The Fusia/Fuscą Family  

Up The Fusca' Line The DiPalma/DePalma Line The Pelaja Line The DiNardo / DeNardo Line The Papillo Line                   


Family Roots and Geographic Dispersion   

"Not to know what happened before we were born is to remain perpetually a child. 

For what is the worth of a human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history? “  


The words of the Roman, Cicero circa 50 BC



This section is a work in progress and contains a little bit of background on the the origins of some of the surnames in our family tree: 

Fuscą/Fusca, DiPalma/DePalma, Orazi, Ortale, Bova (Boova), Biviano, Torchia, LaChimia, Cena, Nuzzo, Catino, DiNardo/DeNardo, Donato, Pelaja, Papillo, Barba, Filia, Moscato/Muscato, Francalanza, DiSandro/DeSandro, Aversa 

The maps below are from  They are very revealing and indicate where in Italy people with a particular last name live today. Higher concentrations are a good indicator of where surnames most likely originated long ago. Most of the surnames in our family trees originated in southern Italy. Just as many people left southern Italy to come to America, Australia, Canada and South America in the late 1800's and early 1900's to seek better jobs and opportunities, many also moved within Italy - to northern Italy for the same reasons. There was also a second migration out of the southern Italy after World War II.

Here is a list of old family names from Vazzano:

Arena   De Marco Gambino Pitto
Barba  De Nardo La Caria Pitimada
Caloiero  Di Nardo Massa Scidą
Cantore Fabrizio  Martelli  Scuglia 
Conciatore  Facciolo Mirenzi Tigani 
Coniglio Fazzalari Moscato Urzetta
De Caria Fuscą  Monardo Vilone
De Grano Filia  Mandarano 

and old family names from Pizzoni:

Acri  Cristiano  Francia  Murfuni Sacchinelli
Alemanni Curcio Graziano Nola  Scarfo
Ancora De Meo Iorfida Paoli Tozzi
Arena De Palma Iorii  Pascali   Vilardo
Aversa  Di Palma     La Caria Pasquino  Villi
Bardari De Renzo La Neve  Pata  Vilone
Belluso De Stefano Maida  Pitimada Volpe
Bono Di Vito Mancini Porcelli
Camillo Donato Marchese Ranieri 
Carlisano Filia Mesiano Rossi
Cognetta Fiumara Monardo Ruggiero


Towns: Vazzano, Pizzoni, Soriano   Region: Calabria  Country: Italy


It is pretty clear that our branch of the Fuscą family has lived in central Calabria for centuries. Using the old Civil Records for the towns of Vazzano, Pizzoni and Soriano, you can follow our direct line back as far as 6 generations into the mid 1700's to Paolo Fuscą and Anna Di Sandro. Other historical resources refer to people with our surname living there much earlier.


Because of regional dialects, cultural differences and geographic isolation, origins of many Italian last names can be traced to specific areas or even to specific towns.  Fuscą and Fusca are very rare names in Italy outside of Vibo Valentia Province in central Calabria where the local dialect has a very strong Greek influence.  We can assume our family name originated there back in the Middle Ages. 


It seems Fuscą and Fusca are not variations of the fairly common Italian surname "Fusco", which means "dark or dusky". Fuscą, with the accent mark and Fusca, without the accent mark are different branches of the same family. The Dizionario dei Cognomi e Sopranomi in Calabria - Dictionary of Surnames and Nicknames in Calabria, compiled by Gergard Rolf, printed in Ravenna 1979, states that: "The surname Fuscą originates in the regions of Cosenza and Catanzaro around Vibo Valentia.  It means "venditore di pula" - dealer/seller of chaff.  Incidentally, the word "fusca" in Greek means "bran". 


I remember my grandfather (Don) telling me, as a boy, the Fusca's, without the accent mark, "They were brigands!" he said - outlaws, bandits. The accent mark was added to distance our branch of the family from them. I thought at the time that "brigand" was an odd name for him to use to describe outlaws but just figured it was Pap using an unusual word to describe something simple.  But the word rolled around in my mind and stayed there.  In doing research on Calabria and our family, I came to find out that Brigands, Brigante in Italian, were a big part of the Calabrese culture in the 1800's and highly romanticized. Much like outlaws in the American Wild West - The James Gang, Billy the Kid... Vazzano was the home a famous brigante chief - Francesco Moscato - nicknamed "U Vizzarru".  No kidding. I'm including a link with more information.






Town: Pizzoni    Region: Calabria     Country: Italy

This name was spelled interchangeably as DiPalma and DePalma.  "Di" is the old form.  Civil Records for Marianna's father and earlier show the name spelled as DiPalma. Different Civil Records for Marianna show it variously as DiPalma and DePalma, depending on the document.  

DiPalma or DePalma are rare names in Calabria, however. At some point, possibly in the early 1700's, the family moved there from Naples or possibly from Bari in Puglia.  DiPalma is a common name around Naples. name.


Di Palma

De Palma


Donato.gif (22675 bytes)





This is not a very common name throughout Italy. Just areas in Calabria, around Naples, Rome and Venice. Like DiPalma and DePalma the "Di" and "De" are both used but it seems like "Di" is the older version.     


This is another very uncommon name in Italy outside of central Calabria. The old spelling was Pelaja. The modern form is Pelaia.  Could be a Spanish name originally.  

This name sounds Italian but is not found much outside of Calabria. It may be of Spanish origin. The Spanish ruled Calabria and southern Italy in the 1500-1600's. And brought wonderful things to southern Italian cooking from their New World Conquests such as the TOMATO !!!













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Moscato.gif (21550 bytes)

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DiSandro.gif (19230 bytes)

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Di Sandro