Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.
Today’s name is from early 16th C Italy:
Generally Italian names ending in -ello (or -ellus in the Latin) are diminutive forms — that’s a typical suffix to add. The variant -illo is less common, but still occasionally found. So when hypothesizing about this name, the immediate first step is to strip away the suffix and get a potential root form: Biondo. Often when we do that, it turns out we already have examples of the non-augmented form, so that’s a confirmation of the identification. In this case, we have no examples of Biondo or Biondus (yet), so no help there.
Another easy step to take when trying to pin down the origin of a name is to stick the name (in a variety of spellings) into googlebooks and see what comes up. There are three hits for Biondillus — one which is post-1600, so of no help; one is a reference to a Dauid Biondellus from 1628; and the last occurs on a comment on a blog post from 2010, discussing a fantasy saga!
Has anyone else ever come across this name before? Or even Biondo/Biondus? If you have any thoughts on the origin of this name, please share in the comments!