- This very interesting surname is Italian in its original form, and in its modern spelling is found in North America and Europe. It originates from medieval times around the 14th century, and may have been job descriptive. However given the robust 'in your face' humour of those far off times, - it may equally have been a nickname. Either way it is from a major group of several hundred descriptive compounds. They include examples such as Basacomadri which literally translates as 'Kiss woman' (?), 'Magnacervi' (deer eater (?) to 'Vinciprova' (contest winner (?) - and also includes 'Ferragalli' - chicken catcher, Ferragatti' - cat catcher, and 'Afumica gallo' later Fumagallo and Fumagalli - which describe a chicken smoker and a family of chicken smokers! In the modern Fumagall it does not seem to appear in Italian records. The authoritative dictionary on Italian surnames by Professor J G Fuscilla freely admits that 'nicknames' are a very difficult subject, and not easy dealt with objectively with them given that maybe seven centuries have passed. In addition Italy did not become a united country until 1860 and prior to that the kingdoms and states which made up the region rarely spent their meagre funds on national records, whilst families themselves often changed the spelling from generation to generation, adding or subtracting diminutives and prejoratives at will. When Italians began to move abroad in the 18th & 19th centuries they soon found that in both Northern Europe and the USA and Canada, it was sometimes politic to 'disguise' the name spelling. But for original recordings we have been very fortunate and have found examples which include Maria Fumagalli at Scano al Bremo, Bergamo, Italy, on September 28th 1821, and two centuries earlier Antonio Fumagallo of Carlasco, Pavia, Italy on December 18th 1622.
Surnames reference. 2013.