Recorded as Massimi, Massimini, Massimino, Massimo, and possibly others, this is an Italian surname. According to the Dictionary of Italian Surnames, the name is a compound which derives from the original 'massimbeni' and means 'good heart' or similar. Compound names were very popular in ancient times until overtaken by the Christian names which began to pour in from the Holy Land from about the 11th century. This followed the famous Crusades of that period when it became the practice or fashion for returning knight to call their subsequent children by Hebrew and Greek names associated with the bible. As a result the earlier compounds gradually disappeared or sometimes became merged with later Christian names. The 'surname' records of Italy are generally poor. Italy did not become a state in its own right until the late 19th century and prior to that any records are erraatic. In this case though we are lucky. We have found a number of recordings and two examples are Rosa Massimo who married Francesco Limosani at Rignano, Foggia, on March 17th 1811, and Vincenzo Massimo who married Giroloma del Priore at the same place on May 8th 1830.
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