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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Italian, Spanish

From the ancient and beautiful Italian island of Sicily emerged a variety of distinguished names, including the notable surname Palma. 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 Palma family lived in the territory of Palma, which is in Campania, in the province of Naples. The surname Palma was also a patronymic surname, derived from the personal name Palma, which was common in medieval times. The personal name Palma literally means palm, which is the Christian symbol of peace.


The surname Palma was first found in Naples, (Italian: Napoli, Latin: Neapolis) former capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in southern Italy. Research shows that records of the Palma family date back to 1190, with Tancredi and Riccardo di Palma, who took their surname from the territory of Palma, near Naples, which they possessed at this time. Naples shares with Instanbul the claim to be the most beautiful city in Europe. Naples has 237 Churches and 57 Chapels. The National Museum and other galleries contain riches in art and artifacts. 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. The first record of this illustrious family was Trancredi di Riccardi di Palma. Tandcredi or Tandred was a Norman Prince, son of Robert Guiscard who held most of southern Italy in 1070. Trancred embarked on the first Crusade and was also a Prince of the Holy Land and may have adopted the name Palma from the symbol of the Crusade.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Palma, Palmer, Palmeri, Palmaro, Palmerini, Palerino and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Palma research. Another 359 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1280 and 1814 are included under the topic Early Palma History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 121 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Palma Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

  • Antonio De Palma who arrived in Espanola in 1512
  • Luis De Palma who came to the Dominican Republic in 1565
  • Juan De Palma who immigrated to Honduras in 1593

Palma Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Antonio De Palma, who arrived in Espanola in 1812
  • Hernando De Palma, who arrived in America in 1812
  • Marcos De Palma, who arrived in America in 1812
  • Martin De Palma, who landed in America in 1812
  • Francisco De Palma, who landed in America in 1813

Palma Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Vito Palma, who arrived in New York on the "SS Italia" from Naples on 2 March 1913


  • Ralph De Palma (1882-1956), Italian-American racecar driving champion
  • Brian Russell De Palma (b. 1940), American film director and writer
  • Manuel Ricardo Palma (1833-1919), Peruvian author, scholar and librarian
  • Jorge Manuel d’Abreu Palma (b. 1950), Portuguese singer and songwriter
  • Tomás Estrada Palma, former President of Cuba
  • José Palma (1876-1903), poet and soldier from Manilla
  • Pierode Palma, musical performer during the mid 20th century


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  1. Di Crollalanza, G.B. Dizionario Storico-Blasonico Delle Famiglie Nobili e Notabili Italiane 3 volumes. Pisa. Print.
  2. Glazier, Ira A. and P. Williams Filby Edition. Italians to America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Print.
  3. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Rome Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana 56 volumesr. Print.
  4. Gheno, Antonio. Contributo alla Bibliografia Genealogica Italiana. Bologna: Forni, 1924. Print.
  5. Stiens, Robert E. Passenger list Italy to New York 1893 In Italian Genealogist. Torrance, CA: Augustan Society No 3, 1983. Print.
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Bascapč, Giacomo and Marcello del Piazzo. Insegne e Simboli Araldica pubblica e privata medievale e moderna. Rome: 1983. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. Finding Italian Roots The Complete Guide for Americans. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2003. Print.
  11. ...

The Palma Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Palma 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 3 May 2016 at 21:44.

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