Galea

Galea - what does Galea surname mean?

Recorded in several spellings including Galea, Gleacy, Galeati, and Galeandrolli, this very interesting medieval surname is of Italian and Mediterranean origins. It is known as a `soliders name` and as such is one of a fairly large group who have surnames derived from weapons or armour.These surnames include such examples as Scuti, Scuto, Targi, Brocchi, and La Rotella, all of whom translate as `shield`, Maglia, a coat (of chain) mail, Corsletti, a breast plate, and Galea - the helmet. Logic would suggest that these surnames refer to the craftsmen who made the equipment rather than the soldier who wore or used them, although in some cases at least, both may apply. The origin is probably pre 12th century, although the surname is much later. The first known church register recording is believed to be that of Anne Galeacy, the daughter of Thomas Galeacy, of Dumbel, Trento, Italy, on March 20th 1657. Italian records are usually much later than equivalents in other parts of Europe, often by at least three hundred years. Prior to the year 1860 Italy was made up of a (very) loose federation of individual states and principalities, most of whom were very poor, and unable or unwilling, to provide the necessary central bureaucracy on which registration is based. The surname is also recorded in the (then) British protectorate of Malta in the 18th century. The first example being that of Angelo Galea, who married Petra Camilleri at Chaudesh, on September 10th 1730. This was during the reign of King George 11nd of England, 1727 - 1760.

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