faction in Florence at this time; Amerigo Donati was a soldier in Florence; Alamanno Donati, born in Florence in 1458, became a prominent poet; Clemente Donati was a publisher in Urbino during the 15th century; Tommaso...
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Donato Ranking

In the United States, the name Donato is the 4,650th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [1]

United States Donato migration to the United States +

Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Donato or a variant listed above:

Donato Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jose Donato, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1860 [2]
  • Angelantonio Donato, aged 34, who landed in America from Guingliano, in 1895
Donato Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Angela Donato, aged 58, who immigrated to the United States from Castrovillari, Italy, in 1902
  • Alberto Donato, aged 16, who landed in America from Poutyrande, Italy, in 1907
  • Alfonso Donato, aged 16, who immigrated to the United States from Pianopoli, Italy, in 1909
  • Alfonso Donato, aged 16, who landed in America from Pionopoli, Catanzaro, Italy, in 1909
  • Adelina Donato, aged 16, who landed in America from Italy, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Donato (post 1700) +

  • Gaetano Aldo "Thomas" Donato (1940-2015), Italian American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey
  • Ryan Donato (b. 1996), American ice hockey center, son of Ted Donato
  • Edward Paul "Ted" Donato (b. 1969), retired American NHL ice hockey player
  • Eugenio Donato (1937-1983), Armenian-Italian deconstructionist, literary critic, and philosophical critic
  • Fabrizio Donato (b. 1976), Italian two-time gold medalist long jumper
  • Marc Donato (b. 1989), Canadian actor, best known for his role as Derek Haig on Degrassi: The Next Generation
  • Guy Donato (b. 1941), Filipino actor
  • Andy Donato (b. 1937), Canadian editorial cartoonist for the Toronto Sun newspaper
  • Donato Manfroi (1940-2022), Italian politician, Member of the Senate of the Republic of Italy (1992-2001)
  • Donato Francisco Mattera (1935-2022), better known as Don Mattera, a South African poet and author

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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) on Facebook