This Italian surname of MARCONI was originally from the Latin Marcus, the personal name of St Mark the Evangelist, author of the second Gospel. The name was borne also by a number of other early Christian saints. MARCUS was an old Roman name of uncertain etymology; it may have some connection with the war God Mars. The given name was not as popular in England in the Middle Ages as it was on the Continent, especially in Italy, where the evangelist became the patron of Venice and the Venetian Republic, and was allegedly buried at Aquileia. The name is also spelt MARK, MARCELLO, MARCEL, MARCEAU, MARCELLET and MARCELEAU. A notable person of this name was Marchese Gugeliemo MARCONI (1874-1937), inventor of the wireless and winner of the 1909 Nobel prize for Physics. Despite evidence that hereditary surnames were in use in the Venetian Republic as early as the 10th Century, the origin of many Italian surnames is unclear. There is still a great potential for research into medieval Italian records while documented evidence indicates the adoption of the father's name as a surname is the most common form. The familiar endings of "i" and "o", meaning to be a member of a certain family, bears this out. Social conditions in Southern Italy during the agricultural depression of the late 19th Century spurred the first wave of emigration as thousands of people escaped to the New World. Latin America was the original destination for these early settlers but as the economy strengthened in the United States, North America became more popular. By the end of the 19th Century there were more Italian migrants in the USA than from any other country. In the Post-War era more than a quarter of Italy's population left the country to find a new life in America and Australia. While many Italian names have survived intact, many families chose to anglicise their surnames to fit in with their new country. The names of many more were altered on arrival in America by Ellis Island immigration officials who inadvertently changed names through misunderstanding or mis-spelling as they documented details of the new settlers.
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