Identifying the Y-DNA haplogroups of ancient Roman families through their descendants

Maciamo

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I have embarked on an ambitious project: attempting to determine the haplogroups of ancient Roman gentes based on the modern European surnames that belong to ancient Latin haplogroups. It may seem like an impossible quest because there is no guarantee that any ancient Roman surname survives to this day. Yet, last year I investigated many Italian surnames that match ancient Roman nonima and found out that most of them are distributed principally in and around the Latium even today. This indicates a continuity in surnames since the Antiquity.

Roman citizens typically had three names: the praenomen, nomen, and cognomen (known as the tria nomina). Old and illustrious families were often divided in branches distinguished by one, two even three additional cognomina. For example, the Cornelii had branches like the Cornelii Scipiones Nasicae, or the Cornelii Scipiones Salvidieni Orfiti. Many people were known by their cognomen (e.g. Caesar for Gaius Julius Caesar) or one of their cognomina. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Roman naming conventions would have progressively fallen into disuse and people would have kept only one surname - probably the most used and therefore in most cases the (last) cognomen.

Obviously many names might have been corrupted over time, especially outside Italy where the adoption of new languages or new pronunciation of Latin (like in French) would have inevitably altered names over time. Sometimes a lot of imagination is required to assess the evolution of Latin names into French, German or English. Fortunately I have quite a bit of experience in the matter as a historian, toponymist and genealogist dealing with French, Dutch and German names and seeing the progressive corruptions over many centuries.

Here are the ancient Latin samples tested to date and their Y-haplogroups.

SampleLocationDateHaplogroup
R1016Castel di Decima (Rome)900-700 BCER1b-Z2103
R435Palestrina Colombella (Praeneste)600-200 BCER1b-CTS6389 (Z145)
R1021Boville Ernica (Bovillae - Frosinone)700-600 BCER1b-Z2118 (L51)
R437Palestrina Selicata (Praeneste)400-200 BCER1b-PR3565 (L2>ZZ56)
R850Ardea800-500 BCET1a-L208
R851Ardea800-500 BCER1b-FGC29470 (L2>DF90)


I have scrutinised the surnames for each of these haplogroups in the FTDNA projects. I could not find matches to ancient Roman names for all, but here is what I found.

R1b>L51>Z2118


  • Carbotti (surname found especially in Apulia, but also in Latium and northern Italy) => possibly from the cognomen Carbo found among the patrician gens Papiria.
  • Cominetti (rare surname found mostly in and around Lombardy) => from the gens Cominia?
  • Lorio (mostly from Piemonte, but the Lori variant is from Lazio) => from Loreius?

R1b-U152>Z56>Z145>CTS6389


  • Cecchinelli (surname found in Latium, Tuscany, Liguria and Lombardy) => possibly from Caecinus, an Etruscan gens. The Latin 'Cae' invariably becomes 'Ce' in Italian. The Latin 'ci' becomes 'chi' in Italian to keep the hard k sound. That gives the root 'Caecin' => 'Cecchin' + the '-elli' ending.

R1b-U152>Z56>Z145>PF6577


  • Camp (England) => from Campatius?

R1b-U152>Z56>S1523>BY38816


  • Rebel (France) => from Caninius Rebilus?

R1b-U152>Z56>Z43>BY3544>S1523(?)


  • Antes (Poland) => from Antius?
  • Sweeting (England) => corruption of Suetonius (Sweton => Sweeten => Sweeting)

R1b-U152>Z56>Z43>S47


  • Martin (France) => from Martinius?
  • (De) Surville (France) => could be from gens Servilia (patrician gens of Alban origin)

R1b-U152>Z56>Z43>S47>S4634


  • Pluis (Netherlands) => corruption of Plinius?

R1b-U152>Z56>Z43>S47>Z44>CTS2827


  • Livesey (England) => corruption of Livius?

R1b-U152>L2>ZZ56


  • Barbato (found in all Italy, with peaks in Campania, Veneto and Lazio) => from Barbatus, a cognomen found among the gens Cornelia, Horatia and Valeria (all patricians).
  • Curtis => from Curtius, another patrician gens.
  • Fulfisk (Sweden) => possible corruption of Fulvius, Fufius or Fuficius.
  • Lacopo (rare surname found essentially in Lazio and Calabria) => maybe from Laco, a cognomen found in the gens Cornelia.
  • Neese (Germany) => maybe a German dialect translation of Nasica, a cognomen of the gens Cornelia.

