Why does it seem like half the males in the Ambruso Family, including the Hartford and Philly branches, are named Michael? In my own branch, the rest of the people seem to be named either Rocco or Esther. Was there a lack of naming creativity? No, the answer is strict naming conventions or naming customs followed by Italians, and more specifically southern Italians, when naming their children.
The formula goes as follows:
- The first son was given the first name of his paternal grandfather
- The first daughter was given the first name of her paternal grandmother
- The second son was given the name of his maternal grandfather
- The second daughter was given the name of her maternal grandmother
This custom is a boon to genealogists. It provides clues which help in making links to past generations. It also explains why the name Esther is so prevalent in my branch of the family. My great grandmother's name wasPasquarosa Corrado. She was named after her maternal grandmother. Pasquarosa was not a common name. The name literally means: “Easter Rose”. It was Americanized to Esther Rose. There was an Esther or a Rose in every family of Rocco and Pasquarosa’s children, where there was a granddaughter born. My mother’s name was Esther Rose.