The distinguished surname Morra can be traced back to the ancient and beautiful region of Sicily
, which is located off Southwestern Italy and incorporates the island of Sicily
itself, the area of Naples, and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. 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 Sicily
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 Morra was derived from the place named Morra De Sanctis, in the province of Avellino.
Early Origins of the Morra family
The surname Morra was first found in Naples, (Italian: Napoli, Latin: Neapolis.) One branch of the Morra family, who had owned land for centuries, received the honor of seeing one of its members, Gregorio VIII, elevated to the papal throne in 1187 by Alberto, monk and cardinal. Twelve years later, in 1198, Pietro Morra was made Cardinal. He was also famous for his compilation of decrees, or 'Epistole Decretali'.
Early History of the Morra family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morra research. More information is included under the topic Early Morra History in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Morra Spelling Variations
Italian surnames have a surprising number of forms in comparison with other European surnames because they reflect the regional variations and the many dialects of the Italian language, each of which has its distinctive features. For example, in Northern Italy the most standard Italian surname suffix is "I", whereas in Southern Italy the most typical surname suffix is "O". Sardinian is very different from other forms of Italian and in fact, it is considered to be its own distinct language. Additionally, spelling changes frequently occurred because medieval scribes, church officials, and the bearers of names, spelled names as they sounded rather than according to any specific spelling rules. As a consequence of the major changes in the Italian language and in the local
spellings of Italian surnames that occurred over the course of history, there are numerous variations for the surname Morra. These spelling variations
include Morra, di Morra, Mora, Di Mora and others.
Early Notables of the Morra family (pre 1700)
Prominent among bearers of this surname in early times was Dionisio Morra who was a Cardinal, and Lucio Morra who was the Chaplain of King Philip III of Spain
and was made Archbishop of Otratanto.
Isabella di Morra (ca. 1520-1546) was an Italian poet of the Renaissance; she was forced by her brothers to live in isolation, which estranged her from courts... Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morra Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Morra family to the New World and Oceana
A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Morra:
Morra Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Carmelo Morra, aged 34, who landed in America from Avellino, Italy, in 1904
- Giacomo Morra, aged 19, who settled in America from Lessa Aura, in 1905
- Castese Morra, aged 38, who landed in America from Marano, Napoli, in 1907
- Domenico Morra, aged 48, who landed in America from Radicena, Italy, in 1907
- Albino Morra, aged 17, who landed in America from Alexandria Finao, Italy, in 1907
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name Morra (post 1700)
- Mario Morra (b. 1935), Italian film editor, director and screenwriter
- Claudio Morra (b. 1995), Italian professional footballer who currently plays as a striker for Pro Vercelli, member of the Italy U20 National Team in 2015
- León S. Morra (1882-1948), Argentine physician and university professor
Morra Family Crest Products