From the ancient and beautiful Italian island of Sicily
emerged a variety of distinguished names, including the notable surname Gelli. 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. Although the most traditional type of family name found in the region of Sicily
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, and does not necessarily denote nobility. The Gelli family lived in the Sicily
area for many years.
Early Origins of the Gelli family
The surname Gelli was first found in Sicily
(Italian: Sicilia), the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea in the 12th century, when Riccardo d'Aiello was an attendant of King Tancredi. Riccardo was also a Count in Salerno and was eventually promoted to Vice Councilor of the city.
Early History of the Gelli family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gelli research. More information is included under the topic Early Gelli History in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Gelli 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 Gelli include Aiello, Ajello, and D'Aiello and others.
Early Notables of the Gelli family (pre 1700)
Prominent among bearers of this surname in early times was Niccolo d'Aiello, who was the son of Riccardo d'Aiello, and was the archbishop of Salerno around 1200; Antonio Aiello, born in Taranto in the 15th century, was an ecclesiastic and dedicated... Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gelli Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gelli family to the New World and Oceana
An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Gelli arrived in North America very early: R. Aiello who came to New York when he was 24, traveling in steerage on the SS. Alexandria, in 1881. Others settled in others areas of Canada and the USA, along the coast or in the midwest, such as Tommaso Aiello who settled in Iowa, also after Italian Unification..
Contemporary Notables of the name Gelli (post 1700)
- Cesare Gelli (1932-2016), Italian actor and voice actor