Help deciphering some old handwriting?
May 3, 2011 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Deciphering old handwriting...please hope me.

This is my great-grandmother's birth certificate. Those arrows are pointing to her father's given name and her mother's maiden name and given name. For the life of me, I can't figure out what these names are. Can you?

What I think:
-My gggrandfather's name (on the left) might be Antonio, but there seems to be too many letters.

-My gggrandmother's surname seems to be Petulla'.

Any educated guesses or resource recommendations are most welcome!

(For reference, here's another birth certificate written in the same hand. I've been comparing the letters to this wiki entry at, but haven't found any close matches.)
posted by cowboy_sally to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The first name is definitely Antonio. The swooping A appears to be next to a U, which is actually a bottomed-out N.
posted by mdonley at 1:57 PM on May 3, 2011

It sure looks like Antonius to me.
posted by fritley at 2:02 PM on May 3, 2011

posted by Jehan at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2011

I'm getting more of a "Ru" than an "An" from that first name.
posted by phunniemee at 2:05 PM on May 3, 2011

Best answer: Perhaps "Antonino e Petallá Jirolama".
posted by Jehan at 2:11 PM on May 3, 2011

Um. "Petullá". Sorry, mistype.
posted by Jehan at 2:13 PM on May 3, 2011

Antonius e Petrella Jirolanio
posted by crepesofwrath at 2:27 PM on May 3, 2011

"Antonius e Petulla Girolama" is my guess.
posted by besonders at 2:37 PM on May 3, 2011

I went to an italian middle school and received instruction in current italian script handwriting.

This is a birth certificate for 'Cacciatore, Rosaria', who is the child of 'Cacciatore, Antonino' and 'Petullà, Girolama'

The surname comes first; the first name is listed second.

I did a little googling and the mother's names are unusual but definitely standard italian names.

It's definitely NOT a 'J' as that letter didn't exist in the alphabet.
posted by bq at 3:01 PM on May 3, 2011

bq is right. The certificate is in Italian, as are the names. It's definitely Antonino Cacciatore and Girolama. Girolama's last name is the only one I'm not sure of, but I'd go with bq's judgment on that.
posted by katemonster at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2011

Also, you can use this search engine to see common surnames in Calabria. I played with a few of the options and Petullà appears to be the most likely interpretation -- and is reasonably common in Polistena.
posted by katemonster at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2011

BYU has a good guide for identification of Italian script. Unfortunately this script does not seem to match the standard forms of A and seems hard to identify with given names.
posted by JJ86 at 7:21 AM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your answers -- and thank you katemonster and JJ86 for the helpful reference guides. I neglected to mention in my question that I already know the father's surname (it's not Cacciatore, but it totally looks like that on the certificate!). You have pretty much convinced me that it's Jirolama (on the site JJ86 recommended, the Js look very similar to the first letter of the mother's given name) or Girolama. So, many thanks!
posted by cowboy_sally at 7:38 AM on May 4, 2011

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