This Italian surname of DELUNA was of two-fold origin. It was a name given to literally, a moon-struck person. The Romans believed that the mind was affected and that 'lunatics' grew more and more frenzied as the moon increased to its full. It was also a nickname 'the moon-headed' person referring to one who was bald. The prophet Elisha had a bald head, as it says in the Bible, and small boys mocked him with 'Go up, thou bald head, go up!'. It was perhaps only the reverence paid to Elisha by reason of his position as the beloved leader of the prophetic guilds, and high esteem in which he was held by King Joash, prevented him from going down in history by this clearly awful name. The name was also adopted by Jews and in the Jewish calendar, the lunar month commences at sunset of the day when the new moon is first seen after sunset, and varies in length, being sometimes 29 and sometimes 30 days. 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. 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. 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.
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