One of the tasks in the Introduction to One-Name Studies course is to consider the meanings of the surname of interest, and in some cases there is more than one meaning and more that one country of origin.
Having written about the Saia and Saja surname which appears in my family, I did some long overdue research, which I thought I would share because it illustrates perfectly why it is useful to understand the origins of the Surname and, to understand the culture and history associated with it. Also remember, that in the Italian alphabet there are fewer letters and the letters I and J are interchangeable.
Here is the information relating to Saia:
- Origin of southern Italy and from a adapted version of the personal (given) name of Isaia (Isaiah) or Osaia (Hosea).
- The website www.names.org indicates the surname means shadow and is of Pakistani origin
- The website www.nameyourroots.com indicates the surname maybe of Jewish origin from the Jewish communities of Spain.
- The website www.nordicnames.de says the surname is a variant of Saija and is of Finnish origin.
Meanwhile the name of Saja is:
- This surname is recorded in 29 countries across the globe according to Namesepidia, with the name of Arabic origin and means eloquent and pleasant face
- The website www.names.org indicates the surname means the night is beautiful and quiet. The origins are also listed as Arabic
- There is also the suggestion that the name is a Muslim boys name
- The website www.dbs.anumuseum.org.il suggests that the name is a latinised Slovakian name which is a version of the Jewish family name Modriensis, recorded in 1709 with Saja and Lasarus Modriensis. It then goes onto to suggest that it is a Germanised Slovak name formed from Modreiner and Modrainer from 1735 and 1747 respectively.
From reading Forebears.io is appears that the surname of Saja can be found in Indonesia and Poland. There is no earlier demographic information prior to 2014 – the map for SAJA can be found HERE and the map for SAIA can be found HERE also 2014.
The Italian distribution maps from Gens.info show the surnames across Sicily and Italy.
An historical overview of Sicily can be found HERE which explains the influences of many other nations.