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Lunardi, Leonardi, Leonard family from Italy

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  • Jerry Lee Leonardi Sr. (1933 - 1966)
    Jerry Lee Leonardi Sr. was married to Alpha (last name unknown). They had 8 children (two boys and 6 girls) named Michael, Cynthia, Catherine, Christina, Clarissa, Carleen, Cheryl, and Jerry Lee Jr. Th...

Lunardi, Leonardi, Leonard family of Italy

Tracing the history of the Leonardi (and variants) Italian family.

Families with Italian Roots

Lunardi, Leonardi, Leonardy, Lionardi, Lleonardi, Lleonard, Leonard

The Leonardi Surname

In church and civil documents, in Italy, Menorca, and in Florida, the Leonardi name can be found with a variety of spellings: Leonardi, Leonardy, Lionardi, Lleonardi, Lleonard, Lunardi, and other variants.

The surname appears most often as Lunardi in Catholic Church documents from Gragnanella, Italy. Prior to the 1800s, the name is usually Leonardi or Lunardi on church and civil documents, and sometimes both spellings appear even within a single document.

Roque and his siblings were baptized in Gragnanella, in the parish in which the family lived, San Bartolomeo, where the spelling of the surname is typically recorded as Lunardi. However, the 1713 baptismal document of Roque’s aunt gives her name as Maria Magdalena Leonardi (Gragnanella Baptisms). That same spelling variation occurs for many of Roque’s extended family (aunts, uncles, and cousins).

It appears that all or most of Roque’s siblings’ surnames were recorded as Lunardi on their respective baptismal records. One child, Rocco Pelligrino Lunardi (Roque Leonardi), is the Italian who sailed to New Smyrna with the Andrew Turnbull Expedition. His name is recorded on his baptismal certificate as Rocchus Peregrinus Lunardi (Gragnanella Baptisms).

The record of his 1768 marriage, in Menorca, to Esperanza Balle lists him in Latin as Rochus Lionardi (Menorcan Archive Films, 1768, entry 47). After he arrived in Florida, he signed his name (or his signature appears) several times in the Escrituras (notarized instruments) of 1784-1821 as Rocco Leonardy. His signature appears once as Roque Leonardy in the same documents, but is in a different handwriting.

Thus the combination of different languages and their respective dialects (Italian, Catalan, Latin, and later Spanish and English), different ways of pronouncing the surname, lack of codified spelling, and different ways of translating into Latin produced many spelling variants.

Roque's grandfather's marriage to Maria Nardini Fosciandora, Italy, 1701. Roque's grandfather's name was also Rocco.

The Family

The first Leonardi / Leonardy for whom we have documentary evidence is Roque Lunardi who married Maria Nardini in 1701. This Roque’s place of birth has not been positively determined, although from his marriage record, it appears likely that he was from Gragnanella, Italy; Maria was from Fosciandora, Italy.

One of the children of Roque Lunardi and Maria Nardini was Giovanni Lunardi who was baptized in Gragnanella in 1710. He married Giacoma Biagoini of Castelnuovo in 1736.

Roque Lunardi, son of Giovanni Lunardi and Giacoma Biagoini, and grandson of the first Roque Lunardi, was born in the town of Gragnanella in 1741 and was baptized there in the Catholic Church of San Bartolomeo. This Roque joined the Andrew Turnbull Expedition in 1768. The travelers stopped first in Menorca where Roque married Esperanza Balla that same year.

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