Sample Last Name Histories

Sample History: Donovan World history has seldom been influenced more by any other race than by that of the Irish people. Not only does Ireland have the world's oldest standing structure, was home to the earliest missionaries to Scotland and England and was possessed of a refined culture, but there is also reasonable claim to the statement that the Irish were the first settlers in North America.

Entwined amongst the romantic chronicles of this great land is the distinguished history of the Irish sept Donovan. The works of O'Hart, McLysaght and O'Brien, the Four Masters and Woulfe, supplemented by church baptismals, parish records, and ancient land grants, have been used to reconstruct the family name history.

We found that the family name Donovan was first recorded in county Limerick where they were seated from very ancient times at Bruree, on there hereditary territory on the lands along the banks of the river Maigues in that county. They were descended from Crom, the Chief of the Donovans, who built Crom Castle, and he in turn was descended anciently from Eoghan Mor (Eugene the Great), King of Munster. Amhailgadh II's son, Crom's great-great-grandfather, was a commander with King Brian Boru in the Battle of Clontarf against the Danes, and it was at this time through marriage that they lost the throne of Munster.

Several spelling variations of the name were found in the archives and most of these variations were the result of families translating the name from the Gaelic into English. Recorded versions of the name Donovan included Donovan, Donavon, Donavan, Donevan, Donnovan, Donnavon, Donnavan, Donnovin, O'Donovan, and many more. Frequently a name was spelled several different ways during the lifetime of the same person, when he or she was born, married and died.

The legendary Kings of Ireland, some 1500 years B.C., were descended from King Milesius of Spain, the grandson of Breoghan (Brian), King of Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Castile and Portugal. Milesius turned his attention northward to Ireland to fulfill an ancient Druidic prophecy. He sent an army to explore this fertile island. On finding that his son had been murdered by the three resident Irish Kings (the Danans), Milesius vengefully gathered another army. He died before he embarked on the voyage but his surviving eight sons conquered Ireland.

Heremon, eldest son of Milesius, reigned in Ireland for fourteen years, along with his brothers Heber, Ir, and Ithe. They named the land Scota or Scotia, their mother's name, the land of the Scots. This name would later be taken by the Irish King Colla in 357 A.D., when he was exiled to Scotland, leaving the name `Ir-land', land of Ir, the youngest of the four sons of Milesius, to the Emerald Isle.

The great Gaelic family of Donovan emerged in later years in Limerick. However with the Anglo-Norman invasion by Strongbow in 1172, the Donovans were forced to move south west to county Cork. Later, the Donovans rebelled against the Cromwellian invasion in the 17th century, they lost most of their lands, moving to many parts of Ireland, and even to France where they joined the Irish Brigade. Notable amongst the family at this time was Donovan of Limerick.

In 1172 A.D., Dermott McMurrough, King of Leinster, requested King Henry II of England for assistance in achieving the Kingship of all Ireland. Through treachery, many proud native Irish families lost their chiefships, territories and the spoils were divided amongst the Norman knights and nobles. This was followed by Cromwell's invasion in 1640 and later, Ulster in the north was seeded with Protestant Scottish and English.

In 1845, the great potato famine caused widespread poverty, and the exodus from Ireland began. Many Irish joined the fleet of sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Holyhead, Liverpool, and Glasgow, bound for the New World or to Australia. Some romantics called these ships the White Sails while others, more realistically called these vessels the "Coffin Ships", because 30% to 40% of the passengers died of disease and the elements.

In America, some of the first migrants which could be considered kinsmen of the sept Donovan and of that same family were Daniell Donavan who settled in the Barbados in 1680; Ann, Bat, Bridget, and Catharine Donavan all settled in Boston Mass. between 1847 and 1850; they also settled in Philadelphia Pa., Maryland, and New York; Cornelius, Daniel, Denis, James, Jeremiah, John and Martin Donovan all settled in Philadelphia Pa. between 1774 and 1880; the Donovans also settled in California and New York; Daniel Donevan settled in Salem Mass. in 1823; Florence Donevan settled in Boston Mass. in 1849; Patrick Donevan settled in Philadelphia in 1865; Daniel Donnovan settled in Philadelphia in 1835, followed by Cornelius in 1850; Timothy Donnovin settled in Maryland in 1776. In Newfoundland, the Donovans settled in Harbour Main, Quidi Vidi, St. John, Carbonear, Harbour Grace, Melrose, Port de Grave and many more from 1756 to 1871.