Here we have three names that could potentially fit within the great gens Cornelia.

I have also investigated the R1b-Z193 branch, which is most common in Italy. This one gave the most impressive matches so far.

R1b-U152>Z193


  • Cloudt (Netherlands) => Dutch corruption of Claudius to Claud, which is spelt Cloud(t) in Dutch. So gens Claudia.
  • Cowings (England), Cowan (Ireland) => a possible corruption of the cognomen Corvinus, a cognomen of the gens Valeria (patrician gens of Sabine ancestry). With the Latin v pronounced as w, and the r and w sounding similar in English, Corvinus would have become Cowinus, then Cowins as the Latin -us ending were dropped. The -ing ending was adopted in English, while the Irish Celticised it to Cowan. In fact many intermediary variants exist: Corbyn, Corbin, Corvin, Corwin, Cowin, Cowins...
  • Mark (UK) => from Marcius, gens Marcia (patrician gens of Sabine ancestry)
  • Ortensi (rare Italian surname found mostly in Lazio and Emilia-Romagna) => from Hortensius (an old plebeian gens)
  • Philipps (UK) => from Philippus, the cognomen of a branch of the gens Marcia maternally descended from Philip of Macedon.
  • Pinard (France) => from Pinarius (patrician gens of Sabine ancestry)
  • Probst (Germany, Switzerland) => possibly from Probus, an cognomen found in the gentes Pomponia (patrician gens of Sabine ancestry), Valeria (ditto) and Anicia.
  • Rane (UK) => Anglicisation of Ranius, another gens of Sabine ancestry.
  • White (UK) => translation of Albus or Albinus, an cognomen of the gens Postumia (patrician).

See a trend here? Many of these could be related to patrician families, mostly of Sabine ancestry, including those descended from Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome (ancestor of the gentes Pinaria, Pomponia and Marcia).

Even better, the surnames Cloudt (Claudius), Philipps (Marcius) and Ortensi (Hortensius) share a very close haplotype despite modern samples being from 3 different countries! This shows a common root in historical times.

Other candidates :

  • Ballard (France) => possibly from Aelius Balla.
  • Cleman (UK), Clemmentsso (Sweden) => related to the cognomen Clemens, found notably among the gens Pinaria and Cornelia (both patrician).
  • Host (Rhineland, Germany) => from Hostius?
  • Lambie (UK) => perhaps a corruption from Aelius Lamia (to Lamie then Lambie)
  • Kohlmann (Germany), Cole (UK) => possibly a translation from Carbo, an cognomen of the gens Papiria (patrician).
  • Pate => Anglicisation of Paetus, a cognomen of the gens Aelia.
  • Verras (Greece) => possibly from Verres, Verus (gens Annia) or Varus (found in gentes Atia, Plancia, Vibia and Quinctillia).
  • Weir (Scotland, Ireland) => English rendering of Verus (gens Annia) with the -us ending dropped.

In this series we have 3 candidates for the gens Aelia, all from different branches (Balla, Lamaia, Paetus).


UPDATE

The Z36 branch of R1b-Z36 is considered more Celtic than Italic. Nevertheless a few people have names that might betray a Latin origin. However, considering how few matches I found within Z36 and how generic the names are, I would rather believe that these are Celtic people who adopted Latin-sounding names.

R1b-U152>Z36

  • Anthoine (rare French version with an h, found near Italy and in Alsace), Antonini (peaks in Lazio, then central and northern Italy) => from the gens Antonia?
  • Alby (unknown origin, but most common in Mediterranean France and also found in Italy and Rhineland), Albrich (found mostly in South Germany and Rhineland) => from Albius?
  • Keller => from the cognomen Celer
  • Venter => from the cognomen Venter


The single Etruscan sample whose Y-DNA is known belongs to J2b-CTS6190, a branch that is today found in Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, England and the Netherlands, with an expansion in the last 2000 years. Interestingly there is a Jewish cluster within that branch. I couldn't find any potential Roman name within CTS6190, but I found some within its sister branch Z38241 (both descending from Z38240), which has a wide 'Roman-like' distribution from England to Syria and from Portugal to Germany.

