Recorded as Melato, Maleto, Maletti, Meletti, and others, this is an Italian surname. It is either topographical and describes a person who lived by an apple orchard or it may be job descriptive for a seller or merchant of fruit. Deriving from the word "melo" meaning apple, it is one of a large group of different names all of which refer to apples or apple orchards such as Melazzo, Melillo and Mie from Genoa and Venice, Buonmela, Melato, Malato, Maletti, Meletti, Pomo, Pomati, Pometti, and Pumo which originate in Bergamo. Italian surnames are regarded as the most difficult of all European surnames to research with accuracy. Not only do the names mean different things in different parts of the country, but around the base hereditary form was often built a bewildering range of diminutives and patronymics, which until quite recently were not fixed in their spelling. This meant that in effect each new generation created its own version of the surname. In addition until 1860 Italy for fifteen hundred years was only a loose federation of states, with no central administration, and few recordings. However we have been lucky in this case with an early recording being that of Domenico Meletti who marrried Cattarina Roncalli at Finale Emilia, Modena, on September 25th 1784.
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