Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Surnames from Place Names
I thought that it would be interesting to take a look at surnames of which the root is a place name for our own origins, or at least possibly might be. I will just stick to the major names, and which apply to us.
Lets begin with Langbard, in the larger sense. This name has so many variations, that I can only put a selected few here. It appears that there are many very early Lombard connections, from Northern Europe, that branched off in many other directions (Germanic invasion of England, Visigothic invasion of Spain, etc.).
[Above Right: Modern Milano, Italy]
In the Italian peninsula, most of the names are in Southern Italy, due to the fact that it was more unique for someone to be descended from Lombards (or trade partners), so a surname would be a more natural descripton. Those names include Longo, Longa, Longi, Langbardi, Longbardi, Longbardo, Longobardi, Longobardo, Lombardi, Lombardo, Lombarda, Lombardazzi, Lombardozzi, Lumbardi, Lumbardo, Lumbarda, Lombardangiulo, etc., etc. There are so many variations that I have to stop. I could put many, many more.
From the early days, there are many German or central European connections and offshoots. For example Longobard, Lombardallen, Langbardt, Lange, Lombardam, Lombardabram, Lombardand (French?), Lombardash, Lombardaskin, etc., etc. In the British Isles, Lombard is fairly common, as well as some offshoots, such as Langton or Langdon. Also, sometimes this could be from the origin of the Lombard bankers on Lombard Street in London. There were Italian bankers, but not necessarily from Lombardia. Another one is the surname Lombardy, as well as Langbard and possibly Lang or Langton. The classic American actress Carole Lombard comes to mind. She likely had a forefather who was a northern German of Lombard origin, or a Lombard banker in the Middle Ages. Lombardarmstrong sounds like almost a Scottish variation. It should be noted that some of these may have a different origin, or the connection stretches so far back that none of us can tell for certain.
A few other curious ones are Lombardafarian (no Lombards were in Armenia I don't think), Lombardakis (Lombards in Greece?), Lombardao (Portuguese?), and Lombardaraujo or Lombardas (Spanish?). Needless to say, I'm sure there are ones in Russian and Eastern Europe as well. The great majority of these names have nothing to do with the Italian peninsula, but it's remarkable.
What I was particularly interested in was the place names, but it's so difficult to not be sidetracked with the Langbard/Lombard connection. There is a surname "Padania," but coincidently, it's of some type of Middle Eastern origin. Again, only coincidence, like the English surnames "Young" or "Lee," and the Chinese surnames "Young" and "Lee." There is a surname, an uncommon one, called "Lombardia." It's probably of the same derivation as the Lombardi names, largely in Southern Italy.
There are names, probably linked to "Eastern Lombard." Specifically of Orobian origin. A small ancient tribe (Orobi), which wandered around the region at one time, and whose name (and mountain range) is very loosely linked with what some call the "Orobic dialect" (East Lombard). Those surnames are Orobia, Orobico, Orobica, Orobi, etc.
The surname "Brescia" is usually of Southern Italian descent, possibly via the similar usage of Lombardi, Lombardo, etc. There are the variations Bresciani, Bresciano, Bresciana, Bresciane, and possibly Brescianei and Brescianetto. While on the subject of surnames of ancient Lombard origin, the name "Gotti" is actually a common name in Lombardia. It's either Lombard (Gotland origin), or of the Goths. The Ostrogoths to be specific. In either case, both the Lombards and Ostrogoths were in the Naples area, the origin of infamous criminal John Gotti. I now lean a little more towards an Ostrogothic origin.
There is a surname "Camonica," and it's a little difficult to imagine it being of any origin other than the Valle Camonica in Northern Brescia. There are a few variations, like Camuni, but many seem like a bit of a stretch, so I won't try to name them. Also, there are a number of similar ones, which are Hispanic (from Spain), like Camunias, Camunos, Camunoz, etc. However, the Camunian Valley is so small, that I would call it impossible. The Camunians were in the mountains, very few in number, and were only native to Lombardia.
Of course, there are surnames named after all the other provinces of Lombardia, as well as Ticino. Probably also noteworthy is the surname "Milano" (Milane, Milanesi, Milana, Milanesa, etc.), the major city of the region. Again, it seems to be of mostly Southern Italian usage, but I'm not positive. It might stem from another origin or word. Maybe I've got that wrong. Correct me if needed, but it does appear as though it is not very common to see at least the Lombard variations in Lombardia or Northern Italy. Another one maybe worth mentioning, just east of Brescia across Lake Garda, are the surnames Verona, Veronese, Veronesi, or Verone.
Another time we can go over the variations, in different languages, of place names. That is actually more interesting. There can be many variations in different languages, from different periods (Roman, Lombard, etc.), and of different dialects.
There were two more root names that I wanted to add here without making a "part two." The reason is that there are really almost endless variations, and I would like to wrap this up now.
One is possibly from some form of offshoot of the ancient Lombards, maybe in France: Colombard or Columbard, and later Columbardi, Columbardo, Columbari, Colombari, Columbardi, Columbardo, Columbardoni, and I'll just stop there. That should give an idea. Later probably, I'll see some in other languages, stemming from this.
The other is actually more interesting, stemming from the former name of the Lombards: Winniler, Winnili or Winnilli. There is a surname "Winiler," and it probably is linked to the Lombards in some form, maybe German. This would have to be an ancient connection, because that name hasn't been used as a tribal name since almost Roman times. Others are Winilier (French?) and Winilis (English, via the Norman conquest?). I could dig up some more, but I think I'll just end it there. It's interesting that this ancient connection still exists.