Recorded in the spellings of Malacreda and Malacrida, this is a surname of Swisse and Italian origins. The derivation however spelt is from the Roman (Latin) pre Christian words 'mala' meaning bad, and 'credo', a loan or gift. As surnames did not develop in most European countries until after the 14th century, this suggests that the name was originally a medieval nickname. It may have described a banker, one who made bad loans, or more likely was one who charged a high interest rate. Whatever the precise meaning, and with all nicknames the translation has to be tinged with conjecture, one thing is certain, the first nameholders clearly regarded it with some satisfaction, otherwise they would have long ago changed to something else! Furthermore a coat of arms is recorded in Rollands grants of arms for the continent of Europe.This has the blazon of Paly, or and azure, on a chief gules, a lion rampant or. Italian surnames are traditionally the most difficult to research of all European surnames. This is because the country did not become a single country until 1860. Prior to that date the standard of recordings of births and marriages, depended on the wealth or often not, of the twelve statelets and mini kingdoms that made up the loose federation of Italy. In this case the first surname recording that we have is not in Italy at all but in Switzerland. Here Katherina Malacrida, the daughter of Niclaus Malacrida, and his wife, the former Johanna Maria Zehinder, was christened at the city of Bern, on July 1st 1704.
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