This unusual name is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and also to habits of dress. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Italian "fusco", ultimately from the Latin "fuscus", dark, and denoted someone with raven black hair, or a dark complexion. Surnames derived from given names and nicknames are extremely widespread in Italy, and typical endings are "i" and "o", the former being characteristic of the north, and the latter more typical of southern Italy. In some cases, Fusco may be from a medieval given name derived from the Roman family name "Fuscus", originally of the same meaning. Variant forms of the surname include: Fuschi, Fosco and Foschi. On December 4th 1597, Salvatore Fusco, an infant, was christened in Pontelandolfo, Benevento, Italy. A Coat of Arms granted to the Fusco family of Naples depicts a gold crowned lion rampant, armed and langued red, on an azure shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Angelo Fusco, which was dated November 2nd 1581, witness at a christening, at Pontelandolfo, Benevento, Italy, during the reign of Rudolf 1, Habsburg Emperor, 1576 - 1612. 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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