My ‘Jusino’ Name Origin Research
Tracing the name origin of the ‘Jusino’ name requires a combination of some historical knowledge, linguistic understanding, records research and deductive reasoning. As background about me, I am descendant of ‘Jusino’ hailing from Lajas, Puerto Rico. I am bilingual in English and Spanish, as well as, being studied and proficient in Italian. I am also an investigator by profession.
I have come across three competing theories, they are:
1) The name is of Spanish origin and is a variant of the name ‘Justino’
2) The name is of Corsican origin and is derived from the name ‘Giusino’
3) The name is of Sicilian origin and is derived from the name ‘Giusino’
THEORY # 1 initially seemed to be the most reasonable because of the close similarity in the spelling between the Spanish origin name, ‘Justino’, and that of ‘Jusino’. The thought being that ‘Jusino’ is a variant of ‘Justino’, in which the ‘T’ had been dropped, as similarly exemplified by the name Irish O’Donovan becoming Donovan.
However, if this were so, we would also expect there to be an abundance of others with the name ‘Jusino’ still residing in Spain in the way there still remain in Ireland many of both the O’Donovan and Donovan names, but there simply are not. I, myself, called the very few (two) Jusino names that I found listed in the national Telephone Directory of Spain. What I learned is that they are actually descendant of a Jusino male who had emigrated to Spain from his native town of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. This indicates pretty conclusively that a variation of the name did not occur in Spain.
As well, had the variation of the name ‘Jusino’ from ‘Justino’ occurred in Puerto Rico, then all of the ‘Jusino’ name today would be descended of someone of the name hailing from Puerto Rico, however, this is not the case. There are Ellis Island Immigration Station records showing that Pietro Jusino (b. 1869) immigrated through NYC, on 27 May 1910, from Petralia Soprana, Palermo, Italy (Island of Sicily), who had his surname Anglicized to ‘Jusino’ from the original ‘Giusino’, and these ‘Jusino’ folks had no connection with the ‘Jusino’ of Puerto Rico.
THEORY # 2 rests upon the notion that the Jusino of Puerto Rico were part of the great migration wave of Corsicans that settled in Puerto Rico and that the name ‘Jusino’ is a Hispanicize spelling version of the name ‘Giusino’. It is true that, while the island of Corsica today is a French province, its earlier political ties had been with Italy, more specifically to the old ‘Republic of Genoa’. For this reason Corsican surnames largely resemble Italian sounding names rather French ones. I have also seen some Puerto Rico genealogical sources lists, numbering ‘Jusino’ among the names of Corsican families that immigrated to Puerto Rico.
Nonetheless, there are some compelling reasons why I have come to discount the Corsican theory, as well. First if this theory were valid, then we would also expect there to be an abundance of others with the name ‘Giusino’ still residing in Corsica. However, a review of the national Telephone Directory of Corsica has absolutely no listings of the name ‘Giusino’.
As compelling is the fact that the Corsicans migration to Puerto Rico had occurred, starting in the 1830s, as a consequence the Spanish Crown issued ‘Royal Decree of Graces’ (Real Cedula de Gracias) which fostered and encouraged that migration as labor for the developing coffee industry there. However, an early birth record shows that a resident named Ambrosio Jusino was born, in 1765, in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, and property records of 1787 show one Patrizio Jusino listed as landlord of a farm in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, indicating that people with the name ‘Jusino’ dwelled in Puerto Rico, at least since the early 1700s, over 100 years before the Corsican migration wave. And while the Corsican immigrants to Puerto Rico settled in their highest concentrations in the Town of Yauco – and to a lesser degree in the surrounding coffee growing villages of Adjuntas, Lares, Utuado, Ponce, Coamo, Guayanilla and Guánica – the ‘Jusino’ settled in their highest concentrations in the Town of San German, as well as, the surrounding towns of Cabo Rojo, Lajas, Sabana Grande, Hormigueros and Mayaguez. It is my belief, therefore, that the genealogical sources lists, including ‘Jusino’ among the names of Corican families in Puerto Rico, is merely an honest error resulting from the fact that the ‘Jusino’ name is Italian sounding, in the way that Corsican names similarly are.
