This Italian surname is recorded in the forms of d'Amato, which is its usual spelling in its homeland, Damato, Damiata, and Damiato. It is locational and one of a group who owe their formation to the influence of the French preposition, a mark of nobility and aristocracy, and also and indication of land ownership. In Italy itself 'de' is usually dialectally transposed to 'd' or 'di', to imply 'of' or 'from' a certain place which is owned by the family of that name. Unfortunately Italian surnames pose great difficulties to name researchers.Of all the main European states, Italy was the last, only as recently as 1860, both to adopt the principal of a unified state with central registers of births, deaths, and marriages, and to adopt hereditary surnames of a fixed spelling. This means that individual families and groups within families, would until quite recently introduce their own 'elements' to differentiate themselves. This was done by adding patronymics (son of, or daughter of) usually at the beginning or end of a surname, but sometimes in the middle! To explain these additives requires a book in itself. In this case we have some 19th century recordings from the former state of Foggia, and these include Nicola Maria d'Amato, daughter of Vincenzo d'Amato, christened at Peschia, on September 23rd 1856, and Guiseppe d'Amato, son of Panteleone d'Amato, christened at Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 26th 1921. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Donata Maria d'Amato, which was dated April 27th 1831, christened at Peschica, Foggia, Italy, during the reign of Pope Gregory XV1, reigned 1831 - 1846. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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