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Post Meeting Mr Trentadue
Created by John Eipper on 11/19/17 3:46 AM

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Meeting Mr Trentadue (Edward Jajko, USA, 11/19/17 3:46 am)

Last night I met a man from southern Italy--Bari, I believe--who had the surname Trentadue. I have seen names like Tremille, Duemille, and other numbers. Can Eugenio Battaglia and the other Italians in WAIS tell me what is the source of these numerical names? Why do Italians with these names have different numbers, some in the thousands?

By the way, Mr. Trentadue told me that back in his native town in Italy there are seven other Trentadues. I suppose that makes them I Signori Duecentoventiquattro.

JE comments:  WAIS has discussed many onomastic oddities over the years, but this, to my knowledge, is a new one.  Ordinal numbers are sometimes called to duty as first or given names (Sixto, Octavio), but this refers to birth order.  Few families achieve Trentadue status, much less Due- or Tremille.

How do you do, 32?

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  • The Trentadues (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/19/17 1:02 PM)

    Answering Edward Jajko's question of 19 November, I will say the following:

    The Trentadues are a noble family (cavalieri) from Modugno (Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot). The "story" goes that in 1009 the people of Bari, led by Melo, rebelled against Byzantine rule. There were only 32 survivors who took refuge in nearby Modugno and they became known as the Trentadue.

    There are about 202 families with this name in Italy, of which 183 are in Puglia. The others are scattered around the rest of Italy.

    The other "number" names may have originated from the name given to some orphan, or an abandoned child accepted into a religious orphanage. In these cases the name was often religious such as Diotisalvi (God saves you), Diotallevi (God raises you), Diotaiuti (God helps you), etc.

    Anyway the origin of some unusual names is always very difficult to find.

    Battaglia is widespread in all Italy, mostly in Sicilia. It may have initially been given to some who liked to fight.

    JE comments: Grazie 32 times, Eugenio!  WAISer Tom Hashimoto found this on the 'Net, which traces the 32s back to that number of families who settled in Bari from either France or Egypt...immigrants!  The author is a Trentadue from the wine country of Healdsburg, Sonoma County:


    Move one up from the Trentadues and we have the Treinta y Tres Orientales, the 33 Uruguayan patriots who led the independence movement against Imperial Brazil.  I know of no one with that surname, but Uruguay has both a department and city named Treinta y Tres.

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