In the New World the Irish played an important part in building the nation, the railroads, coal mines, bridges and canals. They lent their culture to the arts, sciences, commerce, religion and the professions.

The Irish moved westward with the wagon trains, and settled the mid west, some trekking over the Rockies to the distant west coast. During the American War of Independence some were loyal to the cause, joining the Irish Brigades. Others were loyal to the Crown, and moved north into Canada, becoming known as the United Empire Loyalists and being granted lands on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Niagara Peninsula.

Meanwhile, the family name Donovan produced many prominent people Professor Desmond Thomas Donovan, Geology, University of London; Hedley Donovan, Editor in Chief, Time Inc.

The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was:

Silver, an arm issuing from the sinister side of the shield, holding a scian blade up entwined with a serpent.

The Crest was:

A gold falcon alighting


Sample History: Gauthier The family name Gauthier is believed to have originated in Languedoc in the south of France. Its capital is Toulouse. The Romans occupied the region in the year 120 B.C. Vandales, Sueves and the Visigoths and later Franks overran Languedoc in the 5th century. The capital, Toulouse, was also the capital of the ancient kingdom of Aquitaine. The family name Gauthier was first found in Languedoc, where this celebrated family was seated since ancient times.

History has changed the spelling of most surnames. Usually a person spoke his version of his name, phonetically, to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, we have variations in your name, Gauthier, some of which are Gauthier, Gauthié, Gauthyer, Gauthyé, Gauthiait, Gauthiai, Gauthiaie, Gauthiay, Gauthiez, Gothier, Gothié, Gothyé, Gothyer, Gothiait, Gothiai, Gothiaie, Gothiay, Gothiez, Gauthyait, Gauthyai, Gauthyaie, Gauthyay, Gauthyez, Gautier, Gauithier, Gautiez, Gautiait, Gautiaie, Gautiaies, Gautiais, Gautiai, Gautyer, Gautyez, Gautyait, Gautyaie, Gautyaies, Gautyaie, Gautyais, Gautherii, Gottier, to distinguish but a few.

Moors invaded Languedoc in the 10th century. During the 11th and 12th century Languedoc was invaded by the Lords of Toulouse. It fell prey to the ambitions of the Kings of Aragon and of the Capetians. In the 16th century the region also suffered from the religious conflicts of the time.

The name Gauthier was found in Languedoc, where this illustrious family were seated with lands and manor. The Gauthier of Savignac family was granted the title of the Lords of Doumairène and in the late 11th century, they contributed to the foundation of Villefranche. Descending from the original line of Rouergue, the members of this illustrious family branched to Quercy in 1454 where Jean Gauthier was granted the right to be the Co-Lord of Savignac and Cabanes. As a result of the Gauthiers' involvement in their community, this eminent family received their letters patent confirming their noble status on June 2, 1669. Many branches of the family formed with different spellings due to the cultural and linguistic variations throughout France over the centuries. The Gaultier of Girenton family were the Lords of Châteauneuf of Rouge, Lirac, Le Poët, Costebrune, Lauriol and the Marquis of Châteauneuf in 1723. Continuing to branch under names of spellings, the Gautier family provided the Lords of Grambois, Mille and Rustrel, a Councillor of Marseille in 1568 and a Secretary to the King in 1624. As well, this branch provided the Lords of Aiguines, Canjuers, Clumans, barons of Senez and three Knights of Malta from 1643 to 1717. In recognition of their valiant conduct in battle, members of the family of this distinguished branch were granted the titles of the Lords of Gardanne, la Mole, Valabres and four became Knights of Malta from 1642 to 1746. Members of this branch were also highly involved in the political events of the times and as a result, a member of the family became the Attorney General in the Parliament and several members were Councillors. Branching to Aix, the members of the family were the Lords of Vernègues and were granted nobility in 1723 and had this status confirmed in 1772 and 1778. Distinctive among the Gautier of La Lauziere family was a Commissioner of the Navy at Marseille in 1714. Several members of the Gauthier, Gautherii family from the county of Nice participated in politics as Councillors in the district of Provence. Henri, Count of Savignac, Lord of Meuvaine in Lower Normandy, is recorded at Moisac in 1788 when he played an important role in his community. Notable amongst the family name at this time was Henri Gauthier was the Count of Savignac and the Lord of Meuvaine in the 1700's.