J2b2-L283>Z585>Z2507>Z38240>Z38241

  • Allis (rare surname found in England)=> corruption from Aelius or Alienus? The latter may be of Etruscan origin.
  • Mattis (Germany), Mathes (Switzerland) => perhaps from the minor gens Matia or Matiena?

J2b2-L283>Z585>Z2507>Z638>Z631

  • Ellis (found especially around Chester, a major Roman fort) => corruption from Aelius or Alienus?

Note that J2b2-Z38240 and J2b2b-Z631 also have Jewish subclades. As this haplogroup is not originally Jewish, it is likely that these rare Jewish J2b2 clades represent either ancient Romans/Italians converted to Judaism, or non-paternity events. The same can be seen with several R1b-U152 subclades (L2>BY3508 ; L2>ZZ56>L408 ; Z56>Z43>S1523 ; Z56>Z43>Z145>PF6582 and Z36>S8024>A7983, which all have Italian, Jewish and European distributions).
 
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There are two other Venter haplotypes besides the Z36; biologist Craig Venter is U106, while the Afrikaner Venters are my R1a-YP445.
 
Haplogroup G2a hasn't been found among ancient Latins yet, but I am confident that some branches (U1>L13, U1>L1264 and/or L497>Z1816) will be found as a minority of Latin lineages as these lineages seem to have spread with the Indo-Europeans and are found at relatively high frequency in central Italy today. Z1816 in particular shows a strong correlation with the distribution and expansion age of R1b-U152.

G2a-L140>L497>Z1816

  • Canter (England) => from gens Cantia?
  • Clemens (Germany) => common Roman cognomen
  • Coelho (Portugal) => from the gens Coelia?
  • Cordey (Switzerland) => from the gens Cordia?
  • Ellis (Wales) => from Aelius?
  • Messier (France) from Messienus?
  • Quinn (Ireland) => from the gens Quintia?
  • Papineau (France) => from the gens Papinia (of Sabine or Samnite origin)?
  • Paul (Germany + Netherlands) => from Paulus?
  • Platt/Plott (Germany) => from Plautius
  • Price (Wales) => from the gens Precia?
  • Stacy (England) => from Statius?

G2a-L140>U1>L13

  • Flores (found in all Italy, with peaks in Lazio, Lombardy and Sicily) => from gens Floria or from the cognomen Florus
  • Horton (England)=> from Hordeonius?
  • Lemmond (England) => from the gens Lemonia?
  • Petro (Italy, mostly Lombardy) => from gens Petronia or Petreia or from the cognomen Petrus

G2a-L140>U1>L1264

  • Papp (Hungary) => from gens Papia (of Samnite origin)
 
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There is a legend that claims that the J2 Montgomeries may have had Roman ancestors (Gomericus), before becoming Normans and Scottish nobles.
Is it reliable?

https://www.scotweb.co.uk/info/montgomery/

Etymologically, the surname Montgomery comes from the eponymous village in Normandy, which has a Germanic root (Gomery => from Guma + ric). No Latin nomen starts with Gom-.

Now genetically the Montgomery lineages fall mostly in two groups: J2a-L26>Z6055>Y7010>Y13128>Y16842 and R1b-L21>DF13>DF21>DF5>L627. Neither is of Latin or Italic origin.
 
Another haplogroup that I have associated with the ancient Romans is J2a-L26>L70>Z435, which has a coalescence age of 3400 years and is distributed almost exclusively within boundaries the Roman empire. I now think that it was not originally Italic, but was absorbed early from neighbours of the Romans, either the Etruscans or the Greeks.

J2a-L26>Z438>L70>Z435

  • Caruso (common surname, sample from Calabria) => maybe from Carus?

Here are two other related branches of Z438, also common in Italy.

J2a-L26>Z438>Z387>FGC35503

  • Côté/Cote (France) => from the cognomen Cotta? (found among gentes Aurelia, Aurunculeia, Pomponia...)
  • Crass (England) => hard to believe anyone would keep that surname if if wasn't inherited from Crassus, a branch of the illustrious (though plebeian) gens Licinia (which is believed to be of Etruscan origin).

J2a-L26>Z438>L70>Z2148

  • Auler (Germany, mostly Rhineland) => from the gens Aulia?
  • Louks => from Lucius?

