This Italian surname of TRAVERSO was a locational name for someone who lived by a bridge or ford, or an occupational name for a gatherer of tolls exacted for the right of passage. The name was originally derived from the Old French word TRAVERS meaning passage, crossing, and was rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form TRANSVERSARE. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Other spellings of the name include TRAVERSA, TRAVERSI, TRAVIESO and TRAVERSINI. 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. Benjamim TRAVERS (1886-1980) was the playwright born in London. He became famous for the farces which played in the Aldwych Theatre, London, continuously from 1922 until 1933. His later work was not so successful, although he was still writing in his 90's, and his last play, 'The Bed Before Yesterday' was first produced in 1975. 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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