Tuscany. 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 Tuscany 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 Fontanari family lived in Bologna. Earliest records of this lineage date back to the year 483, when Egidio Fontana helped with the constitution of the new Venetian Republic.
Early Origins of the Fontanari family
Emilia-Romagna Region where the surname is derived from the Late Latin word "fontana," meaning "spring" or "well." It is quite likely that the first bearer of this name lived near such a place.
Early History of the Fontanari family
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Fontanari Spelling Variations
In comparison with other European surnames, Italian surnames have a surprising number of forms. They reflect the regional variations and the many dialects of the Italian language, each with its own distinctive features. For example, in Northern Italy the typical Italian surname suffix is "i", whereas in Southern Italy it is "o". Additionally, spelling changes frequently occurred because medieval scribes and church officials often spelled names as they sounded rather than according to any specific spelling rules. The spelling variations in the name Fontanari include Fontana, Fontani, Fontanella, Fontanelli, Fontanino, Fontanini, Fontanin, Fontanotti, Fontanot, Fontanazzi, Fontanari and many more.
Early Notables of the Fontanari family (pre 1700)
Prominent among members of the family was Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614), an Italian painter, regarded as the first woman artist; Giovanni Battista Fontana (1524-1587), an Italian painter and engraver; Prospero Fontana, a painter in Bologna around 1520 who worked much of his life in Rome; Count Alfonso Fontana, a 16th century composer...
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Migration of the Fontanari family to the New World and Oceana
An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Fontanari: Eugenia Fontana, who arrived in Providence, RI in 1867, Dominique Fontana, who was on record in Missouri in 1844, J Fontana, who arrived in San Francisco in 1851, and John Fontana, recorded in Charlottetown, in the Prince Edward Island census of 1891..
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