Recorded in many spelling forms including the 'base' form of Maggi
, and the diminutives and double diminutives Maggiore
, Di Maggio
, and many others, this is an Italian surname of Roman (Latin) origins.
It derives from the ancient word 'maggiore' which means 'the eldest son', and as such was originally either a baptismal name, or in medieval times a nickname which became a surname. In usage it was not so different from the much later English Victorian method of calling brothers by their surname, but then distinguishing them by the terms major, minor, or for a third son, minimus.
Early examples taken from the few surviving registers include: Carlos
Maggi, the son of Pompeo
Maggi, born at Saluzzo, Torino, in 1618. Maria Maggiorini
, a witness at Arcore, Milano, on April 30th 1685. Francesco
Maggiore, a witness at Torre Pollice, also Torino, on January 18th 1864.