Grimaldi History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The distinguished surname Grimaldi can be traced back to the ancient and beautiful region of Piedmont. 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. The most common type of family name found in the region of Piedmont 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 Grimaldi came from the personal name Grimaldi, which is of Germanic origin and is derived from the Old Germanic words grima, which means mask or helmet, and walda, which means bold. The family descends from Grimaldo, a Genoese statesman born in the early 1100s
Early Origins of the Grimaldi family
The surname Grimaldi was first found in Genoa (Italian: Genova), a prosperous city in Piedmont which at one time was a rival with Venice in terms of commerce and trade.
Records are found in 1169 with Grimaldo Grimaldi, Ambassador to Morocco. The Grimaldi family in Genoa at this time was extremely powerful, and was one of the four families of highest nobility. Francesco Grimaldi was a Genoese leader of the Guelphs who captured the Rock of Monaco on the night of January 8, 1297. Guised as a Franciscan monk, Francesco was greeted warmly at the gates of Monaco's castle, then seized the castle with his cousin Lord of Cagnes, and a group of men. A statue of Grimaldi as a monk with a sword under his frock stands at his memorial in Monaco today.
Early History of the Grimaldi family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grimaldi research. More information is included under the topic Early Grimaldi History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Grimaldi 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 Grimaldi include Grimaldi, Grimaldo, Grimaudo, Grimod, Grimoldi, Grimaudi and many more.
Early Notables of the Grimaldi family (pre 1700)
Prominent among members of the family was Antonio Grimani, the Doge of Venice in 1436. He was also a Statesman, and came from a very powerful Venetian family whose highest point of influence was during the 15th and 16th centuries. His son Domenico Grimani, a humanist and diplomat, became a Cardinal in Rome during the 15th century.
Of much importance was Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618-1663), a physicist in Bologna during the early 17th century who became a professor of mathematics. He discovered the diffraction of light and was one of the first people to postulate a wave theory of...
Another 99 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grimaldi Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Grimaldi migration to the United States +
Some of the first North American settlers with Grimaldi name or one of its variants:
Grimaldi Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Alfonso Grimaldi, aged 38, who settled in America, in 1892
Grimaldi Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Amina Grimaldi, aged 10, who immigrated to the United States from Montecorinao, Italy, in 1908
- Adamo Grimaldi, aged 19, who immigrated to America from Giffoni, Italy, in 1909
- Alessandro Grimaldi, aged 5, who immigrated to the United States, in 1913
- Alfonso Grimaldi, aged 22, who landed in America from Brasiliaro, Italy, in 1913
- Angela Grimaldi, aged 55, who landed in America from S. Minta, Sicily, in 1913
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Grimaldi 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:
Grimaldi Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Joseph Grimaldi, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
Contemporary Notables of the name Grimaldi (post 1700) +
- Michael Grimaldi, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 23rd District, 1940 
- Gabriel L. Grimaldi, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 7th District, 1956 
- Carol Grimaldi (1938-2014), American restaurateur and co-founder of Grimaldi's Pizzeria in 1990
- Ralph Grimaldi (b. 1943), American mathematician
- David Grimaldi (b. 1957), American curator of entomology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York
- Daniel "Dan" Grimaldi, American actor
- Alberto Grimaldi (1925-2021), Italian Academy Award nominated film producer, known for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Gangs of New York, Last Tango in Paris and many more
- Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), English clown, best known as the first whiteface clown
- Pablo Jerónimo Grimaldi (1720-1789), Italian-Spanish politician
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