France adopted the role of European cultural leadership in the early 16th century. The New World challenged. The explorers led missionaries to North America who settled in New France, New England, New Holland, and New Spain. Jacques Cartier made the first of three voyages to New France in 1534. Champlain came in 1608. He made twenty voyages to France to attract settlers. He brought the first true migrant, Louis Hebert, a Parisian apothecary, and his family, who arrived in 1617.

In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. Migration was slow. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the French Acadian presence in the Maritimes had reached 500. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada.

Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Gauthier were Joseph Gauthier, aged 32, settled in New York in 1821; Charles Gautier settled in New York in 1838; J.J. Gautier aged 32, settled in New Orleans in 1823; Jaques Gautier settled with his wife, Jeanne Susan Cochet and daughters, Margaret Susan 9, M. 6, Rachel 5 and son Isaac 2 in America in 1753; Pierre Gautier settled in Philadelphia in 1753; and John Gottier settled in Charles Town in 1772. Nicolas Gauthier, a native of France, married Jeanne Moreau in 1680 and they had a son, Joseph-Nicolas. Nicolas was a Captain of Arms in Port-Royal and died in 1715 the same year in which his son married Marie Allain and inherited his father-in-law's commercial businesses. Joseph became one of the richest inhabitants of Acadia by developing the businesses.

The family name Gauthier has made many distinguished contributions in France and New France to the world of science, culture, religion, and education: George James Gauthier, Chemist, Mystic, Connecticut; Newton Perry Gautier, Superintendent of Schools, Pascagoula, Mississippi; Jean Paul Gaultier, French Fashion Designer.

During the course of our research we also determined the most ancient Coat of Arms recorded against this family name Gauthier.

The Coat of Arms for the family name Gauthier was: On a gold background there is a red band showing by six blackbirds.

The crest for the family name Gauthier was: A black eagle.

The family motto was: "A chacun sa vue" (French, meaning "For each, his own vision.")


Sample History: Kowalski Five lands: Wielkopolska (Great Poland), Malopolska (Little Poland), Pomorze (Pomerania), Slask (Silesia) and Mazowsze (Mazovia) constituted the original Polish state when it was established in the 10th century. During the following years, all the regions frequently changed hands, often acquiring new cultural identities. The process has, over the years, modelled the Polish heritage, which is no more based on the endemic Polish tradition, than it is on the cultures brought to the country by its conquerors.

The earliest records of the name Kowalski come from Mazowsze, a historical region of Poland located along the middle section of the Vistula River. Although one of the original Polish lands, Mazovia had been considered an independent state since 1234. In the 15th century Mazowsze acknowledged Polish authority over its territory; nevertheless, until 1526 it was still referred to as an autonomous state. Between 1526 and 1569 parts of Mazovia were systematically annexed by Poland. Mazovian political and artistic life has been focused on Warsaw since the 15th century, when the city became the capital of the region.

Two centuries later, in 1611, Warsaw was proclaimed the capital of Poland. Despite numerous invasions, including the Russian occupation during the partitions of Poland in the 18th century, Warsaw grew to be the main intellectual center of Poland, and it was there that a number of uprisings against the foreign rulers were initiated. The deeply Polish character of the city and the region attracted noble families with a strong interest in maintaining the Polish national identity.

