This Italian surname, recorded in a number of spellings, is either a nickname or is possibly job descriptive. "Nicknames" are almost an Italian tradition, many, perhaps the majority of surnames, are claimed to come from this source. Nicknames were given for physical attributes, or supposed similarities to birds and animals, but they were also mimicries of everyday objects. The derivation in this case is from the word "cacci" meaning to hunt, indicating that the first nameholders were either hunters or perhaps had been hunted! It is quite impossible with names derived from nicknames to be sure what the precise meaning was perhaps seven hundred or more years ago. In addition Italian surnames are the most confusing in the European lists and registers. Until quite recently, the 19th or even 20th century, Italian names were only loosely hereditary, in some cases perhaps retaining one or two letters freom the original spelling, each generation adding its only suffix or prefix by way of patronymics or diminutives! To add to the impossible confusion upto 1860 Italy was a loose federation of twelve individual states, all of whom operated their own system (or in most cases - not) of registration of births and deaths. Such examples of this surname as exist include Emacasio Caccavella, christened at Valfortore, Foggia, on September 12th 1809, Laura Caccavari, at Caserta, on November 3rd 1826, and Francesco Caccavale, who married Anna Maria Adami, also at Caserta, on On November 30th 1836.
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