The surnames of Italy are the most difficult to research of any in the Western Hemisphere.There are several reasons for this statement. The first being that whilst Italian surnames like most in Northern Europe are of medieval origin and hereditary, they were also often 'fluid' in their spellings with successive generations adding and subtracting diminutive and patronymics prefix and suffix at will. This has sometimes resulted in a surname containing only ONE letter from the original spelling. Secondly Italy only became a unified country about a centry ago.Prior to that the country was a loose federation of about twelves states, all of whom treated record-keeping well down the list of priorities. However what have we here, but a surname which bucks the system. Recorded as Fumagalli and originally Fumagallo, it is even recorded in the Dictionary of Italian Surnames in these spellings, and in addition they give a definitive origin and meaning. It is, or was, a nickname which makes sense, nicknames being one of the largest surname groups, and it derives from 'afumica gallo'. This means literally 'smoke rooster!!!!' Well there you are, nothing complicated, except what is or was a 'smoke rooster?' The first known recording is that of Maria Fumagallo at Garlasco, Pavia, on December 23rd 1644.
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