Recorded in many forms including Beretta, Berretta, Baretti, Bretti, Bertini, this is an Italian surname and one it is said that was mainly from the former states of Reggiano and Piedmont. There are several possible origins, but for most nameholders the surname is occupational and formerly described a maker of caps or hats. In ancient times "headgear" denoted a persons status, and making of such articles was severely controlled by the famous guilds, to prevent the riff-raff from apeing their betters. The making of headgear and the membership of the guild became hereditary as did the surname, however from the late Middle Ages the guilds began to lose their power and in its turn headgear lost some of its importance. Today as Beretta the name is known world-wide for the making of hand guns, a far cry from decorative hats. To add to the confusion this name could also originate from the personal names Alvaro or Alberto, although in most cases this is unlikely. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers in Italy include Andrea Berreta, christened at Lesmo in the province of Milano, on September 20th 1763, Marco Beretta, who married Rose Locatelli at Santa Francesco Romana, also Milano, on January 8th 1824, and Pietro Bertini, who married Rosa Grasso at Genova on February 13th 1869.
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