The associated coat of arms for the name DEFUSCO are recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. This Italian surname of DEFUSCO was an Italian nickname for someone with dark hair or a swarthy complexion from the Italian word FUSCO (dark) and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form FUSCUS. In some cases it may be from a medieval given name derived from the Roman family name FUSCUS, originally of the same meaning. The name has numerous variant spellings which include FOSCARI, FUSHCI, FOSCO, FOSCHI, FUSCHINI, FUSCOLO and FUSCONE. 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 Francesci FOSCARI (c.1370-1457) doge of Venice from 1423. By his great military skill he carried conflict with Milan to a successful conclusion in the Treaty of Ferrara (1433). His last years were embittered by the unjust torturing and banishment of his son Giacopo. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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