Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Palomba, Palombi, Palumbi and Palumbo, this is an Italian surname of Roman (Latin) pre Christian origins. It means 'The dove' or since it is nearly always a diminutive or patronymic, 'Little dove' or 'son of Dove'. Originally it was a baptismal name of endearment not unlike similar English 'names' such as Dear or Darling, that later in Medieval times as surname developed, became themselves surnames in their own right. Italian surnames are traditionally the most difficult of all European languages to research genealogically, as the spellings, as although the names were in a sense hereditary, they were often not fixed in spelling from one generation to the next. Addedto this the problem that until 1860 Italy was a loose federation of small states, some of which were rich and kept registers of births and marriage, but most were poor and such records as exist are erratic. With this name though we have been lucky, and recordings exist from at least the late medieval period. These include: Sebastia Palumbi, christened at Monteveglo, Bologna, and Francisco Palumbo, a witness at Lipari, Messina, on September 27th 1583. The surname has been recorded in England since the 18th century, when Arcangelo Palumbo married Elizabeth Gray at St Anne's church, Soho, Westminster, on September 23rd 1758. It is also a recent enoblement, Lord Palumbo being a life peer.
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