Recorded as Luto, Lutto, Lutao, and probably others, this is apparently a surname of Iberian peninsula (Catalonian, Portugese or Spanish), and possibly Jewish origins. Wherever recorded it is quite rare, and it would seem today that the greatest number of nameholders (as Luto) are to be found in the USA. Equally there is some argument over the origin. It is probably a form of the early Roman (Latin) 'lupo' meaning the wolf, which is recorded in Italy as Lupo, Luppo, Luppino, Lobetti, Luotto and others. It is probably from the latter form that the Iberian examples originate. The wolf was famed in heraldry for its cunning, strength and ferocity, however the Italians denoted it for its voraciousness and fraud, which seems harsh. Surnames from wild animals are a feature of all southern European countries, and there is hardly a breed down to insects, which is not covered somewhere by a surname. Early recordings in most southern European countries tend to be erratic when they exist at all. This was because the countries themselves were often poor, and few churches went to the trouble of keeping accurate registers or registers at all. Such early records as were kept tendered to be either royal or local nobility, and then for tax purposes. The earliest possibly relevant church recordings that we have been able to find are those of Jose Lourenco Lutao at Farinhao, Viseu, Portugal, on March 25th 1836, and in England Samuel Lutto or Luto at the New Synagogue, London, on October 11th 1854.
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