I know that h is used to signal the hard g sound when i or e follows, but is there anything like this, perhaps historical, for the letter a, i.e., gha?
I ask because I've been researching Italian genealogical records and found some last names spelled alternatively with -ga or -gha sometimes even in the same document. I've seen this many times, so I'll provide an example:
If you type "gha" into the Cognome box on this search page for the Italian government genealogical records, you'll see that one of the more common names returned is Bragha. If you then type "Bragha" instead into the Cognome box the first name returned is Annonziata Bragha whose parents were Lorenzo and Lucia, as shown in the top of this image:
The first image below that shows a portion of the source document showing the parent names, with the "Bragha" spelling, as expected. I know the handwriting is poor -- that's how it is in genealogical records sometimes.
The final image at the bottom shows that in the index (on this page) Annonziata's last name is spelled "Braga"
I could give more examples, if needed; I just gave this one because it's the first Bragha on that search page. The point is, I've seen this many times and want to know if there's any basis in Italian for use of "h" in gha. Perhaps historically? These records are from the 1800's.
If there is not, my best guess is that the folks who made these records were barely literate and simply mistakenly applied the rule about h at times.
Here's another example with better handwriting, again with an image from the source document on top and from the index page below, and both with links so you can check where I got those screenshots if you like. Notice here that even the father/child last names are spelled differently.