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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: French, Italian


The distinguished surname Durso 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. 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. 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 Durso came from the name Orso, which is derived from the Latin name Ursus, meaning bear.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Orsi, Orso, Ursi, Urso, Dorso, Ursich, Ursic, Orselli, Orsetti, Orsatti, Ursini, Ursino, Orsoni and many more.

First found in Forli (Latin: Forum Livii), a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, capital of the province of Forli-Cesena. The Church of S. Mercuriale is notable. In those ancient times only persons of rank, the podesta, clergy, city officials, army officers, artists, landowners were entered into the records. To be recorded at this time was in itself a family honor.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Durso research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1520, 1725, 1328, 1598, 1650 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Durso History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Durso Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Juanni Francesco Orsi, who was naturalized in Mississippi in 1891.

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  • Joe Durso (b. 1955), American handball player
  • Joseph P. Durso (1924-2004), American sportswriter
  • Robert Durso (b. 1959), Italian-American pianist
  • Michael R. Durso, American politician, Member of Illinois State House of Representatives 29th District, 1923-33
  • Martin J. D'Urso, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 7th District, 1998
  • Leonard Michael Durso, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Rio de Janeiro, 1945
  • Kimberly E. Durso, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 2008
  • Joseph D. D'Urso, American politician, Representative from Michigan 10th District, 1976
  • John R. Durso, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 2008
  • Frank A. Durso, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Connecticut, 1956

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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Stiens, Robert E. Passenger list Italy to New York 1893 In Italian Genealogist. Torrance, CA: Augustan Society No 3, 1983. Print.
  3. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Di Crollalanza, G.B. Dizionario Storico-Blasonico Delle Famiglie Nobili e Notabili Italiane 3 volumes. Pisa. Print.
  5. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial Général by J.B. Rietstap. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today, 1967. Print. (ISBN 0-0900455-209).
  6. Bongioanni, Angelo. Nomi e Cognomi. Saggio di Ricerche Etimologiche e Storiche. Torino: A. Forni, 1979. Print.
  7. Glazier, Ira A. and P. Williams Filby Edition. Italians to America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Print.
  8. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Print.
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This page was last modified on 26 March 2016 at 17:14.

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