Apparently recorded as Verna, Verni, Vernazza, Vernacchio, Vernagallo, Vernengo, Vernet, and possibly others, this is a surname of Roman (Latin) origins. It is believed to originate from the word ancient word 'verno' meaning 'young in heart' and hence a nickname of endearment, although 'verna' meaning a house servant is also a possibility. Indeed with Italian surnames almost anything is possible, as although they have always been hereditary since at least medieval times, with many names they only became 'locked' in their spelling quite recently. The Italian Dictionary of Surnames is equally frustrated explaining that 'the subject (when compared with other European surnames) is unusually complicated' and it goes onto explain that although the surname may be spelt the same in different parts of the country, the meanings could be quite different! This is further complicated by the excess of suffixes, which basically all mean the same. These are diminutives and patronymics which usually mean 'son of' or 'Little' or even 'son of the son of'. Italy did not become a unified county until the late 19th century, some seven centuries after surnames came into general use. Until recently there were no central records, indeed most of the twelve states which made up the Italian Confederation, when not at war with each other, were much too poor to worry about record keeping. In this case we do have some random examples which include Giovanni Verna at Rodi Gargani, Foggia, on February 11th 1811, and Vincenzo Veruncci at San Severo, also Foggia, on February 28th 1852.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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