The Italian surname of AMATO was derived from the Latin 'amatus' meaning beloved, a popular source of many given names. The name has many variant spellings which include AMISS, AMEY, AMY, AMIE, AMADO, and AMATI. The AMATI Italian family of violin-makers in Cremona include Andrea (c.1520-1580), whose earliest known label dates from 1564, and was the founder who developed the standard violin. Others were his younger brother Nicola (1530-1600), Andrea's two sons, Antonio (1550-1638) and Geronimo (1551-1635); and the latter's son, Niccolo (1596-1684), the master of Guarnieri and Stradivari. Geronimo (1649-1740) was the last important Amati. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. The name was brought into England at an early date. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention William Amy who was documented in the year 1219 in the County of Yorkshire. William Lamy appears in the year 1275 in London. Gregory Amys of Oxford registered at Oxford University in the year of 1525. Thomas Amiss and Eleanor Cadman were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1766. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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