Recorded as Capaldi and Capaldo, this is an Italian surname. These are the most difficult of all European surnames to research. Not only were there until quite recently at least six spoken languages in the country, but also a wealth of local dialects, to the extent that the same word often had quite different meanings in the different regions. Added to this confusion was the problem until 1860 that Italy was a loose federation of states, all of whom went about their business (or not), as they could afford or saw fit! Efficient recording of births, deaths and marriage, often being left to personal resources. Italy like most European countries has had hereditary surnames since at least the 14th century, but whilst most countries adopted "locked" spellings, or at least spellings that remained recognizeable from generation to generation, not so in Italy. There each generation often decided on its own spelling, adding or subtracting both prefix and suffix diminutives and patronymics to the point where a name might only contain as few as two original letters! In this case the surname would appear to originate from the medieval "capo" meaning head, from which developed many surnames including Capalbo and Capialbi, both meaning "white head" or Caporusso, red head. In this case we believe it may derive from Capalbi, which is the name of a fortress in Maremma, but this is conjecture. The earliest recording in any spelling is believed to be that of Mattheo Capaldo, at Palena, Chieti, on May 25th 1808, when he was a christening witness.
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