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The study of names as cultural characters and of surnames, which behave like genetic markers, is useful for comparing cultural and genetic transmission. Genetic transmission has a unique vertical component, which also can be present in the transmission of cultural traits associated with a horizontal (or epidemic) component resulting from local customs or fashion. Our aims in this study are to infer genetic patterns in Sicily from surnam es and names and to evaluate and compare the consequences of vertical versus horizontal transmission of cultural markers. Names and surnames of 88,383 consanguineous spouses collected in 16 dioceses of Sicily were analyzed by multivariate analysis to reveal and compare the geographic clusters obtained from both sets of data. As a result, both data sets indicate a major separation between the eastern and the western region of Sicily. A lso, distance matrices obtained from names are highly correlated with those from surnames. But names seem to form fewer and larger geographic clusters, whereas surnames are more greatly subdivided into smaller clusters. The most common male names present a different pattern from surnames. Vertical transmission is the cause of the similarity of the main geographic patterns of names and surnames and their correspondence w ith findings from geography of genes, and horizontal cultural transmission explains the major differences. Furthermore, the genetic and cultural affinities can be correlated with the historical background of Sicily.