This unusual and attractive surname is of Italian origin, and is a patronymic form of the Old French and Italian "bell, bel", fair, lovely, ultimately from the Latin "bellus", which was originally given as a nickname to a particularly handsome man. Because the feminine form of the adjective "bel(le)" was in widespread use in the above countries as a medieval female given name, the surname De-Bellis, and its variants Di Bello, Del Bello, De Bei, De Belli and Belleschi, may also represent a metronymic. Surnames derived from the name of the first bearer's mother are however relatively unusual because throughout history European society has almost invariably been patriarchal, and as a result the given name of the male head of the household has been handed on as a distinguishing name to successive generations. On February 26th 1811, Maria Giacinta De Bellis, daughter of Antonio De Bellis and Giovanna Maria Di Massa, was christened at Rodi Garganico, Foggia, Italy, and on May 15th 1827, Maria Caterina De-Bellis and Domenico Lorenzo Vernone were married in the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Giuseppe Del Bello, which was dated January 20th 1714, a christening witness at St. Maria, Quarto, Firenze, Italy, during the reign of Charles V1, known as "The Habsburg Emperor", 1711 - 1740. 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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