Kowalski is one of the most common surnames in contemporary Poland; its unusual popularity can be explained in linguistic terms: it is a derivative of the word "kowal" meaning "blacksmith" in Polish and, since this used to be a rather common profession, there were many bearers of the name. In addition, variations of the name exist including Kowalski, Kowalsky, Kowelski, Kowelsky, Kowalewski, Kowalowsky, Kowalowski, Kowal, Kowalczyk, Kowalek, Kowalewski, Kowalewsky, Kowalkowski, Kowalkowsky, and many more. It is thus virtually impossible to track the lineage down to one original house. The earliest records show Benedykt Kowalski of Sieradz, who in 1401 founded St. Paul's Monastery in Wieruszow, and died in 1409 in Malbork, in a battle against the Teutonic Order; Stanistow Kowalewski, a huntsman (master of the chase) in Kiev. In 1670, he was a commissioner for treaties with Moscow. Jan Kowalewski recieved the title of nobility in 1659 and Marcin Kowalewski was a Captain in Marshall Lubomirski regiment. He was captured by Turks and 40 years later rasomed. He was released in 1727.

Cultural and intellectual life in Mazovia was very dynamic in spite of strict censorship on the part of the foreign authorities. Among the most important institutions founded in Warsaw were: the National Theatre (1779), the University of Warsaw (1816), the Museum of Fine Arts (1862), the Polish Theatre (1813) and the National Museum (1916). This inevitably attracted artists from all over Europe and gave the city a special status among the most important European cultural centers. The Kowalski lineage is well-represented in the artistic world with the most acknowledged personalities being: Henri Kowalski (1841-1916), a pianist and composer of Polish and Irish origin, who lived most of his life in Paris, and Max Kowalski (1882-1956), a German composer of Polish birth.

In 1939 Mazovia was invaded by Germany from the west, and by the Soviet Union from the east. The new Soviet-German border, pre-arranged by the foreign ministers of Germany (Ribbentrop) and the Soviet Union (Molotov), was the Vistula River. Before the outbreak of World War II, Warsaw and the surrounding Mazovian areas hosted one of the biggest European Jewish populations, and hence they were of particular interest to the Nazi authorities. In fact, soon after the city was invaded by German troops, the Warsaw Ghetto was opened to isolate the Jewish part of the population. The same policy was employed in other major centers, among which was the nearby city of Lodz, also characterized by a large Jewish population. The liquidation of the ghettos involved extermination of their inhabitants in the concentration camps of southern Poland; this was accompanied by extermination of the non-Jewish population of Mazovia. Warsaw alone lost over sixty thousand people during World War II.

Modern historians often see the failure of the Warsaw Uprising and the subsequent liberation of the city by the Soviet troops as one of the forces determining Poland's political direction after the war. The socialist regime was not commonly accepted and, in fact, many people emigrated in the years to follow.

The first Pole in Canada was reported in 1752; in the following years five major waves of immigration can be identified: 1,000 Polish immigrants arrived between 1858 and 1894, 119,600 arrived between 1895 and 1913, 55,500 between 1920 and 1939, 67,000 between 1946 and 1956, and 42,000 between 1957 and 1982. Although many newcomers quickly blended with their local communities, there is a relatively strong Polish ethnic group in Canada, and its influence on the Canadian political and cultural life has been investigated by the Polish-Canadian Research Institute since its establishment in 1956.

The earliest North-American records of an immigrant named Kowalski or one of the many variants came in 1875 when Jozef Kowalski arrived in Philadelphia and Francis Kowalski who arrived in New York in 1901. In the following years, members of the lineage were slowly, and not painlessly, absorbed by the American and Canadian establishments. Karen Thompson's book "Why Can't Sharon Kowalski Come Home?", has probably been the most vocal acknowledgment of the existence of the Kowalski lineage in North America. Another contemporary bearer of the name, Robert E. Kowalski, is a well-known doctor and author of numerous books linking cardiovascular diseases to high-cholesterol diets; his works offer a new way of preventing heart disease through appropriate dieting.

The earliest coat of arms of the Kowalski family is:

A red shield with a sword, two stars and a crescent.


Sample History: MacGregor The world would be a much lesser place without the tremendous fighting spirit of the Scottish Highland clans.

From the desolate, sea-swept Hebridean Islands and the croft-scattered western coast, this surname has emerged as belonging to one of the great families whose tradition is romanticized by the skirl of the bagpipes, the brandished sword, the colourful kilt and the highland games.

