Recorded in many spelling forms including the 'base' form of Maggi, and the diminutives and double diminutives Maggiore, Maggiori, Di Maggio, Maggorini, and many others, this is an Italian surname of Roman (Latin) origins. It derives from the ancient word 'maggiore' which means 'the eldest son', and as such was originally either a baptismal name, or in medieval times a nickname which became a surname. In useage it was not so different from the much later English Victorian method of calling brothers by their surname, but then distinguishing them by the terms major, minor, or for a third son, minimus. Italian surnames are traditionally the most difficult of all European hereditary names to research with accuracy. This is partly because church register recordings are either erratic or non existent, but even more so because with many families the spellings from generation to generation varied at will! This was achieved by adding diminutive and patronymic prefix and suffix, to the point where in some cases only one or two letters survived from the original spelling. In this case early examples taken from the few surviving registers include: Carlos Maggi, the son of Pompeo Maggi, born at Saluzzo, Torino, in 1618, Maria Maggiorini, a witness at Arcore, Milano, on April 30th 1685, and Francesco Maggiore, a witness at Torre Pollice, also Torino, on January 18th 1864.
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