This Italian surname has origins that date back to at least the medieval period, and the establishment of the aristocracy. The name is found in a variety of spellings including Signori, Signorelli, Signoret, etc, but all have the same meaning of 'Lord'. It seems that whilst apparently similar aristocratic surnames such as 'principle' (prince), 'duca' (duke) and 'magnati' (grandee) refer to people who took part in theatrical pageants, and like modern film stars became better known in their roles than as themselves, in this case the surname does actually mean what it says. The original holders were Lords or at least, lower nobility. If this is the case, the similarity is with the Early English 'Knight'. A knight was a soldier who had a horse, the distinction of 'Sir Knight' came much later in the 14th century. Italy as a nation was not created until 1860, previous to that date the country consisted of about ten minor states. Some kept records of a sort, most did not, and therefore we do not have the wealth of such information as is available in Britain. Examples of the recordings of this surname taken from church records include Giovanna Signorelli, christened at San Vito, Varese on September 1st 1679, and Elizabeth Signori, who married Augustin Roman at Prarustin, Torino on December 10th 1749. Other recording examples are those of Jean Henri Signoret, who married Suzanne Roston at Torre Pellice, Torino, on December 12th 1779 and Guiseppe Antonio Signore, christened at Castel Morrone, Caserta, on September 12th 1836. The coat of arms has the blazon of silver and blue, fess wavy dancette. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francisco Antonio Signori, which was dated June 18th 1669, a witness at San Vito, Varese, Italia, during the reign of Leopold 1 of the Holy Roman Empire, 1658 - 1705. 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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