The Origin of the surname MIZZI
The Maltese surname Mizzi is of patronymic origin. A patronymic surname
is one that is derived from the personal name of the original bearer. Mizzi
is derived from the Italian personal name of Giacomo which became Comizzo
and eventually Mizzo. When the surname first came to Malta from Italy around
1480 it was spelled variously as Muxi, Micci and Miczi, before finally becoming
Mizzi. A Mizzi is mentioned in the Notabile (Mdina) records as Mayor of
that town in 1582 and a Muxi as Treasurer to the Knights in 1647.
In 1551 the island of Gozo was raided by the Turks and almost the entire
population was carried away to slavery. Since most of the remaining Gozitans
fled to Malta for "safety", the island was practically abandoned.
After 1565 there was a drive to repopulate Gozo and many people from Malta
and other countries settled there.
Our Mizzi Ancestors
The earliest known ancestor of our Mizzi family in Gozo was Domenico, who
in 1628 married Marietta Azzopardi, in Rabat. The marriage of Domenico's
parents, Pietro Mizzi and Paulina, is not recorded in Gozo so they were
probably married in Malta, though this marriage has not be found in any
parish in Malta either.
Dr Placido Mizzi, born 1744, was our first Mizzi ancestor of note in Gozo.
He was a lawyer but is listed in the Malta Government Gazette, issue 6/1/2006,
as having worked also as a Notary between the years 1764-1786. Since then
the profession of Lawyer has been passed on from father to son(s) until
Dr Francesco Mizzi, Placido's grandson, born c1815, moved to Malta where
he married a Maltese girl. On April 30, 1885, Francesco, as Magistrate for
Malta, gave his judgment in the notorious Rapinet case (Histories of Malta,
vol 1. by Giovanni Bonello).
Dr Fortunato Mizzi, Francesco's son, born 1844, was founder of the Anti-Reform
party, later known as the Partito Nationale and today as the Partit Nazionalista.
He opposed taxation imposed by the British colonial authorities and resisted
their efforts to anglicize the educational and judicial systems. Dr Mizzi
fought so hard for Malta's rights during British rule that he became known
as "Padre della Patria" (Father of the Nation). Dr Fortunato was
married to Maria Sofia Folliero De Luna, descendent of a well-known family
from Naples, Italy.
Dr Giuseppe Mizzi, Fortunato's son, born 1873, besides being a lawyer, was
also a journalist and between 1910 and 1927 was director of the Newspaper
"Malta" which he had inherited from his father. He made his political
views known through writing articles and patriotic poetry in his newspaper.
One of his better known poems, "L'Ora Solenne", was published
on 26th February 1919.
Dr Enrico (Nerik) Mizzi, Giuseppe's brother, continued his father Fortunato's
struggle for Malta's autonomy. In 1942 he became leader of the Partit Nazionalista,
and in 1950 Prime Minister of Malta. He initiated the drive for Malta's
independence which was achieved in 1964. During his life Nerik was known
as "Il Cavaliere senza macchia e senza paura" (an honorable and
Dr Fortunato (Effie) Mizzi, Giuseppe's son, born 1917, followed in his family's
footsteps and became involved in politics early in his career. He was Minister
of Justice and Minister of Education in two separate administrations. In
1953 he went back to working as a lawyer till he was appointed Magistrate.
Later he was appointed Judge, and lastly Appeal Court Judge. Dr Fortunato
was married to Helen Grech Cumbo.
Dr Fortunato had four daughters, none of whom became lawyers. His brother,
however, Dr Edgar Mizzi, was also a lawyer and two of his sons became lawyers.
So the Mizzi tradition goes on