Recorded in various forms including Milella and Milillo, Mille, and Mileno, this is an Italian surname of some antiquity. It is understood to derive from the word 'mille' meaning one thousand, which according to the dictionary of Italian Surnames by Joseph G Fucilla, suggests that like many other surnames such as Cinque or Cento, it is locational. The reference is to what he calls 'stop station names' or even road markers. These are or were the Roman road markers which usually gave the distance to Rome, or sometimes other major cities, or the height above sea level in metres. Neither of these explanations quite fit this name, but another of his explanations is that it may refer to the population of a particular town, such as Milano, and this would seem to be possible. Italian surnames are traditionally the most difficult of all European surnames to translate. They seem to have been given to the original nameholders without any logic, and then in many cases to have been added to with both prefix and/or suffix, an amazing range of diminutives and patronymics to the point where often the original spelling is reduced to two or even just one, letter. In this case we are lucky in that original recordings from the post medieval period still exist. These include Domenico Milillo of Casmassima, Bari, on January 15th 1580, Angelo Mileno, the daughter of Diego Mileno, who was christened at Varto Chielli, on July 1st 1746, whilst on October 21st 1781, Michele Milella and his wife Maddalena were witnesses at the city of Bari.
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