Unknown branches of J2a-L26>L70:

  • Orbelian (Armenia) => from gens Orbilia?
  • Tiberia (from Frosinone, Lazio) + Tiberino (Chieti, Abruzzo) => surely from Tiberianus, although only one person of that name is on Wikipedia (the 2nd century legionary and poet Claudius Tiberianus).
 
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After the fall of the Roman Empire in Italy the use of surnames disappeared for many centuries. The current Italian surnames do not descend hereditarily in any way from the surnames of the family of Roman times, there is only a linguistic connection but not of ancestry/descendence.

And this also applies to the other countries of the Roman Empire.
 
@Pax
imho it’s possible that many family surnames informally survived as nicknames until renormalizing again later, especially in important families, and those of historical impact.

The problem is to identify the legit families that inherited the ancient original surname, from those who adopted the surname in more recent periods.

Even today, many families have generational nicknames.

When I go back to Italy in my Town on vacation and someone asks me who I am, my last name means nothing to them.

They're actually asking me who I really am, and I have to say my generational family nickname (Father and sometimes Mother side too)

I guess my surname is partially artificial :)
 
@Pax
imho it’s possible that many family surnames informally survived as nicknames until renormalizing again later, especially in important families, and those of historical impact.


There's no evidence of that.
 
After the fall of the Roman Empire in Italy the use of surnames disappeared for many centuries. The current Italian surnames do not descend hereditarily in any way from the surnames of the family of Roman times, there is only a linguistic connection but not of ancestry/descendence.

And this also applies to the other countries of the Roman Empire.

I somehow doubt that. The use of surnames may seem to have disappeared from the historical record because literacy and administration crashed after the Western Roman Empire came to an end. But that doesn't mean that people suddenly forgot what their family or clan name was. The sense of belonging to a family is deeply ingrained in the human psyche and the division of society by families and clans long predates the adoption of writing. What could have happened and surely did happen is that once people stopped writing, family names got corrupted over time, especially as Latin evolved to new languages. If all surnames vanished during the Dark Ages, how do you explain that Latin sounding names survived in Germanised regions that used to be part of the empire (England, Netherlands, Rhineland, South Germany, Austria)? And why do these names coincide with the places most heavily settled by Roman legionaries?

Why would ancient Roman names be more common today in central Italy, and especially around Lazio, than in other parts of Italy? It's not like the whole population of late medieval and Renaissance Latium, which was then heavily Christian and made mostly of uneducated peasants, suddenly took an interest in ancient Roman history and decided to adopt Roman nomina and cognomina to sound more pagan. Even today most people couldn't name 30 ancient Roman gentes. Yet, almost all gentes, hundreds of them, have matching surnames that survive today.
 
There's no evidence of that.

The evidence must have got lost in the annals of time.

Surname / family nicknames tell us apart!

Family name gives a sense of identity and belonging.

I doubt that people wouldn’t try to hold on to their family names when possible regardless of their Era,
and many Ancient surnames must have made it legitimately to today.
I Think!
 
@Pax
imho it’s possible that many family surnames informally survived as nicknames until renormalizing again later, especially in important families, and those of historical impact.

The problem is to identify the legit families that inherited the ancient original surname, from those who adopted the surname in more recent periods.

Even today, many families have generational nicknames.

When I go back to Italy in my Town on vacation and someone asks me who I am, my last name means nothing to them.

They're actually asking me who I really am, and I have to say my generational family nickname (Father and sometimes Mother side too)

I guess my surname is partially artificial :)

what do you mean nicknames ..............the "detto" ones?

I can agree with this if this is what you refer to


The surnames that have the detto in it, are complex through italian history .................some refer to an occupation, some to a persons trait or mannerisms or even as per my line a reference to a venetian family ( part of the council of 250 ), although removed after 2 generations , circa 1750

then there is the "dalla" ones ............which are completely 100% a maternal link to a different surname
 
what do you mean nicknames ..............the "detto" ones?

I can agree with this if this is what you refer to


The surnames that have the detto in it, are complex through italian history .................some refer to an occupation, some to a persons trait or mannerisms or even as per my line a reference to a venetian family ( part of the council of 250 ), although removed after 2 generations , circa 1750

then there is the "dalla" ones ............which are completely 100% a maternal link to a different surname

from my Father side the multi-generational nickname is an Island in Central Italy famous for its prison.

We have no idea how we got that name, but it’s easy to speculate, maybe my Great great ... Grandpa was sent there on vacation, lol
 
from my Father side the multi-generational nickname is an Island in Central Italy famous for its prison.