Historical researchers, using some of the oldest manuscripts, including Clan genealogies, the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, the Ragman Rolls, the Inquisition, the Black Book of the Exchequer, parish cartularies, baptismal records, tax records and many other manuscripts, found the name MacGregor in Argyllshire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Spelling variations of the name MacGregor caused much confusion in research. These changes occurred for a variety of reasons. From time to time the surname was spelled MacGregor, MacGrigor, MacGrioghair (Gaelic), and these changes in spelling occurred, sometimes even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a clansman to be born with one spelling, marry with another, and yet another to appear on his headstone. Sometimes a different spelling indicated a religious or clan loyalty to a branch or chieftain.

The Dalriadan race of the Hebrides was anciently descended from the early Irish Kings, specifically King Colla da Crioch, who was banished from Ireland in 327 A.D., along with 350 clan chiefs. Even now, there are Scottish highland clans who still call themselves the "Children of Colla". Dalriadan King Fergus Mor MacEarca defeated the Picts, their neighbours to the east, in 498 A.D. Kenneth MacAlpine, first King of Scotland, or Alba, or Caledonia, as it was known, was half Dalriadan, half Pict.

The Highland Clans were a different breed. In early history many battles were fought with the Scottish King in Edinburgh. Bonnie Prince Charlie finally rallied their support for his claim to the throne which culminated at Culloden in 1745.

The surname MacGregor emerged as a Scottish Clan or family in their territory of Argyll where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates in that shire. They were directly descended from King Alpin, High King of Scotland who died in 860. The MacGregors have always held their superior claim to the throne of Scotland. They were the principal branch of the Siol Alpine, an ancient Clan group descended from King Alpin. For their assistance to King Alexander the MacGregors held vast territories in Argyll and Perthshire. However, their neighbours, the Campbells were jealous of their status and over the next three or four centuries they proceeded to erode the territories and image of the MacGregors. They were first known as "Children of the Mist" and were finally outlawed in 1603 after their great battle with the Clan Colquhoun. Rob Roy MacGregor was the Clan hero. Another chieftain migrated to America where he was scalped by Indians. They were finally forgiven by Queen Victoria in 1888. The pine is the Clan's plant badge, their war cry is "Ard-choille" and the pipe music is Ruaig Ghlinne Freoine (Chase of Glen Fruin). One of the tartans is made of of red, black and yellow setts. Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Rob Roy MacGregor.

For the next two or three centuries the surname MacGregor played an important role in the highlands and in the affairs of Scotland. However, typical of the ancient conflict between highlander and Edinburgh, many ancient highland clans have still not officially been recognized as clans by the Lord Lyon of Scotland.

Many clansmen of Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries. They were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. 16 families settled in Derry.

However, to many, life in Ireland became a disillusionment. Conditions were little better than in their homeland. Poverty prevailed, and the religious conflicts remained, except that now they were in a strange land and without the support and kinship of the clan. The New World beckoned to the adventurous.

Clansmen sailed aboard the small sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic, ships such as the Hector, the Rambler and the Dove, indenturing themselves for as long as ten years to pay their passage. These ships were originally designed for 100 passengers, but frequently sailed with 400 to 500 people on board. Many ships arrived with only 60 to 70% of their overcrowded passenger list alive, the rest dying at sea.

In North America, the Highlanders settled Virginia, the Carolinas, Pictou, Nova Scotia and the Ottawa Valley. Some of the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the name MacGregor, or of that same Clan or family, were Duncan McGregor settled in South Carolina in 1716, along with Mall; Gregor McGregor settled in Virginia along with John in 1716; John McGregor settled in Boston in 1766; Duncan, John, Joseph, Peter, Robert and William McGregor all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; Greggie and Jane Macgregor settled in Georgia in 1737.

The American War of Independence found many who were loyal to their new cause, while others remaining loyal to the Crown trekked north to Canada and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Many prominent people enjoy the distinction of this name and they include: Kelvin McGregor, American Lawyer; Sir George McGregor, New Zealand Judge; Malcolm McGregor, Canadian Professor of the Classics; Air Marshall Andrew McGregor; Sir Colin MacGregor, Chief Justice in Jamaica; Duncan MacGregor, Dentist; Edward MacGregor, British Diplomat; Hon. Sir George MacGregor, Judge.

