Population samples from Liguria, Piacenza and Pavia provinces, and North Lombardy are compared for surnames and HLA gene frequencies. The genetic structure inferred from the principal coordinate analysis of surname frequencies is different from that inferred from HLA gene frequencies. The latter may represent ancient migrations, since surnames are relatively recent genetic markers dating from a.d. 1500. Ligurian and Celts were the ancient inhabitants of this northern Italy geographic area. Genetic distances, derived from HLA gene frequencies, and represented with an unrooted tree show the presence of a Ligurian and a Celtic pole. The aggregation of the subpopulations to each pole accords with the history and the archaeological findings in the area.