Mystery Monday: Inoffio

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 Italian, from late 14th century Genoa.


It sort of feels like a variant of Onofrio (one of the coolest names in the DMNES — it’s of ancient Egyptian origin!), but “sort of feels like” doesn’t explain where the \r\ has gone, or the change in initial vowel. We’d love to have something more reliable than “sort of feels like”! Do you have any info on the origin of this name? Other examples of it? Please share in the comments!


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

4 responses to “Mystery Monday: Inoffio

  1. Brian M. Scott

    I’ve more evidence for the name, but some of it serves to muddy the water a bit.

    I have only snippet views, but they provide several more examples of the name. From Les relations commerciales entre Gênes, la Belgique et l’Outremont: d’après les archives notariales génoises, 1320-1400, Volume 2: Inoffius Lomelinus civis Janue, Inoffius Blancus, and in the genitive Inoffii Ardimenti, civis Janue. From I libri iurium della Repubblica di Genova, Volumes 1-2: Inoffio de Putheo notariis (abl.) 1377. From Bibliothèque des écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, Issue 235, Part 1: Inoffius de Mari 1381. From Christopher Columbus and His Family: The Genoese and Ligurian Documents: quondam Inofius Pavexius from sometime between 1429 and 1531. On page 189 of this PDF: in domo Inoffii Malpagati 1455. And from Die Genuesen Auf Zypern: Ende 14. Und Im 15. Jahrhundert Publikation Von Dokumenten Aus Dem Archivio Segreto in Genua: domus Inoffii Burnenghi, notarii.

    However, the index to that last work has Inoflius Cavalerto and <Inoflius de Vignolo, which last struck me as being suspiciously close to the Inoffio de Vignolo in this week’s question. In Codex and documents I found Inoflius de puteo et Augustinus de franchis patres comunis Janue, the former being a notary; I’ve no way to be sure, but I very much suspect that this is the same person as Inoffius de Putheo notarius above. If so, it’s not clear whether we’re dealing with conflation of distinct names or misreading of documents. Here we have Inoflius de Sollario de Cogoleto in a Genoese document of 1397; he is also mentioned here and, as Ynoflius de Cogoleto, here, so we do seem to have multiple examples of both Inoffius and Inoflius besides the possible overlaps.

  2. Brian M. Scott

    While looking at Diego’s finds, I ran across Karl Otto Müller, ‘Ein Schiffsraub Im Mittelmeer Zum Nachteil Der Großen Ravensburger Handelsgesellschaft (1490)’, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 26, no. 4 (1933): 353-61. It gives a transcription of a notarial document, then recently discovered, dated 27 November 1490 and given by Jakob Nitardi, of Nice. In it Onofrius Humpis of Ravensburg appears as Inofrius Ompis. He also appears in 1497 as Onoffrius Humppis. Here we have a clearcut instance of o/i alternation.

    And for what it may be worth, Renzo Vaccari, the editor of Il Chronicon Veronense di Paride da Cerea e dei suoi continuatori – IV/2, Fondazione Fioroni, 2014, takes a documentary Inofrio de Pasquin to represent a normalized Onofrio di Pasquino

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