Recorded in a variety of forms which appear to include Campa, Campi, Campo, Campelli, Campanelli, Campatelli, Campese and even de Campbellis, this is an Italian surname. However spelt it is probably a derivative of the Latin word "campus" meaning field, but this would depend on which part of Italy the any particular family came from, as in some parts the name may have described a flower such as a blue bell, or even just a bell itself. Italian surnames are the most difficult of all European surnames to research with accuracy, and even the Dictionary of Italian Surnames prefaces its remarks with "This is an extraordinarily difficult subject". Amongst the many complications is that whilst hereditary, surnames rarely retained the same spelling form between generations who liked to add there own distinctive prefix or suffix, and sometimes both, to the original base, which itself may be reduced to just one of two letters. Added to which the eventual spelling would often mean different things in different parts of the country! This is all compounded by the fact that after the fall of the Roman Empire in about the year 590 a.d. through to 1860, Italy was at best, only a loose federation of individual states and kingdoms, who paid only lip service to keeping any official registers of births, deaths and marriages, if they bothered at all, which most did not. Examples of the few recordings include Angela de Campbellis of San Benedetto, Mantova, on February 10th 1711, and Paolo Campelli, who married Luigia Cavagnaro at Genova, on January 27th 1874.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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