We have no idea how we got that name, but it’s easy to speculate, maybe my Great great ... Grandpa was sent there on vacation, lol

my surname comes from a christian name Ropreto/Rupret .............but it does not start with a R

so there are many ways , one has gained a surname .............even in the USA , they misspelled surnames and they heard it presented
 
my surname comes from a christian name Ropreto/Rupret .............but it does not start with a R

so there are many ways , one has gained a surname .............even in the USA , they misspelled surnames and they heard it presented

That doesn't apply to me, I’m a US citizen, but I’m a newcomer,
my name hasn't changed.

... as you know, in Italy my surname is very popular, that's why the need for the extra informal family nickname at the local level.
 
Hi Maciamo. I am R-Z193 though i am from Egypt so this may explain the contradiction between my name and my haplogroup which is very rare in Egypt. I am sure my family used to have a different surname in the past but once converted to Islam they changed their last name. I don't have BigY matches so far but i hope one day i find a match that could help me to know where my ancestors came from, i guess it is a Roman family. I can see some Italian matches in DNA Land website and the closest one's surname is Manzari, it could mean nothing but i am trying and waiting to find strong connection with my old family. I would appreciate if you have any advice.
 
I somehow doubt that. The use of surnames may seem to have disappeared from the historical record because literacy and administration crashed after the Western Roman Empire came to an end. But that doesn't mean that people suddenly forgot what their family or clan name was. The sense of belonging to a family is deeply ingrained in the human psyche and the division of society by families and clans long predates the adoption of writing. What could have happened and surely did happen is that once people stopped writing, family names got corrupted over time, especially as Latin evolved to new languages. If all surnames vanished during the Dark Ages, how do you explain that Latin sounding names survived in Germanised regions that used to be part of the empire (England, Netherlands, Rhineland, South Germany, Austria)? And why do these names coincide with the places most heavily settled by Roman legionaries?

Why would ancient Roman names be more common today in central Italy, and especially around Lazio, than in other parts of Italy? It's not like the whole population of late medieval and Renaissance Latium, which was then heavily Christian and made mostly of uneducated peasants, suddenly took an interest in ancient Roman history and decided to adopt Roman nomina and cognomina to sound more pagan. Even today most people couldn't name 30 ancient Roman gentes. Yet, almost all gentes, hundreds of them, have matching surnames that survive today.


@ Maciamo, surely there will also have been some lucky ones who could have kept memory of its ancient-Roman predecessors even during the Middle Ages. Perhaps some aristocrats, but not even for the Colonna of Rome themselves, descendants of the Counts of Tusculum, who boasted an origin from the gens Julia, it was possible to document illustrious predecessors before the IX century. Many more - even among ordinary people - adopted new onomastic and cognominal strategies precisely between the end of antiquity and the early modern age. In my opinion, fixing on the persistence or not of names is useful to delineate some historical, social and cultural phenomena, but it can be a deadly pitfall to identify the ethnos of individuals or groups.
In the case of Italy, surnames are fixed and consolidated only after the relative provisions of the Council of Trento in 1564, when parish priests are obliged to keep careful note of baptisms in parish registers. In any case, it was a gradual process, if we think that in some rural areas the surnames were even fixed in the XIX century. Before the Tridentine Council and for at least a thousand years the situation of names was absolutely magmatic.


In many European countries, surnames are often patronymic forms. In Italy especially in northern and central Italy they end in "-i", derived from the genitive of a proper name or a nickname, or - according to a more recent theory - of the "plural" referred to and extended to the whole family group , always modeled on the name / nickname of a progenitor.
Now it is true that the choice of the proper name tends to mature in a precise ethnic context (in southern Italy no one would suddenly start baptizing a daughter "Dragana" instead of "Diletta", even if it has basically the same meaning). But let's talk about a situation extremely permeable to other influences and influences, even in a short time or a few generations.
The indigenous people of a region, almost always for reasons of prestige or for intent to assimilate towards their rulers, can assume relatively quickly non-native forms of proper names - and therefore in turn originate surnames with non-local roots. Already the "barbarians" assimilated in the ranks of Rome in the imperial and late ancient ages bore absolutely Latin and / or Romanized names. In the Gallo-Roman world and along all the current territories of continental Europe that you mention, belonging to the Roman Empire, I believe this was almost the norm. Flavius ​​Victor, military general under Constantius II and Valens, was a Sarmatian; Aetius himself was perhaps of Gothic or Scythic stock for his father (who was still called Gaudentius!), and was only Roman / Italic for his mother.


