Gargaros in the United Kingdom

Gargaro is a southern Italian name which, according to the ‘Dictionary of American Family Names’, comes from the Greek stem gargar-, denoting either a ‘babbling’ or ‘clear’ stream of water, or ‘gargling’. Only the latter sense is attested as a vocabulary word in Southern Italian Greek. The Gargaro family name can usually be traced back to a few villages in the provinces of Latina and Frosinone. There is also a number of Gargaros in the province of L’Aquila, but these are more spread out and not concentrated to any particular villages. Probably due to the fact that Gargaro is Greek in origin, there are Gargaros in Greece today, which use the equivalent surnames ‘Gargarou’ and ‘Gargaropoulos’.

The first birth of a Gargaro registered in England and Wales is Dominic Gargaro (mistakenly spelled as Domonic). He was born in Bermondsey, but registered in the district of Holborn as his mother was living in Clerkenwell at the time. By Dominic’s first birthday his parents had moved to Woolwich, which is where they settled. A further ten Gargaro children were born in Woolwich and most of them married in Greenwich or Woolwich, where they also had families.

The only other place in England that has a sizeable population of Gargaros is in Derby, where the the name is first recorded in 1888 with the birth of Rosa Valentine Gargaro. In 1893 a possible sister to Rosa, Folimena Valendina Gargaro, was born. Another Gargaro child was born in 1896 in Derby and then a year later there is a death of a 40 year-old, Maria Valendina Gargaro, who is very likely to be the mother of the children born in Derby. My theory seems to correspond as in 1904, a man named Alexander Valentini Gargaro (possibly Maria’s widower) marries an Ann Hunt in Derby. A year later, there is more Gargaro births registered in Derby (likely to be half-brothers and sisters to the children mentioned previously) starting with Marco Valendino Gargaro then Ann Gargaro, Alexander Valentine Gargaro, Francesco Gargaro and William Gargaro (died as a baby). The couple have two more children in 1914 and 1917. From 1915, a steady stream of Gargaro marriages take place in Derby. I imagine today there are a fair few descendants of Alexander Valentini Gargaro still living in and around the city of Derby, however after looking in the current BT telephone directory for the Derby area, there is only one Gargaro listed.

There are also a significant number of Gargaros in Cardiff. Beneditto Gargaro, who was born in Italy, married his wife in Cardiff in 1885 and a year later a child was born named Rosina Gargaro. A further five Gargaros were born in Cardiff between the years 1886 and 1900. I am planning to research Beneditto Gargaro as I believe he could provide some clues on Luigi Gargaro, who might have arrived in the country around the same time.

Several Gargaros can also be found in Edinburgh, although I do not yet know very much about them. More information can be found on this website similar to mine.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Don Gargaro
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 22:25:15

    Very Interesting.
    I am named for my Great Grandfather Domenico Gargaro of Villa Latina, Frosione Italia


  2. Francesco Gargaro
    Oct 14, 2011 @ 15:38:10

    My family roots are with the Gargaro’s of Derby, my 3rd Great Grandfather was Francesco and he was born in Italy along with his wife Maria. They had children between them before Maria passed away.

    My 2nd Great Grandfather was Alexander Valentini(Valentine) and he married Ann Hunt and they had many children beweeen them, after her death Alex didn’t remarry nor did he find another companion. They did however have baby William in 1912 but he sadly died just before his first birthday.

    My Great Grandfather was Alexander Valentine who married my Great Grandmother Adelaide Silver. They had 3 children between them, including my Grandmother.


  3. Andy Lamb
    Oct 29, 2011 @ 20:28:45

    My great grandparents were Alexander V Gargaro and Adelaide Silver and my grandmother is Maureen.


    • Lynn Severn
      Mar 18, 2012 @ 10:55:44

      I believe your grandad was my grandad’s brother. I do remember him. Rumour has it that Alex died playing cards in my grandad’s pub (not sure how true that is).


  4. Lynn Severn
    Mar 14, 2012 @ 00:24:11

    I am the grandaughter of Marco Valentine Gargaro. My grandad married Nancy née Clarke. Alex was his brother. My grandad and nannar kept the Holly Bush pub on Bridge Street in Derby when I was young. They lived around the west end of Derby all of their lives. Has anyone visited the state arhives in Florence to look up Francesco and Maria (I understand known locally as Italian Mary).
    Lynn Severn (my mother is Betty (née Gargaro) her sister, my auntie is Jean King (née Gargaro)


  5. Arthur Gargaropoulos
    Jun 02, 2012 @ 08:48:30

    My name is Arthur Gargaropoulos I am Greek
    My family has its origin from Arkadia in Greece. this area was repopulated and partially ruled by Venetians during the Medevial period.
    A river called Lousios is located quite near the village Stemnitsa from where I am descended. The river is truly quite gargarling.


  6. Lynn Severn
    May 04, 2015 @ 15:40:47

    Hi – I am researching my family history and I have posted messages on this site before. The details above re the Derby Gargaro family are incorrect, the father of Rosa, Folimena (should that be Filomena) and Mariangela was Francesco Gargaro, he also had a son Alexander and he was the man who married Ann Hunt. One of there children was Marco and he was my granddad. I am interested in trying to find what happened to the three girls born to Francesco and Maria, as after Maria died I can find no further records of them and I am wondering if they were adopted as they were all very young when Maria died, but Alexander the boy was quite a bit older than them. I have asked my Aunt who is the daughter of Marco, who is now in her 80s and she was unaware of the three girls who would have been her great aunt. Does anyone know of these ladies?

    Lynn Severn


  7. Richard Gargaro
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 22:44:35

    I have some pictures you might be interested in.
    My Grandfather was Harry Gargaro married to Lucy.


  8. Domenico Gargaro
    May 24, 2018 @ 13:26:56

    My ancestry family tree shows my fathers family tracing back to Villa Latins, Frosinone, Italy yet “23&Me says we are fro England! I don’t get it


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