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From the ancient and beautiful Italian island of Sicily emerged a variety of distinguished names, including the notable surname Messena. 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 Messena family lived in the Italian province and town of the same name. The city of Messina is situated in northeast Sicily on the homonymous strait which is the channel separating the Italian peninsula from the island of Sicily.
The surname Messena was first found in Messina (Sicilian: Missina; Latin: Messana), capital of the Italian province of Messina. Its history begins in 397 B.C. After a checkered history the Saracens took it in 831, and the Normans in 1061. It was host to the crusaders in 1190. Garibaldi landed in 1860 and it was the last city to be made a part of united Italy. 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, at the beginning of recorded history, was of itself a great distinction and indicative of noble ancestry.
Spelling variations of this family name include: Messina, Mussina, Massina, Mezzina, Messinetti, Messinese, Messineo, Massina, Mussena and many more.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Messena research. Another 360 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1282, 1420, 1478, 1554, 1578, 1651, 1682, and 1808 are included under the topic Early Messena History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Messena Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: George Messina, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1836; Francesco Messina and Giuseppe Messineo, who both arrived in New York in 1891 aboard the SS Anglia, as well as Francisco and Mariani Messina, who both sailed aboard the SS Letimbro from Palermo, arriving in New York December 3.
The Messena Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Messena Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 23 September 2010 at 15:40.