Even the advent of Christianity has considerably renewed the heritage of onomastics, but the assumption of names of biblical-christian tradition, of apostles or prophets, does not immediately make their bearers or the surnames that derive from them Jewish or Middle Eastern.
Here too motivations of social prestige or religious devotion come into play, not infrequently combining among them: many Gothic priests of the Aryan clergy of Ravenna in the mid-sixth century have names of Jewish-Christian origin. In the same years, a lady in Como named Guntelda gave birth to a son called Basilius, a greek name like few others, perhaps exactly at the time when the Byzantines took power in Italy. But Basilius' son goes back to his name Guntio, probably because the Lombards were coming, and re-germanising the name could become more convenient. In essence, in the transition between late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages it is quite certain that whoever wore a Celtic or Germanic coinage name was not an ethnic Roman, while those who adopted Roman names could encrypt an extra-Italic origin, even a recent one (a phenomenon that continued for a long time : see again Bonifacius, Marquis of Tuscany in the middle of the 9th century, who was a Bavarian).


With the Lombards and the Franks arriving in Italy a little later, the Germanic onomastic system clears customs among us and for the same reasons, but inverse to the previous ones, the Italics who are gradually becoming Italian begin to assume names (and later surnames) of origin North European. Now the prestige comes from the new lords who came from the north, and obviously the phenomenon is more accentuated in the regions of the North and Center of the Peninsula, which were directly dominated by them. Italics with a Germanic patina, exactly like a few centuries earlier we found Celts and Germans somewhat latinized along the Rhine and Danubian limes of the Empire.

The fact that cognominal systems derived from the names of the ancient Romans persist in Central Italy doesn't surprise me: we are however talking about that area where the ethnic Romans were indigenous, so either by blood or by direct cultural irradiation it would have been impossible to supplant completely the local onomastic tradition, however courtly. (It may also be the case that we are talking about families of humble origin, but whose ancestors found themselves in the service of landowners and gentlemen from whom they borrowed the name ...).


Other times things get even more complicated. Keep in mind that sometimes the maternal line is the one that has the pre-eminence and can change the name / surname of the family irreversibly, also here almost always for reasons of greater social prestige. Our greatest poet, Dante, in the "Divine Comedy" often made reference and pride to the Roman ancestry of Florentines like him. He was a descendant by paternal line from a Tuscan / Central-Italian aristocratic family, the Elisei, but Dante's great-great-grandfather, Cacciaguida, married a lady from an equally and perhaps even more illustrious family, that one of the "Aldighieri", originally from the Po Valley, from which the descendants then took the surname. Here is another Germanic surname, which is not said to be a spy of authentic Nordic roots, for the same reasons mentioned above.


I don't want to go too far, I haven't focused on other numerous categories of surnames that have imposed themselves over the centuries. Anything is possible in this world, but thinking that ancient names and surnames may have been handed down completely unscathed without considering the heavy and complex medieval passage is at least very risky. I attach a small contribution (in Italian) by Carla Marcato who teaches at the Udine University to give an idea of ​​the extraordinary complexity of this phenomenon

https://edizionicafoscari.unive.it/...xNAeyhZD0Lax9nI_t_WRG6Rir48VxdraipzAl8AsWn5Gk
 
I agree. There is no way of telling with any precision which names might belong to "descendants" of Roman gens. Names arose in too many ways.

Even with "aristocratic" names, although some people might like to claim a genetic relationship with certain prominent families, unless the paper trail is clear, and sometimes not even then, it's much more likely that retainers of some kind adopted the name. That was even more true in Roman times, when "clients" would adopt the family name.

That happened in my mother's maternal family, where "Malaspina", the name of the lords of much of Massa Carrara, appears quite often. No one in her family had any interest in claiming a relationship; socialists and anarchists almost to a man (and woman)! :)

I share their sentiments. That family had no redeeming features; all they ever did was bleed the people try. One of our folk songs talks about the Lunigiana as the land dove "mangian" the Malaspina. Some of the old people used to literally spit when they heard the name, the same as they did when speaking of the Nazis during the war. I'm always reminded of it when I hear the Simon and Garfunkel song "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard", where "mamma looked down and spit on the ground every time my name gets mentioned." :)

Not something to do in the current circumstances.

