The French and Italian surname of LAGRANGE was originally derived from the farms, which are still found throughout the country in the neighbourhood of old abbeys, named 'The Grange'. They were the farm steadings where the monks carried on their farming operations, and where the grain and cattle derived from their more distant possessions, were stored and housed. Around 'the grange' were clustered numerous cottages for the labourers and their families, and the whole was under the charge of a monk or lay brother, named from his office 'the Granger'. In Latin the name of the office was rendered 'granatarius' manager of the victual. 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. 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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