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Surname Musumeci and variations

Musumeci (and its most common variation Musmeci) is typical of south-eastern Sicily, especially of the Catania area. As a consequence of immigration to northern Italy in the industrial era it spread to almost all other Italian regions with relatively high numbers in Lombardy, Rome, Piedmont. An immigration not caused by the industrial revolution is instead by proximity to Calabria, Campania and Puglia, which in any case belonged to the same kingdom before the unification of Italy.

Alphabetical Index

Etymology

A number of possible etymologies exist.
  • Toponymic: the surname Musumeci could derive from the toponym Mussomeli, a place in the province of Caltanissetta, modified by dialect.
  • From the Arabic Mussum (= Muslim) or Mussamil (= ecstatic).
  • The theory of scholar A. Musumeci instead highlights its possible origin from the Greek «Mésos or mékos (= half height, short stature), an Armenian first name which became a surname, Greekized and then Italianized; the diminutive of the Armenian name Mushel then would be Greekized in Musele, Mushelik, and Musulice, which became the Italian Musuleci by metathesis, hence Musumeci

History

The surname is recorded in Sicily (Storia dei Musulmani in Sicilia, by Michele Amari) as early as 881/882 AD, when Saint Ignatius patriarch of Constantinople on a white horse appeared to a Musulice and showed him which side to attack.
Diffusion
Musumeci
  • Italian White Pages: in 2020 there are over 700 listings of individuals, of them over 500 in Sicilia.
  • Ellis Island: 460 arrivals for Musumeci immigrants are recorded, coming mostly from Sicily.
Musmeci
The surname might be a variation of Musumeci and might have originated as a transcription error; it appears with almost 200 listings in the Italian white pages of 2020, and 61 records on Ellis Island, from Acireale and other Sicilian places. It is recorded for some Acireale officials already in 1583, and also earlier in the Latin spelling Musumechi.
Mussumeci
The surname appears with under 10 listings in the Italian white pages of 2020. There are 8 records on Ellis Island.