Possible legal use of the Latin word "die"

Francis S

New Member
I am researching a deceased relative. He immigrated through Ellis Island as a boy in 1914, eventually changed (“americanized”) his name, and was naturalized in 1929 as a citizen. His name at birth was Andrea Compagna; he changed it to Andrew Mate. The name on his naturalization document is “Andrew Mate die Compagna.” In this context, I am guessing “die” is a Latin legal term meaning "born as" similar in intent to the French “née” for a married woman, but from the sources I have (internet and public library Latin and legal dictionaries) I am unable to confirm that. The closest I have come is possibly a past participle or something (I took Latin in high school many decades ago) of "dare" which in law could mean "given name"? "Deinde" ("from that place") looked positve because a dictionary said it may be abbreviated by poets to "dei" but the i and the e are in wrong order. I will appreciate any suggestions. Full disclosure: "Andrea Compagna/Andrew Mate" is not the real name. The man was my father, and he was a very private person. Even from wherever he is now, I am certain he would not want his name on display on any website! I apologize for the deception. Also, if this question does not belong here, I apologize. Thank you.
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Civis Illustris
"die" doesn't mean "born as" (which is natus, n. )
die is ablative case of noun dies (day); die means "on the day" (which imho doesn't fit between two names).
It might be that die is an acronym like "documented in evidence" etc.
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Terry S.

Staff member
Any chance of a look at a scan of the original?

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
My money would be on 'die' being an error that crept in at some point for the Italian 'di' plus article (del = di+il, dei=di+i) in an attempt to combine the names in some form.

Francis S

New Member
Terry S, I do not have a copy of the original. I saw one when he was still alive, but it is long gone. Fortunately (really? here, ignorance would have avoided this), I noticed "die" in the name, and asked him. He did not care. "I am an American. They can call me by whatever name they like." But my curiosity was aroused, so I wrote down what I saw. For a fee, I expect the National Archives or National Something would send me an official copy. I suppose it depends on the size of the fee and how important this is to me. I mean, I know what his name was, before and after he changed it, and I know that "die" was not part of it, so let it be?

Etaoin Shrdlu, You're right, when trying to make sense of any unclear human undertaking, "typo" is always a good place to start.

Adrian, If it was not a typo, and if, as all of you here suggest, it is not a Latin legal jargon, then, yes, it may very well be an acronym certifying an official procedure properly undertaken. Like, the clerk knew the applicant's last name at birth was different from the last name on the naturalization certificate, and, that being so, he/she was required by protocol to make note of the fact that, not withstanding the apparent discrepancy, all was in order. What precisely satisfied the clerk's need to reach a final, official determination? Documents in evidence (die)! I'm sold.

I thank all of you for your interest. You have put my mind at rest.


New Member

Send me an email (stephen @ ehat . org) with the true name and date of arrival and date of naturalization. I can access the record and discern the "die" problem. I've got 45 years' experience with Italian and American records and it seems like a problem that can be easily resolved. Without make a fool of myself in saying anything in the absence of the record you are referring to, my first intimation is that you've transposed the "i" and the "e" and actually are dealing with the Italian word "dei" ("of") -- even though, presumably it is written in an American naturalization record -- the word "dei" meaning, I would suppose, that the two surnames are "Mate" (second, acquired name) "of" or "from" or "derived from" "Compagna" (birth surname/family name), an Italian surname widespread throughout Italy (if that is at all the surname you are dealing with). Send the info to my email address.