Surname Salemi and variations

The surname is typical of Sicily with hundreds of listings, and derives from the toponym Salemi, a town in the province of Trapani. Toponymic surnames became common for individuals that settled in places where their original town was known, and the toponymic Salemi was at first added to the first name of the immigrant ancestor as "da Salemi" or "di Salemi", with the prepositions disappering in the following centuries.

Alphabetical Index


The town of Salemi rose on the site of the ancient Halyciae, that in 827 AD was occupied by the Berbers and renamed Salemi either from Saleiman, their leader's son, or from the river Salso, whose name derives from its salted waters (sale in Latin and Italian means salt), or from the Arabic language, either from Salam (= safe, healthy town) or from Salem (= peace).
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White Pages

The surname appears with about 500 listings in the Italian white pages and is relatively widespread in Italy, appearing in over 330 different comuni (out of about 8000). It is mostly concentrated in Sicily, with high numbers in the provinces of Trapani and Catania, but also, though most probably as the result of internal immigration, in the industrial areas of Lombardy and Piedmont.
  • Americas: Salemi appears in the phone directories of the United States with thousands of listings, in Canada with about 20 listings, in Argentina with about 70 listings.
  • Australia: about 70 listings.
  • Europe: Salemi appears with some dozen listings in Belgium, Germany, over 60 in France.

Ellis Island

787 arrivals for Salemi immigrants are recorded, coming mostly from Southern Italy, especially from Sicily. Frequent places of origin: Bivona, Corleone, Comiso, Girgenti (=Agrigento), Lercara, Militello, Montemaggiore, Palermo, Patti, Siculiana, Sortino, Termini Imerese.