San Flora Catanzaro

The following information comes from a report by LegacyTree Genealogists – June 2015

Possible Origins Of The Teti Surname In Italy

Three likely possibilities stand out for the origin of the Teti surname in Italy.

The first possible explanation is that the Teti surname developed as a habitational place name within Italy, taken from the town of Teti on the island of Sardinia far to the west.

A second possibility is that “Teti” is the Italianized version of “Theth” or “Thethi”—a place name in Albania, and was taken as a surname by people coming from that region.  People from Albania settled in the Calabria/Catanzaro area centuries ago. (Italians don’t really use “th-” sound.)

The third possibility, put forth by many Italian researchers, is that Teti is one of the many surnames that developed as a result of Greek influence in the Calabria region.   Teti is Italian for “Thetis,” the sea-nymph mother of Achilles mentioned in the Iliad (Greek epic poem attributed to Homer) and also featured in Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Saggio di Lingua Etrusca e di Altre Antiche dʹItalia.

Translation: “Teti prayed for Achilles.”



Agazio Teti- (1854-1936)  

The first to leave Italy and immigrate to the USA with his wife and eleven children.

Agazio Teti was born on  the  29th of the month of August in the year 1854 at the hour of sixteen,” or, 4:00 PM and baptized on 1 September 1854.     Agazio’s father was listed as Luigi Teti, 26, a propretario by profession.  Propretario literally means “owner,” and can also mean “holder,” “landlord,” “landowner,” “owner,” “property owner,” or “proprietor.” A more specific designation was not recorded.  Agazio’s mother was listed as Mariantonia Meyna, 28 years old

This information given in this record indicated that Luigi Teti was born about 1828, while his wife Mariantonia was two years his senior, having been born about 1826.

While scrolling through many pages of microfilm, it was noted that there were an unusually high number of babies being named “Agazio” in Squillace. A quick check on the internet confirmed that Agazio is the patron saint of Squillace.  This naming practice was a fairly common one throughout Italy and other Latin countries historically.

Agazio married Maria Concetta Varano  in  January 1884 .

Agazio passed away on 23 August 1936 at the age of 77 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in New York.


Luigi Teti and Mariantonia Meyna

 Luigi Teti had lived in Squillace and Mariantonia Meyna had lived in San Floro prior to their marriage. Luigi and Mariantonia’s marriage record was found in records for 1846, and recorded as taking place that year on 22 January.3

The “D.” prefix in front of their names stands for “Don” and “Dona,” honorific titles similar to “Lord” and “Lady.”   These titles were used for people from noble families or people of wealth or social distinction.

Luigi was listed as 19 years of age, and a native of Squillace. His profession was again listed as “propretario.” His father was Sig. Gregorio Teti. (“Sig.” standing for Signore, or Mr.) Gregorio’s own profession and residence were not recorded. Luigi’s mother appeared to be listed as Teresa “Sambataro.” The script words before the words “Sig” were simply Italian for the word “of” in its masculine and feminine forms. For example, “della Sig. Teresa Sambataro” simply means “of Mrs. Teresa Sambataro.”


The writing was not easy to read on this form. The “T” in “Teresa” below matches the “T” in “Teti” on the document. (It must be read separately from the cursive “d” below it.) The script lower-case “s” in Italian looks somewhat like a cursive lower-case “f” in English, and dips down below the line, as seen in the names “Teresa” and “Gasperina” in this document, and “Rosario” in others.

Sambataro is a surname found other places in the Calabria region. Compare the “S” in Sambataro below to the “S” in Squillace.


There are other places in the document where the lower-case “a” is not completely closed and looks a bit like a “u” as it does in “Sambataro”—such as in the words “proprietaro” and “Gasperina.”

The bride, Mariantonia Meyna, was listed as 24 years old and born in Gasperina (another town in the province of Catanzaro). Mariantonia’s mother was listed as Carmela Meyna. No father was recorded, so perhaps he had passed away; however, typically in that instance, his name would be listed followed by a notation that he was deceased. Either way, there was not a separate maiden surname given for Mariantonia’s mother as there was for Luigi’s mother. It is possible that Carmela was not married, and that Mariantonia had been illegitimate. Carmela Meyna’s profession was given as a filatrice—a spinner.


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