Sent: Friday, December 24, 1999 4:04 PM
I am now answering to your letter from Texas I got just today. I will use a "familiar tone" since you are bearing my same surname and therefore, even if maybe very loosely, we have a family tie of some sort.
I do not unfortunately speak english and I can therefore only answer to you in italian (but my brother-in-law does... and he is translating this for me). I can forward to you some information about the spread of the Ardis surname in Italy.
In Italy the surname Ardis is born by relatively few people who, in my opinion, all originate from a single family. I live in Pescia (Tuscany), but was born in Fagnano Castello, in the Cosenza province (Calabria, southern Italy).
On italian phone directories a total of 37 Ardis is found. I personally believe that all Ardis living in Italy can be traced back to a single family having its (italian) origin at Fagnano Castello. This stems from the fact that of the 37 subscribers inscribed in the phone directories, 19 are living in the Cosenza province. Of these, 12 are registered in Fagnano Castello, a small center counting 5.000 souls. The other Ardis living in Italy as isolated families are to be traced back, in a way or another, to Fagnano Castello, as it is, incidentally, the case for myself.
Therefore Pescia has nothing to do with our surname. I would like to point to the fact that in the phone directories of the Cosenza province another surname (D'Ardis) is also to be found, tallying seven subscribers (the only ones present in Italy). This surname is nothing more than a "patronymic", simply meaning "the son of Ardis".
As for the origin from Persia, I would argue against it, since the italian Ardis I know have some nordic traits (fair skin, some red-haired, fair eyes, freckles).
The religious issue could be interesting. We are all of catholic religion. However, just outside the Fagnano Castello community, there is a small town called Guardia Piemontese, founded by Waldesien people, escaped from Piedmont (northern Italy). In this small center of Calabria people still speaks "occitan" (a Piedmont dialect from the past, derived from the "Oc" language of France), as did the first refugees fleeing from Piedmont.
In 1993, when I was a medical officer in the Army, stationed in Piedmont, I got to know a young soldier by the name of Ardi. On italian phone directories a total of 5 Ardi are to be found. Of these, three are resident in the Aosta province (a small province made up of a small territory in an alpine dale, just to the NW of Piedmont), and another one is living in Ivrea (Turin province, Piedmont), but bordering to the Aosta Valley region. All this could nothing but confirm your intuition about Waldesien. In this respect, Ardis could derive from Piedmont (or better Aosta Valley), while the Ardis remining in the Aosta Valley would have lost the final "s" in their surname, due to the fact that in the Aosta Valley french, and not italian, is the official language, and the final "s" is therefore not pronounced (this fact could lead to a wrong anagraphic record or transcription, with the finhal "s" being lost in the process).
But we still are left with one question: why in Guardia Piemontese there is no Ardis left ? Maybe the Ardis, to escape the prosecutions against the Waldesien, took refuge in the neighbouring Fagnano Castello and never went back to Guardia Piemontese. It could be an explanation, but all these are suppositions, not based on anything objective.
I personally do not have a deep interest in knowing theorigin of my surname, since I am a strong believer in the future, and looking at the past is not of my liking, I hope however to have been useful to your quest. I moreover enjoy getting in touch with other people having my same surname, and maybe being related to me in some way.
I would anyhow like to know your opinion on what I have just written to you, even if I realize you will have an host of problems with all these geographic localities and maybe you will need the service of a translator. If you need maps or geographic information supplementing this text, just ask for them and it will be my pleasure to find them for you.
Since the tone of your letter was too serious, I would like to attach a photo to this message. This would maybe lead you to have fun saying: "Sergio looks like uncle....!!!"