The other common name which occurs is Ghelfi, so I know which side those ancestors took, and Galletti. Whether the latter means Gauls or that we always loved mushrooms, I don't know. :)

Unfortunately, I don't know the yDna of those people.

My father was U-152, but his name is associated with the military and warfare, so maybe he had a soldier ancestor who, when the tide turned around 1000 AD, took off to the Appennini.

Genetics is a different thing. We do know the y Dna of some of the Republican Era Latins, and we may find out more.
 
@ Maciamo, surely there will also have been some lucky ones who could have kept memory of its ancient-Roman predecessors even during the Middle Ages. Perhaps some aristocrats, but not even for the Colonna of Rome themselves, descendants of the Counts of Tusculum, who boasted an origin from the gens Julia, it was possible to document illustrious predecessors before the IX century. Many more - even among ordinary people - adopted new onomastic and cognominal strategies precisely between the end of antiquity and the early modern age. In my opinion, fixing on the persistence or not of names is useful to delineate some historical, social and cultural phenomena, but it can be a deadly pitfall to identify the ethnos of individuals or groups.
In the case of Italy, surnames are fixed and consolidated only after the relative provisions of the Council of Trento in 1564, when parish priests are obliged to keep careful note of baptisms in parish registers. In any case, it was a gradual process, if we think that in some rural areas the surnames were even fixed in the XIX century. Before the Tridentine Council and for at least a thousand years the situation of names was absolutely magmatic.

I understand that the majority of surnames have changed since the Late Antiquity. But most does not necessarily mean all. My method was to search the FTDNA projects within haplogroups that were confirmed to be found among ancient Latins, or that I predicted will be found among them (note that I had already correctly predicted that ancient Italics would belong to R1b-U152>Z56 and R1b-U152>Z193 many years ago). So these lineages are very probably of Roman/Latin/Italic origin, even outside of Italy. The difficulty was to find modern surnames that "might" have survived through the ages, even if in heavily corrupted form. When it comes to R1b-Z56, R1b-Z193 and R1b-L2>ZZ56, I have only found 33 surnames that could possibly qualify after searching the U152 project and all national projects for western Europe. That's barely 1% of all the current surnames of people with probable Italic Y-DNA. Really not a lot.

You say that Italian surnames were consolidated in 1564 because of the obligation to keep baptism registries. But that's only for written forms. It does not mean that surnames didn't exist before and that they were not inherited from father to son as always before. It's just that they were more likely to "evolve" like the language, with Latin names like Caecinus becoming Cechino or Cecchini or something else.

In many European countries, surnames are often patronymic forms.

This is true especially for Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia and Slavic countries. There are exceptions like Fulfisk in Scandinavia, which I listed among the R1b-Z193 and that do not sound Germanic at all (apart from the Germanised -isk ending) and therefore are more likely to be among the ancient Roman names that ending up one way of another in Scandinavia, perhaps like the Italian Jews of Antiquity ended up in Central and Eastern Europe a few centuries ago.

In countries like the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, many families can trace back their ancestors to the Middle Ages. My oldest genealogical lineage that is not from the high nobility (medieval counts, dukes, etc.) goes back to the early 11th century and that surname hasn't changed in nearly 1000 years. The same is true for British families of Norman origin. The oldest Belgian family can trace its pedigree to the 9th century. And that's just for written records that have luckily survived to this day. That doesn't mean that family names originated at that time. Just that the administration didn't keep records beforehand or that they have been lost.

The indigenous people of a region, almost always for reasons of prestige or for intent to assimilate towards their rulers, can assume relatively quickly non-native forms of proper names - and therefore in turn originate surnames with non-local roots. Already the "barbarians" assimilated in the ranks of Rome in the imperial and late ancient ages bore absolutely Latin and / or Romanized names. In the Gallo-Roman world and along all the current territories of continental Europe that you mention, belonging to the Roman Empire, I believe this was almost the norm. Flavius ​​Victor, military general under Constantius II and Valens, was a Sarmatian; Aetius himself was perhaps of Gothic or Scythic stock for his father (who was still called Gaudentius!), and was only Roman / Italic for his mother.

