Leonelli History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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The distinguished surname Leonelli 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 Leonelli came from the given name Leoni which comes from the Latin Leo or Leonios, which means lion-like.
Early Origins of the Leonelli family
The surname Leonelli was first found in 1130, when Giovanni-Antonio Leoncilli owned much land around Spoleto.
Important Dates for the Leonelli family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leonelli research. More information is included under the topic Early Leonelli History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Leonelli 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 Leonelli include Leoni, Leone, Leon, Lioni, Lione, Lion, Liuni, Leo, Lio, De Leone, De Leonibus, De Leo, Di Leo, Leonelli, Leonello, Leoncilli, Lionelli, Lionello, Leonetti, Lionetti, Leoncini, Leoncino, Leonotti and many more.
Early Notables of the Leonelli family (pre 1700)
Prominent among members of the family was Bussadi Leoni, a noblewoman in Rome during the 15th century who married at age 12 and was known for her piety and charity. In 1425 she founded the Congregation of Women for Promoting Charitable Works. Domenico Leonessa of Naples became the Archbishop of Rossano in 1457. Leone Leoni was a medalist and sculptor born in Como in 1509. His talents became widely known and from 1537 to 1540 he was employed at the Papal mint. His son, Pompeo Leoni, also became a sculptor and medalist. He worked...
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Migration of the Leonelli family
Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Leonelli or a variant listed above: G. Lione, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1822 at the age of 31; Adele Leone, aged 27, who arrived at Ellis Island from Bovino, in 1896; Alfonso Leone, aged 23, who arrived at Ellis Island from Carerta, in 1893.
Contemporary Notables of the name Leonelli (post 1700)
- Francisco Leonelli (b. 1978), Argentine rugby union footballer