An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The distinguished surname Penna 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. Although 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, 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, but does not necessarily denote nobility. The Penna family lived in one of several places in Italy named Penna.
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 Penna include Penna, Penni, Pa Penna, Papenna, Penne, Penella, Pennelli, Penniello, Pennacchi, Pennario, Pennarella, Pennarelli, Pennarola, Pennetta, Pennetti, Pennino, Pennini, Pennone, Pennoni, Pennacci, Pennazzi, Pennese and many more.
First found in 1189, when Alessio Penna was created Cardinal by Pope Clemente III.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Penna research. More information is included under the topic Early Penna History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 355 words (25 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Penna Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the first North American settlers with Penna name or one of its variants:
Penna Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Penna Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
Penna Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Penna Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The Penna Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Penna 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 4 June 2014 at 11:22.