From the ancient and beautiful Italian island of Sicily
emerged a variety of distinguished names, including the notable surname Pra. 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 Pra family lived by the fields or meadows. The surname Prato is derived from the local name Prato, which means field or meadow.
Early Origins of the Pra family
The surname Pra was first found in at Lecce, the historic city in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Lecce and a port city located on the southern tip of the Italian peninsula.
Early History of the Pra family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pra research. More information is included under the topic Early Pra History in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Pra Spelling Variations
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 Pra include Prato, Prata, Prati, Prado, Prada, Pra, Dal Prato, Del Prato, Dal Pra, Pratello, Pratelli, Pratella, Pradella, Pradel, Pradetto, Pratolini, Pradolin, Pratali and many more.
Early Notables of the Pra family (pre 1700)
Prominent among bearers of this surname in early times was Guglielmo Prata, an ambassador in Milan in 1229 who undertook part of the responsibility for renewing the city after the destructive invasion of Federico Barbarossa; Ser Lapo de'Pratesi of Florence is recorded as having been a priest in 1292; Cristoforo Prata... Another 143 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pra Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Pra family to the New World and Oceana
An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Pra arrived in North America very early: B. Prado, aged 27, who arrived at Ellis Island
, in 1923; Benjamin Prado, aged 28, who arrived at Ellis Island, in 1923; Alfredo Prata, aged 21, who arrived at Ellis Island
from Spinaorola, Italy, in 1911.