The most popular surname in the Molise is Mignogna (deriving from the dialect nickname originating from the italian word mignone meaning "small, pretty, cute") and is mostly present in the area of Campobasso and Riccia. Thereby follows Trivisonno, Panichella, Manocchio, Di Pilla, Colavita and D'Uva.
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Amongst the top 50 there are names originating from first names such as Marinelli, Pasquale, Perrella (from Pietro), Mastrangelo, Di Stefano, Fanelli (from Cristofano), De Luca, Giancola, Di Carlo, Antenucci (from Antonio) and Felice.
The category of surnames originating from nicknames is widely represented in the region with examples such as Testa ("head"), Forte ("strong"), Niro (from nero, "black"), Occhionero ("black eye"), Gallo ("rooster"), Palumbo (from colombo, "pigeon") and Tartaglia (speech impediment).
There are few surnames linked to a persons' origins, examples are Greco, Lombardi, D'Aversa and Calabrese. There are even less examples of surnames linked to trades - the exceptions are Palladino and Barone.
Molise is the only Italian region created by a division from another region. It was established in 1963 dividing from the ancient Abruzzi and Molise region. For this reason, it shares with the Abruzzo region a high number of the following surnames: Rossi ("red"), Mancini ("left-handed"), Testa ("head"), De Santis and Lombardi and also D'Angelo, Di Pietro, D'Alessandro, Di Stefano and Di Carlo.
Whereas with the neighbouring Campania, they share Caruso (from the dialect word meaning "boy, guy"), Russo, Esposito, Romano ("roman") and Santoro where as with the Lazio region, they share Venditti (from Benedetto) and Vasile (from Basile).