“Surnames and Nicknames of Gratteri from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 21st century” is the first volume of a series called “Gratteri nel cuore “, edited by prof. Marco Fragale. The book contains a part of what was collected by the young scholar on Gratteri (PA) – a suggestive medieval village in the Madonie -, the result of university studies and research activities conducted over the years that arise mainly from the desire not to forget his Gratterian roots.
The series opens with an exclamation Rattalùçiu…abberaffé! (Gratterese…if only!), which is an ancient and obsolete form of exhortation (from Frenchism a bon affaire ‘a good deal’), now completely disappeared, but much used in the past by the Gratteresi.
The repertoire of Gratteri surnames, those in force, extinct and recently attested, highlight the history and migratory processes of the Gratteri families. Thanks to the counting of the indexes of the registry office’s registers of the Municipality of Gratteri from the post-unification period to the present day, and to the painstaking consultation of the 5th – 17th century “Revelations of goods and souls” – kept in the State Archives of Palermo – it was possible to conduct a detailed analysis and reflection on the diffusion and occurrence of names and surnames in Gratteri over the last five centuries. Furthermore, it was possible to obtain the etymological meaning of each single surname thanks to the help of fundamental onomastic tools such as the Great Nameday Dictionary of Sicily by Girolamo Caracausi and the Dictionary of Italian surnames by Emidio De Felice. The popular anthroponomastic repertoire, on the other hand, or the local nicknames, popularly called nciuri, highlight a cross-section of the Gratterese people and prove themeselves to be very important for understanding the evolution and sedimentation process of the current surnames. More than two hundred local nicknames and popular blazonries – some of which have already been found in archival documents – individually analyzed with the related paretymologies collected from the oldest inhabitants of Gratteri.
The research work is part of his degree thesis in Modern Philology, which concerns the complete name repertoire of a Sicilian municipality, achieved in 2009 at the University of Palermo and followed within the chair of Italian Linguistics, where he took advantage of the thirty years experience in the field of the research group of the Linguistic Atlas of Sicily, directed by prof. Giovanni Ruffino, a project that aims to document the linguistic repertoire of the Sicilians. A CD was also added to the book containing a video on the historical-photographic reconstruction of the families of Gratteri, with interviews with the oldest inhabitants of the town.