Recorded as Lo Bracco, Bracco, and diminutives and patronymics such as Bracca, Bracchi, Bracci, Braccio, Bracciolini, and no doubt others, this is a medieval Italian surname. It originates from the word 'bracco' which describes a hound or hunting dog. Whether the subsequent surname was originally occupational to describe a keeper of hunting dogs, or whether it was nickname for somebody who was considered by his peer group to have the characteristics of a hunting dog, is unclear. The hunting dog is however a popular heraldic emblem so it is also possible that the name originally described a clan, the chief of whom was called Lo Bracco or similar. Italian surnames are the most difficult in all of Europe to research. Although hereditary from the medieval times around the 13th century, they were rarely locked in their spelling unlike most surnames of the Western Hemisphere to the point where some names only contain one letter from the original spelling. This is niot the case here but as Italy did not become a unified state until towards the end of the 19th century, centralised records did not exist. As a result such records as have survived tend to be at best erratic. Early examples that we have been able to find include Anna Maria Bracco, baptised at Pont Canavese, Torino, on June 27th 1816, and Maria Rosali Bracchi who married Giovanni Avellone at Palermo, on January 12th 1869. The coat of arms has the blazon of a gold field charged with an arm in armour fesswise, holding a battle axe.