Recorded as Patini, Pattini, Patnelli, and possibly others, this is an Italian surname. It is one of a large group of surnames which the Dictionary of Italian Surnames refers to as 'Kinship Names'. These are names which imply a close relationship, but in most cases do not, inspite of their supposed translation or meaning, actually refer to a blood relative. The Italians in general have always been keen to promote and establish family ties, and to bring outsiders into an enlarged family. In consequence this group includes such names as Parenti meaning parents, but surely not even in Italy, actual parents, Zendrini meaning son in law, Nubili, a marriageable child, Zitella, a married woman, Codespoti, the head of the family! This surname is another good example. It means 'The God-father,' although almost certainly in the traditional rather than the Holywood or Mafia sense. However it is only one of the many surnames which also mean 'god-father' such as Comparini, Guszzo, Santoli and Gusidazzio. Without any doubt Italian surnames are much the most difficult to research in the whole of Europe. There are many reasons but not the least is that although hereditary since medieval times, until the 19th century their spelling often changed between the generations. The coming of the telephone has stopped that exercise.
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