The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was: Silver with an oak tree surmounted by a sword on its tip a red crown.

The Crest was: A black lion's head with an antique crown.

The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was: "S rioghal Mo Dhream" (Royal is my race).


Sample History: Perelli Research into the prominent family name Perelli reveals origins in the proud and culturally rich Italian region of Lombardy. The surname Perelli has been located in the city of Pavia, where records are found in 1040 with Manfredi and Arizzone Pietra, feudal Lords of the territories of Pietra, Bissone, and Costa.

Various forms of the name exist, which are the result of different pronunciations across dialects. The forms include Pietri, Petri, Petris, Pedri, Pieri, Pero, Pierri, Pierro, Perris, Peire, Peiro, Peyro, De Pietri, De Pietro, Di Pietro, Di Pietro, De Petris, De Pero, Petrovic, Perich, Peric, Perovich, Pietrini, Pietrucci, Pietroni, Petrelli, Petrello, Petrella, Petrilli, Petrillo, Petrini, Petrin, Petrina, Petracchi, Petrachi, Petracca, Petacca, Petraccone, Petrarca, Petrarchi, Pierazzoli, Pierazzoni, Pieralli, Pierallini, Pierattini, Pierattoni, Perelli, Perello, Perella, Perilli, Perillo, Perillio, Peretti, Peretto, Perini, Perino, Perin, Perinelli. While this list is quite extensive, many more variants are found, too numerous to mention here.

The region of Lombardy is named after a tribe from northwest Germany, the Lombards, who invaded northern Italy in 568. They conquered the central and parts of the southern regions of Italy. Areas of southern Italy at this time were occupied by the Eastern Byzantine Empire. Before the invasion of the Lombards, Italy became part of the Ostrogothic Empire. The Lombards soon adopted the language and lifestyle of the native Roman civilization.

Italy was invaded by the Franks in the middle of the 8th century. It came under Frankish rule first under Pepin and then under Charlemagne the Emperor, who became king of the Franks and of the Lombards.

In the 12th century, the Lombard League was formed in order to protect the area of Lombardy from other surrounding nations which threatened the safety of the people. This League was supported by the Pope and Venice, which was already an important merchant centre. However, the Lombard League did not last long in the face of the dynasties. At this time, there were three main dynasties: the Scaligers, the Este family, and the Visconti dynasty, which was the most powerful of the three. Lombardy was then divided among them all and turned into several regional states. Italy was then controlled by the Spaniards for two hundred years with the Treaty of Cateau/Cambresis in 1559, and controlled Italy for nearly two hundred years.

The surname Perelli has been traced in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Sicily, Pavia, Naples, Milan, Venice, and Siena. From this lineage, a very famous individual is Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch, considered to be one of the four great Italian poets. Born in Florence in the 14th century, one of his most famous poems is entitled "Il Canzoniere". Riccardo Petroni was a Cardinal in Siena in 1313; Cola Petruccioli was a painter in Perugia in 1401 whose works can be seen at the Cathedral of Assisi and in Orvieto; Nicol Pierozzi was elected Archbishop of Florence in 1445; Lodovico Petroni was Senator of Rome in 1451; Pandolfo Petrucci was Lord of Siena in 1452; Ottaviano Petrucci, born in Fossombrone in 1466, is considered to be the inventor of music printing from movable type. This new printing process required three impressions - one for staves, another for notes and a final copy for texts. He printed everything for the Papal States for a number of years. Alfonso Petrucci was a Cardinal in Siena in 1492. Fantino Petrignani was Governor of Romagna in 1594; Francesco Petrobelli was a church musician and was choirmaster at the Padua Cathedral in 1651. Two centuries later was Enrico Petrella (1813-77), famous operatic composer from Palermo who composed 25 operas in his life, his first accomplished at age 16. Some of his most famous operas were "Marco Visconti", in 1854, "Jone" in 1858 and "I promessi sposi" completed in 1869. All his operas were written in the old "buffo" style.

