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Posts Tagged ‘Kingdom of Two Sicilies’

19th century map of Southern Italy, featuring ...

19th century map of Southern Italy, featuring the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and the islands of Sardinia and Malta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Giuseppe, (often shortened to Pepe or Pepino), translates from the Italian to the English as Joseph. Joe or Joey are the English nick names usually associated with Joseph. There were a lot of Joes in my family. There was Joe, Big Joe and Little Joe, Uncle Joe, Joe the Minister and Joey. I was Joey.
In the Southern Italian tradition one named the first son after the paternal grandfather hence my name, Joe. The second son was named after the father. My father’s name was Giacomo, James in English although for most of his life he was called Jack or Blackie. My brother’s name of course is James. My grandfathers younger brother’s name was also James. My uncle’s name, the second born of my grandfather was Joe.The maternal grandfather only got the second name of the first-born son. My middle name is Eugene. That is the name of my mother’s father. Maybe his name was also bestowed on the third son. I do not know, I only have one brother.

How they name female children in Southern Italy I do not know either. Probably they name the eldest Maria. My sister is named Mary. My mothers eldest sister’s name was Maria. Her brother was named Joe (the minister). My grandfathers eldest sister was named Mary. On the other hand my fathers only sister was named Marcella. Go figure.

This could have made family gatherings even more confusing than they were. However, another Southern Italian tradition came to the rescue. Boys were given nick-names. Thankfully we used the names described above, otherwise I could have been named “Joe the Meatball” or some such like the mobsters in the movies. Girls did not have nicknames as far as I know.

This tradition, like all traditions of immigrants to the United States of America that were considered odd was discarded by the first generation in our efforts to assimilate . Those traditions that remained were either, culinary (pizza and pasta), docile, like religious festivals, adaptable, like the supposed emotionalism of the Italian or heroic, like glorification of italian gangsters. So be it. I named my children Jason and Jessica like everyone else at the time. I doubt that they are even translatable into Italian. My relatives in Italy refer to them as Yason and Yessica.

 

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