Origin of Spanish Surnames

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What is the origin of my last name? Where does it come from?

It is very possible that you have ever asked yourself this question, and it really is not an easy question to answer:
In first place it's very interesting to know which category surname belongs.

In this article you will find the different types of surnames according to their origin and some examples of each category.



Toponymic Surnames

Are those surnames that designate the place of birth or residence of the person, being able to try a locality, a geographical accident or a construction.
Although few retain it today, most of these surnames contained in their origins the preposition “de” (example: De Burgos), “Del” (example: Del Río) or “de la” (example: De la Fresneda), “de los” (example: De los Perales), or “de las” (example: De las Cuevas).

Some toponymic surnames are:

• Aragonés
• Aranda
• Arellano
• Arroyo
• Ávila
• Avilés
• Aya
• Barahona / Baraona
• Barranco
• Bilbao
• Bisbal
• Braga
• Burgos
• Carranza
• Castañeda
• Castillo
• Catalán
• Cervantes
• Corral
• Costa
• Cuéllar
• Cuenca
• Cuevas
• Dávila / De Ávila
• Encina
• Fresneda
• Gallego
• Granados
• Hoyos
• Lago
• Laguna
• León
• Linares
• Madrid
• Mansilla
• Manzano
• Marín / Marino
• Miranda
• Montes
• Montilla
• Morata
• Naranjo
• Navarra / Navarro
• Nieves
• Ocaña
• Orellana
• Peña
• Perales
• Pino
• Olmos
• Rivas
• Romero
• Roca
• Sarabia
• Salazar
• Saldaña
• Santander
• Santisteban
• Segura
• Serrano
• Sevilla
• Silveira
• Soria, Soriano
• Soto
• Toledo, Toledano
• Torquemada
• Torrente
• Torres
• Valenzuela
• Valverde
• Vargas
• Vergara
• Villa
• Villalba
• Villanueva
• Villena
• Viñas
• Vitoria
• Zamorano.



Patronymic Surnames

Are those surnames that have their origin in the name of stack of the person's father. The vast majority of surnames Spanish patronymics were formed by adding to the name the suffix “ez” (example: Fernando / Fernández), in Catalonia and Valencia the suffix “is” (example: Pere / Peris), in the Basque Country the suffix "iz" (example: Lope / Lopiz)

Some patronymic surnames are:

• Álvarez (Álvar, Álvaro)
• Antolínez (Antolín)
• Antúnez (Antón, Antonio)
• Benítez (Benito)
• Bernardez (Bernardo)
• Bermúdez (Bermudo)
• Blázquez (Blas)
• Díaz, Díez, Diéguez (Diego)
• Domínguez (Domingo)
• Enríquez (Enrico, Enrique)
• Fernández, Hernández (Fernando, Hernán)
• Galíndez (Galindo)
• Gálvez (Galve)
• Garcés, Garcez (García)
• García (García, Garza)
• Giménez, Jiménez, Ximénez, Ximenes (Ximeno)
• Gómez (Gome, Guillermo)
• González (Gonzalo)
• Güemes / Güémez (Gome)
• Gutiérrez (Gutierre)
• Henríquez (Henrique)
• Hernández (Hernán)
• Ibáñez (Iván)
• íñiguez (íñigo, Ignacio)
• Jiménez (Jimeno)
• López (Lope)
• Márquez (Marcos)
• Martínez (Martín)
• Meléndez, Menéndez (Melendo, Menendo)
• Méndez (Mendo)
• Mínguez (Mingo o Domingo)
• Muñoz (Muño)
• Nunes (Nuno)
• Núñez (Nuño)
• Ordóñez (Ordoño)
• Ortiz (Ortún)
• Peláez (Pelayo)
• Pérez, Peris, Peres (Pere, Pero, Pedro)
• Ramírez (Ramiro)
• Rodríguez (Rodrigo)
• Ruiz (Roi o Roy, Ruy, Rodrigo)
• Sánchez, Sáez, Sáenz, Sainz (Sancho)
• Suárez, Juárez, Xuárez (Suero)
• Téllez (Tello)
• Velázquez (Velasco)
• Yagüe, Yágüez (Yagüe o Yago, Santiago)
• Yáñez (Ioan, Juan)



Surnames formed from professions or positions.

They are those surnames that identified the person based on her occupation, position or social condition. Some of these surnames are:

• Alcalde, Alcaide
• Alférez
• Ballester, Ballestero, Ballesteros
• Batanero
• Barbero
• Botero
• Caballero
• Carbonero
• Cardenal
• Camarero
• Caminero
• Capitán
• Cantero
• Carpintero
• Carnicero
• Carreiro
• Carretero
• Castillero
• Cerecero
• Cillero
• Conde
• Correa
• Criado
• Cubero
• Duque
• Escrivá
• Ferrer, Ferrero, Ferrufino, Herrera, Herrero
• Guerrero
• Hidalgo
• Jurado
• Labrador
• Manzanero
• Marinero
• Marqués
• Merino (nombre del juez o autoridad de una merindad)
• Melero (mercado de la miel)
• Molinero
• Monje
• Morterero
• Notario
• Ovejero
• Panadero
• Pastor
• Rey
• Rico
• Sabater (in catalán, Zapatero)
• Sacristán
• Saetero
• Sastre, Sartori
• Sillero
• Soldado
• Teixidó (Evolution of Teixidor. In catalán, Tejedor)
• Tejedor
• Tornero
• Vaquero
• Verdugo
• Zapatero



Surnames formed from physical, family or moral traits.

Some of these surnames are:

• Amor
• Alegre
• Barriga
• Bello
• Blanco
• Bravo
• Bueno
• Cabello
• Cabeza
• Cabezón
• Calvo
• Cano
• Casado
• Castaño
• Cortés
• Crespo
• Delgado
• Descalzo
• Feliz
• Galán
• Gordo
• Grande
• Hermoso
• Leal
• Lozano
• Manso
• Malo
• Moreno
• Nieto
• Pequeño
• Pinto
• Prieto
• Rojo
• Rubio
• Seco



Surnames related to the circumstances of the birth

Are those surnames imposed on those born according to of the circumstances of the moment of birth (the month of birth, the saint that was celebrated that day, etc.) We also include surnames in this category with which newborns of parents were identified Incognitos, many of them with religious references.

Some of these last names are:

• Abril
• Bastardo
• Buendía
• Diosdado
• De Dios
• Deulofeu (En catalán, Dios lo hizo)
• Expósito
• Iglesias
• Nomdedeu (En catalán, Nombre de Dios)
• San Martín o Sanmartín
• San Pedro o Sampedro
• San Miguel o Sanmiguel
• Temprano
• Tirado



Surnames of uncertain origin.

Are those surnames referring to animals, vegetables or objects. Possibly they identified the people who raised, cultivated, or manufactured.

Some of these last names are:

• Águila
• Botella
• Borrego
• Buey
• Cebolla
• Conejo
• Cordero
• Cuervo
• Gato
• Gavilán
• Lobato
• Oliva
• Osa
• Palomo
• Raposo
• Tocino
• Toro
• Vaca
• Zorrilla