Lombardy finally came under Italian leadership in 1859 and fully unified in 1861. Before this time, emigration was strongly discouraged. Settlers of the Perelli lineage include a Pieretto who arrived in New Orleans in 1822 at the age of 23; Lina Petri settled in Texas in 1861; August Petronella emigrated to Philadelphia in 1868. Many emigrants came and settled in large numbers in New York and Toronto where they have formed large popular Italian communities. Italians have had a strong impact upon North America with their strong enterprising spirit and industrious nature. Of these, noteworthy members of the Perelli family include Stephen Petronio, a descendant of these early settlers. Born in 1956, he is an American dancer and choreographer in New Jersey and has established his own troupe, which continues to gain fame. Ironically, he was studying medicine at college when a chance visit to a dance class changed his future. He began choreographing while still a member of Trisha Brown's company (1979-86) and has continued with many successes.

The earliest Coat of Arms for this family is:

A gold shield with a red stripe and five roses.


Sample History: Schmidt The distinguished surname Schmidt can be traced back to Brandenburg, the birthplace of modern Germany. Historically known as Brandenburg-Prussia, this region eventually expanded to incorporate the Rhineland, Westphalia, Hannover, parts of Saxony, Pomerania, Silesia, and Hessen. The Germanic Semnonen tribe lived here, then the Slavic tribe of the Heveler, who held this territory until the arrival of the Christian Saxons.

Bearers of the family name Schmidt were found in the northern provinces that were later to make up Prussia, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region.

Family names undergo changes in spelling or pronunciation throughout their history. Additions of a phrase at the beginning or end of the root name became a quite common indicator of a person's character, place of origin, or religious beliefs. In the Middle Ages, scribes would often record a name simply by its sound. Therefore the numerous variations of the name Schmidt include Schmidt (northern Germany), Schmid (southern Germany), Schmitz (Rhineland), Schmied, Schmitt, Smith (English), Smit, to name a few examples.

Albrecht the Bear, margrave in 1184, drove the Slavic tribe of the Wenden eastwards, naming the conquered territories Brandenburg. In 1323, members of the Bavarian nobility became rulers until the Emperor replaced them with the Hohenzollern dynasty, who made Berlin their capital in 1486 and introduced the Reformation in 1539. The Hohenzollerns continued their expansion by gaining possession of East and West Prussia, as well as the duchy of Cleve on the Rhine. In 1701, Frederick I crowned himself King of Prussia in the East Prussian capital of Koenigsberg, naming his entire country Prussia, after the former inhabitants the Prussen.

During this period of change, the family name Schmidt moved to Prussia, where they emerged as a notable family name within the territories of northern Germany early in the Middle Ages. One branch of the Schmidt family took the Latin form of the name, "Fabricius"; after being named to the nobility they were among the first to use the German form of their name, but were forced by the violence of the Thirty Year's War (1618-1648) to flee their lands and settle in Brandenburg. There were many houses of the same family name and they branched to many locations, even some to distant regions where members of the family were enlisted mainly into military, political or religious service. Schmidts have been traced to Sweden, Rotterdam, and almost all regions of Germany of the 17th and 18th centuries, including Silesia, Saxony, Berlin, Mecklenburg, and as far south as Switzerland. Among the many examples we found of ennobled bearers of this name in the 16th century are: Martin Schmidt of Goerlitz, emissary to Moscow for Kaiser Maximilian I, who was ennobled in 1537; Johann Fabricius, the founding ancestor of the Schmidt auf Altenstadt baronial dynasty, who served Kaiser Maximilian II with distinction in the campaigns against the Turks and was ennobled in 1564.

Many bearers of this name were raised to the nobility in the 18th and 19th centuries for outstanding civil service, including Johann Christian Schmidt in 1752, and Gerhard von Schmidt, a prominent Prussian privy councillor, in 1787. Prominent bearers of the family name Schmidt during this time period were Bernhard Schmidt (1630-1708), known as "Father Smith", who was a famous organ builder; Georg Philipp Schmidt (1766-1849), known as "Schmidt from Luebeck", who was a physician and Romantic poet; Friederich Wilhelm Schmidt (1764-1838), who was a Prussian pastor and poet; Christoph von Schmid (1768-1854), Roman Catholic priest and writer of Christmas carols, who was ennobled in 1837; Hermann Theodor Schmid (1815-1880), Bavarian civil servant and prolific author who was ennobled in 1876; Karl von Schmidt (1817-1875), Prussian calvary general, who fought in the Franco-German war and later made the Prussian calvary the most efficient calvary then in existence; and Erich Schmidt (1853-1918) was a literary historian and editor of Goethe's works.