THEORY # 3 rests upon the notion that the ‘Jusino’ of Puerto Rico are descendant from immigrants from the Italian island province of Sicily and that the name ‘Jusino’ is a Hispanicize spelling version of the name ‘Giusino’. I first heard of this notion from my family’s passed on oral folklore which claimed that two brothers immigrated from Sicily and settled in Puerto Rico many generations ago. Since so many families’ histories have similar tales and because I had not known of any historical connections between the islands of Puerto Rico and Sicily, I had initially dismissed this theory and searched elsewhere. However, the closer I looked, the more I came to relent and accept this theory as being the valid one.
First off, a search of the distribution of people with the surname ‘Jusino’ reveals that they settled in large concentrations in Puerto Rico – primarily in the southwest corner of the island, in the region around the Town of San German – and also throughout several states of the USA. A survey sampling of these ‘Jusino’ residents reveal most them to be descendant of ‘Jusino’ originally from Puerto Rico, while the remaining are descendant of ‘Jusino’ who immigrated from Sicily, as ‘Giusino’. As previously stated of the latter group, Ellis Island Immigration Station records show specifically the change in the spelling from ‘GIU’ (pronounced in Italian, as an English ‘J’ sound) to ‘JU’, for ease of Anglicized assimilation into the English speaking USA mainland. It is reasonable to conclude that a similar assimilation change occurred to the former ‘Jusino’ group in Puerto Rico. While I have yet to find immigration records definitively showing the spelling change specifically occurring to ‘Jusino’ in Puerto Rico, linguistically speaking the Hispanicize spelling of the name ‘Giusino’ would also be spelled as ‘Jusino’; the Spanish reading of ‘GIU’, is pronounced as the equivalent of an English ‘H’ sound, which in Spanish is spelled as ‘JU’.
Secondly, a review of the national Telephone Directory of Italy reveals that nearly all listings of the name ‘Giusino’ are found in Palermo area of Sicily. Historical research reveals that the name is a patronymic derivative meaning ‘Little son of Giuseppe’, likely taken from the given name of the father of the original bearer. The name ‘Giusino’ is registered among the Sicilian nobility peerage. In 1640, one Bernardo Giusino relocated from Genoa to Palermo, Sicily, where he was vested with the noble title of Duke of Belsito; the ‘Giusino’ have remained a prominent family in Sicily to this day. Therefore, it seems well established that the ‘Giusino’ surname has its roots in Sicily and not in Corsica.
Thirdly, historical research reveals the connection between the islands of Puerto Rico and Sicily is found through the ties both islands had with the ‘Kingdom of Spain’. With the union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon in 1479, Sicily was ruled directly by the kings of Spain, until 1860. Notably, starting in 1590, the Spanish crown actively encouraged its subjects throughout its European territories to resettle in its American colonies, such as Puerto Rico. Given that early records of ‘Jusino’ in Puerto Rico are from the early 1700s, I contend that it is reasonable to deduce that the original ‘Jusino’ in Puerto Rico arrived there in the late 1600s / early 1700s, from Sicily and to better assimilate into this Spanish speaking country, had changed the spelling of their surname from ‘Giusino’ to ‘Jusino’.
I had held belief in each of these theories, at one time or another, but have now reached the conclusion that the argument for the third theory is most compelling and that the first two theories can be discounted. Nevertheless, while I believe that Theory # 3 is well founded, it still requires finding an immigration record or some other definitive document that could substantiate its validity as the confirmed name origin story. Still keep in mind that, while searching for that definitive proof continues, it is important that we remain open to any critiques or other new theories that may yet present, and that we follow the evidence wherever it leads us.
Dwayne Jusino y Andujar
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