This Italian surname of DE MAGGIO was a baptismal name and may have been bestowed on someone born or baptised in the month of May, or may have been used for a nickname for one with a sunny disposition or even of one who had some anecdotal connection with the month of May, such as owing a feudal obligation then. The name is also spelt DIMAGGIO, DEMAIO and DEMAR. As the agricultural depression of southern Italy worsened towards the end of the 19th century, people began to escape to the New World. The exodus started in earnest in 1887 with Brazil and other parts of Latin America being the original destinations. By 1893, the economy had improved in the United States and people headed there from Italy in greater and greater numbers. In 1898 there were more Italian immigrants to the USA than from any other country. In the post war era, more than a quarter of Italians left the country for a new life. They joined a flood of immigrants to America which was averaging a million a year in the pre war years. 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. A notable member of the name was Joe DIMAGGIO, born in 1914. He was the American baseball player, born in Martinez, California. He was known as 'Joltin Joe' and 'The Yankee Clipper'. A powerful and elegant centre fielder and hitter, he played for 15 seasons with the New Yorks Yankees. His greatest achievement was hitting safely at least once in 56 consecutive games in the 1941 season. He was voted the Most Valuable Player three times. In 1954 he married briefly the film actress Marilyn Monroe. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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