Prussia gained strength as the rulers promoted settlement of its agricultural and industrial regions by skilled workers and craftsmen. Prussia became a haven for political and religious refugees, including Salzburg Protestants and the French Huguenots.

The greatest King was Frederick II, whose reform of the civil service, the cultivation of the land, and encouragement of industrial development made Prussia the unifying force behind the German empire. The Prussian army became the most feared and respected military force in Europe. Frederick's successors were defeated by Napoleon, and Prussia was divided in half. However, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 gave the rich territories of the Rhineland and of Westphalia to Prussia. Prussian strength was due to Bismarck, who defeated Austria and Denmark. By 1871, Germany was united under Prussian power in the Franco-Prussian War. In 1919, Prussia became a state of the new Weimar Republic, only to be incorporated into the German Democratic Republic in 1952, after giving its lands east of the Oder river to Poland.

The flow of migration to the New World began around 1650, and continued well into the 20th century. Pockets of German settlements include Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, California, and Ohio. In Canada, German settlements centered around Ontario and the Prairies. Settlers bearing the family name Schmidt include Anna Maria Schmidt, who came to New York State in 1710, and Johannes Schmidt came to Germantown, Pennsylvania between 1683 and 1709. Arnd Schmidt emigrated with his family and with many other Schmidts to England or America in 1709; of the over one hundred Schmidts who landed in Philadelphia between 1720 and 1760 we found: Georg Michael Schmidt in 1732, Georg Schmidt in 1728, Andreas Schmidt in 1737, and Elias Schmidt in 1752. Heinrich Friedrich Schmidt came with his wife Lisette Teufel and their three children to Texas in 1845. Johann Heinrich Schmidt came to Georgia in 1738. Heinrich Schmidt arrived in Canada in 1783, and Peter Schmitz came to Texas in 1846.

The prominent figures with the surname Schmidt in our modern period include Franz Schmidt (1874-1939), who was a Viennese composer, pianist and cellist; Arno Schmidt (1910-1979), who was a controversial experimental writer; Helmut Schmidt (b.1918) was chancellor of West Germany from 1974-82; Adolph Schmidt (b.1904) was U.S. ambassador to Canada 1969-74.

The oldest Coat of Arms of the family name Schmidt is:

A blue shield displaying a lion bearing a black hammer.

The Crest of the family name is:

A black hammer.

The family motto is: "Virtus nobilitat" (Virtue ennobles).



below is only a SAMPLE coat of arms.

We have the largest and best quality family crests \ family coat of arms products on the web. Our Family Crests are offered at the most reasonable prices on the web. If you can find a Coat of Arms at a lower price, please let us know, so we can adjust our prices lower. Our goal is to remain number one in quality & price for all family crest \ coats of arms products.


Back to Home Page.


Last Updated: December 9th, 2017

Find your Last Name Meaning \ Name Origin Now !


The source material used for our family coats of arms and histories has been chosen for their reliability and authenticity. Note: 1) the specific individual to whom the original arms was granted normally is unknown, as the specific person was not recorded along with the arms description; 2) coats of arms are sometimes called family crests, family shields, family shield or code of arms 3) a surname history complements a genealogical search - we do not provide a genealogy of a specific family.

We can apply your coat of arms / family crest to a stein, flag, mug, plaque, print, embroidery, t-shirt, sweatshirt, jpg download, glassware, coasters, mouse pad, keychain, ring, watch, engraved, plate, image, flask, tatoo, cross stitch, sticker, patch, hat, cap, tshirt and much much more. As seen at Disneyland, Disneyworld, Caesars Palace, Halbert's and many other places.

Free Family Crests / Free Coat of Arms / Free Image Download

family crest search coat of arms rings family crest rings