I know. That's why I didn't list all those non-Italian emperors who adopted the names of famous Roman gentes in my list of prominent Roman gentes. But that's irrelevant for this thread as I only select surnames among the people who have Italic Y-DNA. I am not looking for Latin-sounding names among R1a, R1b-U106, I1, I2-Din and other obviously non-Italic haplogroups!

Even the advent of Christianity has considerably renewed the heritage of onomastics, but the assumption of names of biblical-christian tradition, of apostles or prophets, does not immediately make their bearers or the surnames that derive from them Jewish or Middle Eastern.
Here too motivations of social prestige or religious devotion come into play, not infrequently combining among them: many Gothic priests of the Aryan clergy of Ravenna in the mid-sixth century have names of Jewish-Christian origin. In the same years, a lady in Como named Guntelda gave birth to a son called Basilius, a greek name like few others, perhaps exactly at the time when the Byzantines took power in Italy. But Basilius' son goes back to his name Guntio, probably because the Lombards were coming, and re-germanising the name could become more convenient. In essence, in the transition between late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages it is quite certain that whoever wore a Celtic or Germanic coinage name was not an ethnic Roman, while those who adopted Roman names could encrypt an extra-Italic origin, even a recent one (a phenomenon that continued for a long time : see again Bonifacius, Marquis of Tuscany in the middle of the 9th century, who was a Bavarian).


With the Lombards and the Franks arriving in Italy a little later, the Germanic onomastic system clears customs among us and for the same reasons, but inverse to the previous ones, the Italics who are gradually becoming Italian begin to assume names (and later surnames) of origin North European. Now the prestige comes from the new lords who came from the north, and obviously the phenomenon is more accentuated in the regions of the North and Center of the Peninsula, which were directly dominated by them. Italics with a Germanic patina, exactly like a few centuries earlier we found Celts and Germans somewhat latinized along the Rhine and Danubian limes of the Empire.

I completely agree. Many people changed their surnames because it was socially or culturally advantageous to do so. When people converted to Christianity, many people chose to adopt Christian surnames to replace their pagan ones. When Germanic people became the new rulers and nobility, some people dropped their old family name to adopt Germanic ones either to socio-political reasons, or simply to "fit in". Let's not forget all the non-paternity events that would have caused a lot of discrepancies between Y-DNA lineage and surnames. The advantage of having Y-DNA is that we can already reject all the Latin surnames with Germanic Y-DNA (e.g. medieval nobles of Germanic descent raping peasant girls or using their jus primae noctis).


(It may also be the case that we are talking about families of humble origin, but whose ancestors found themselves in the service of landowners and gentlemen from whom they borrowed the name ...).

The Roman tradition for adopted people or servants who adopted their master's cognomen was to change the -us ending to -ianus. So a servant of the Aemilii family would become an Aemilianus, and over time Emiliano or Emilani in modern central and northern Italy. In southern Italy though, these names became "Di/De + surname", as in D'Emiliani, Di Marco, Di Tullio...

Other times things get even more complicated. Keep in mind that sometimes the maternal line is the one that has the pre-eminence and can change the name / surname of the family irreversibly, also here almost always for reasons of greater social prestige. Our greatest poet, Dante, in the "Divine Comedy" often made reference and pride to the Roman ancestry of Florentines like him. He was a descendant by paternal line from a Tuscan / Central-Italian aristocratic family, the Elisei, but Dante's great-great-grandfather, Cacciaguida, married a lady from an equally and perhaps even more illustrious family, that one of the "Aldighieri", originally from the Po Valley, from which the descendants then took the surname.

Yes, but these cases are very rare. Anyway I am not saying that my method is fool-proof. We can only suppose, never be certain. Ideally we should find people from different regions and countries with similar surnames (or derived from cognomina of the same gens) and exactly the same deep clade (with a TMRCA within 2500 years). For example within a same clade I found someone in England with the surname Curtis who matched an Italian with the surname Curti or Corti and a third German individual named Curtius (the surname exist in the Rhineland and South Germany, though rare), then we would have a solid case for the gens Curtia belonging to that deep clade. For example, so far I found 3 individuals with surnames matching cognomina of the gens Cornelia who all belonged to R1b-L2>ZZ56. Evene better, all the patrician gentes of Sabine origin seem to fit within R1b-Z193! That cannot be just a coincidence.
 

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