Amiguano, Italy? Did Gramps make this place up?
August 24, 2008 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Can anybody tell me anything about Amiguano, Italy?

My grandfather and great-grandfather emigrated from Italy, arriving at Ellis Island in 1912 from "Amiguano," Italy. I can find nothing at all about this city- google maps search suggests "Omignano," in Salerno. I've checked the origin listed at as well as the scan of the ship registry and both say "Amiguano." My dad and all his sibs are dead, and mom knows nothing.

"Amiguano" sounds Spanish- did Mussolini Italian-ize place names or something?
posted by ethnomethodologist to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
Best answer: Is the place name written in cursive? I can see a capital O looking a lot like a capital A, and a lowercase cursive u looking like an n...I bet Omignano is totally the right place!

My grandparents thought their folks were from a place called Randazio, which turned out to be the very real Randazzo, near Catania in Sicily. If you're trying to get legal documents or other info from the town, see if you can find an Italian speaker to draft a letter asking for their birth'll get an official copy of their vital details if not the official document itself. The place itself looks really small, but here's the official comune page with e-mail address and phone at the bottom. I asked a sort-of similar question a few years back; here's the info I got.

You might be eligible for Italian citizenship, too, by the way - check the online, uh, citizenship checker here.
posted by mdonley at 7:41 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: mdonley, I think you are indeed correct. The "A" is ambiguous but the "u" looks almost exactly like the "n."

I couldn't believe my grampa and his dad were the ONLY immigrants from "Amiguano"!

I would qualify, I think, under rule "3" for Ital citizenship but I already have two (US and Canadian)- but thanks for the headsup, I might look into it!
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:55 PM on August 24, 2008

Seconding Omignano, there's also a "Mignano" near Arezzo and lots of small towns and villages ending in "-gnana" and "-gnano" pretty much everywhere in Italy (Omignano possibly descending from Latin 'dominicanus', or from a family name "Ominius" with -anus as a desinence). Your last name is very common in the Salerno area, so I think that would be your best bet. Omignano is in the Vallo della Lucania diocese, and has a parish of its own since the XVI century, so parish (baptism, etc.) or commune records should be available.
This is the map showing the distribution of your last name all across Italy. As you can see, the region of Campania is where its distribution is the densest.

(A few toponyms were italianised during fascism, but those were mostly in non-Italian speaking areas in the North).
posted by _dario at 12:19 AM on August 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thank you _dario- actually my grandfather's last name was "Monzo," much less common than "Manzo" (it became "Manzo" in the 40s for some reason- and it wasn't at Ellis Island) which makes genealogy a lot easier of course.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:00 AM on August 25, 2008

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