Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding hyphens.

So I'm working on an essay on a work by Franco-Canadian Italian (Italian Franco-Canadian? Canadian Franco-Italian?) author Antonio D'Alfonso entitled Fabrizio's Passion. The man is a brilliant writer and thinker, and the fact that he denies being an academic in the essays that he's published on ethnicity and identity have really drawn me to his ideas.

Anyway, this has got me wondering about my own family's origins. One of our family names is derived from an Italian word that, when I looked up, meant "pug." I also found this:

"also a term denoting a medieval Italian coin, and it is possible that in some cases the surname arose as a nickname, possibly for a worthless fellow, since it was a coin of low value, or as an occupational name for a moneyer."

The ending of the name was changed to -ini, which according to other sources, means "little."

So my family was either a bunch of little worthless people or little bankers...

Or, on the other hand, the root "Carlo" could also mean that we're descended from some monarch by the name of Charles.

Internet research is so inconclusive sometimes.

Though according to my grandmother, they came over from Italy to Virginia to work in the coal mines--which means that Virginia (next to Washington, DC, where I spend most of my time), is closer to my family origins than Arizona...

Anyway, based on my grandmother's email and brief Google searches (the accuracy of the latter are completely suspect) of various family surnames, I'm from:

-Krakovany, (western) Slovakia
-Cambridgeshire, UK
-somewhere in Ireland, possibly
-the Ayrshire district of Scotland
-a village near the Carrera marble mines in Northern Italy (this is the only certain one)
-Germany somewhere, "on the branch or tributary (dell or tell) of a small river (bach, brok or brook), or from a place of the same name."

So I'm Italian-Irish-Scottish-British-German-Slovak-American-wishing I was Canadian. Hrm.

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