I suspect that my maternal great, great grandmother was an Italian Jew. At
present I have no proof. What leads me to believe it is that her name was
Rebecca, a decidedly odd name for a girl born in the Italian south in the first
or second decade of the 19th Century, especially if she were Roman Catholic.
She named her daughter, my great grandmother, Alberinta or possibly Almirenta,
names that are so unique that I've begun to doubt they are Italian.
Great, great grandmother Rebecca D'Elia married Nicola Cantante. His surname
means "singer". In Italy today there are fewer than eighteen families with
this surname. Isn't it odd, I've asked myself, that in a country known for
its singers, that this surname should be so very, very rare? I wonder if
"cantante" might be a direct translation of cantor. Plainly they derive from
the same root and have the same meaning.
Can anyone in the newsgroup help me? Can anyone steer me away >from guessing
and onto more solid ground?
Many thanks in advance,
Alan J. Tullio.
Lynbrook, New York