An ancient and noble family that flourished for centuries in various cities of Tuscany, where the family has produced illustrious and noble men of renown. Formerly known as Spada, the family flourished in Lucca; in Gubbio and Bologna; in Pesaro; and in Rome and Terni. The head of this noble family had the surname Brando and was nicknamed Spada (sword); he lived in 1010. Many members of this family were of the Council of Elders in the town of Lucca, and some held the high office of Gonfaloniere. Mino di Gerardo was one of three ambassadors sent by Emperor Charles IV to Pisa in 1355 to help obtain freedom for the homeland (Lucca); Giannino di Mingo in 1370 was elected one of the twelve citizens of a reform council and of the eighteen elected with very broad authority for the government of the republic, and in 1371 he was one of the first three leaders of the city; Giambattista di Gheraldo was a noted doctor of law who went to Rome and was dean of the lawyers of the Consistorial Council* and was a lawyer for the tax department and for the Apostolic Chamber in the Pontificate of Clement VIII, Leo XI and Paul V. Another Giovan Battista, grandson of the former, was made a Cardinal in 1654 by Pope Innocent. Coat of arms: Red, with three swords of gold fanned out with the tips down.
Yes, it says “SPADONI,” but it is not so.
It may be the Spada family crest, though.
In “Early Nichols Genealogy Exposed as Fraud,” in American Genealogy Magazine, Vol. 12, No. 1, we wrote of George L. Nichols’s experience with the research of an earlier researcher named Leon Nelson Nichols. George L. Nichols concluded that the work of the earlier researcher was purely fictional. “It’s a shame that people think they have to invent glamorous backgrounds for a family or families,” he said, “but they do it.”
Author's footnote: A couple of years after writing this, I came across some evidence that the Spada and Spadoni families could actually be linked after all. I have written about this possibility here: http://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-theory-on-origin-of-tuscan-surname.html.