This Italian and French surname is a nickname for someone with notably dark hair or complexion from Old French 'noir'. In Spanish the name can be spelt as De Negri(s) and Nigris. Amongst the many variations of this name it can be spelt as Nier, Negri. A notable member of this name was Ada NEGRI (l870-l945) Italian poet, born in Milan. She became a teacher, wrote socialistic verse and short stories.
As the agricultural depression of southern Italy worsened towards the end of the l9th century, people began to escape to the New World. The exodus started in earnest in l887 with Brazil and other parts of Latin America being the original destinations. By l893 the economy had improved in the United States and people headed there from Italy in greater and greater numbers. In l898 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 l0th century. The typical Italian surnames endings are 'i' and 'o' the former being characteristic of northern Italy. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification was the insignia painted on his shield and on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
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