This rare and interesting surname is of Italian origin, and is from an occupational name for a doorkeeper or usher. The name is derived from the Latin "porta", door, and has the same meaning as the surnames, Portiero and portulano. A portinari was usually found in the service of the aristocracy, such as a lord or lady, a prince or princess, a duke or duchess, a count or countess and a baron. The surname is similar to the English porter, which is an occupational name for the gatekeeper or a town or the doorkeeper of a large house. This surname is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "porter", similar to the Old French "portier", from the Latin "portarius", an agent derivative of "porta" as before. The surname is, today, more commonly found as Portinaro. Among the recordings in Italy are the marriages of Petrus Antonius Mauritius Portinaro and Maria Toso Carino on January 21st 1813 at Moncrivello, Vercelli, and of Margarita Portinaro and Luigi Greppi on July 3rd 1880 at Vercelli. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anna Teresia Portinaro (below), which was dated September 17th 1735, Moncrivello, Vercelli, Italy, during the reign of King Charles V1, "Holy Roman Emperor", 1711 - 1740. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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