A-Z Challenge Surnames – G


Palmanova, Udine, Italy (famous for it’s Roman STAR design)


Yup, that’s a surname! My mother’s maiden name. In China, that’s like the surname Smith but we are Italian….go figure. I always got a kick out of receiving Chinese junk mail when I was growing up. I even did my DNA to see if we were, in fact, Chinese!

This surname always fascinated me because of it’s uniqueness.

My grandfather is standing, top left, behind his father (center front) along with 3 of his 4 brothers. HIS father’s name was Giuseppe GON.

GON family.JPG

My maternal grandfather was called Vittorio GON and he served as a shoemaker in the Italian army. He was injured during WWI and whilst in the hospital he met my grandmother who was there visiting her brother who was in the next bed.

It was love at first sight for him. For my mother’s 80th birthday last year, her older sister had an original hand written letter that her father wrote to her mother while he was courting her framed. It sits on my mother’s dresser.

The GON surname is very localized in Italy. You find it in the very North Eastern part of Italy where our family came from. OUR GON family came from the village of Jalmicco, just outside of Palmanova. Palmanova is famous for being built in the shape of a star. It still has it’s Roman gates and walls.

Unfortunately, (of course!), Jalmicco suffered a huge fire and the baptismal records for the 1700s and prior were destroyed. I can only take the GON family back to GIOVANNI MARIA GON who was born in Jalmicco (also known as Ialmicco) in 1715.

I had my Gon family researched by a genealogist from Italy and he was able to take back the family to 1715. There is one sad entry in our tree.

Within 24 hours, Francesco’s grandparents died of cholera in 1855. Their death records show that they were carried to the cemetery together. The cholera victims died in the third pandemic of the disease—a worldwide outbreak that killed more than 27,000 people in Tuscany in 1855 alone.

Here’s a photo of a map of Palmanova in 1598 where some of my GON ancestors lived in the 1700s.

palmanova 1598.jpg



About tiesthatbindsite

I'm a genealogist with a passion for Scottish and English ancestry. I'm trilingual so I can also do research in French Canadian records and Italian records. My love for family history began 35 years ago and continues to grow every day. My family is very important to me and I hope to instill in them a love for "where they came from" so that they can better understand who they are. I also want to share my love of family history with anyone who understands how important it is to not lose site of their ancestors. They all have a story to tell.
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5 Responses to A-Z Challenge Surnames – G

  1. luvviealex says:

    Oh I do like unusual surnames. And isn’t that map a beauty? I found your blog through Pauleen Cass’ blog and am also participating in the A to Z Challenge.


    • Thanks for visiting! Yes, my family (both sides) are full of unusual names. It actually makes it easier to research, I think!


      • Ruan Gon says:

        Hello, My name is Ruan Gon from Brazil. I was searghing about my surname and I am face an issue. I know that Antonio Valentin Gon left Italy to Brazil and he had a son Giuseppe Gon. The issue is, his son Giuseppe, was Giuseppe Antonio Gon or only Giuseppe Gon? He is my gran-grandfather.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Ruan,

        My family descends from Giacomo GON who was born in 1765. Giacomo had 3 sons and a daughter that I know of. We are descended from his son Francesco GON who was born 1795-1855. His other sons were Pietro (1798) and Antonio (1815). Francesco GON had 3 sons…Giacomo (1820) , Giovanni Battista (1825) and Domenico (1828). Your ancestor Antonio Valentin(o) GON was born in 1834. I can’t find a connection but maybe he was a son of these brothers.



  2. cassmob says:

    That would be an intriguing city to visit..and what a fantastic map!! It’s weird isn’t it, that you have what seems like a Chinese surname in Italy.

    @cassmob from
    Family History Across The Seas

    Liked by 1 person

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