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Pattern of Spanish Surnames - Pautas de apellidos españoles

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MensaxePublicao: Dom May 18, 2003 10:36 am    Asuntu: Pattern of Spanish Surnames - Pautas de apellidos españoles Responder citando

[Art: PLEASE READ all these posts before replying.
This question has already been answered thoroughly.

These posts explain the pattern:

This message explains surnames ending in "-ez":

Here Carlos explains the linguistic origins of surnames ending in "-ez":

Art: SE RUEGA LEER todos los mensajes antes de responder.
Esta pregunta ya ha sido contestado rigurosamente.]

Estos mensajes explican el patrón:

Éste explica los apellidos que terminan en "-ez":

Aquí Carlos explica la origen lingüistica de apellidos que terminan en "-ez":

Hello All,

I was speaking with my cousin this morning, and I realized we're both confused about Spanish surnames and how they change when a woman marries. I know that a child carries both his/her father's and mother's last names, and I believe that the mother's name is the second name. For example, Maria Inclan Fernandez would have Inclan as father, and Fernandez as mother. Can someone confirm this? Have I oversimplified the situation?

When our fictitious Maria Inclan Fernandez marries the equally fictitious Diego Medina Suarez how does her name change? What would their children's last names be?

While having both surnames makes tracing back to the earlier generation a bit easier, it has also been quite confusing for me. I know I used to undestand this issue, but much to my chagrin, I'm quite confused! 'Embarassed'

Hope one of you can help me out!
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MensaxePublicao: Dom May 18, 2003 9:24 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

You understand it pretty well, but I've seen variations in that pattern that made me wonder.

When couples marry, the woman and man keep their original surnames. Again, women do not change their last names when they marry (nor do men).

When we lived in Madrid, some of our neighbors would ask how my "sister" was, because they knew JoAnne and I had the same last name.

Normally when a couple has a child, the baby receives the first surname from the father and the first surname from the mother. In your fictitious case, the child would be called Felecia Inclan Medina.

Even though this seems to be fair to women, the system is patrilineal, so it's only passing down fathers' names. That is, there is no such thing as a mother's name. Maria Inclan Fernandez had a paternal grandfather Inclan and a maternal grandfather Fernandez. Women only carry their grandfathers' names. Grandmothers' names get dropped. Even if grandmothers' names were maintained, they'd still only be the great-grandfather's names.

Often a person will be known mostly by their first surname (their father's). But there are exceptions. If the father's surname is common and the mother's surname is less common, a person may be known more by the mother's surname rather than by the father's. For example, the current president of the Principado de Asturias is Vicente Álvarez Areces, but he is known as "Areces" because there are many people with the last name of "Álvarez".

Please correct me if I got any of this wrong. I'd also be interested in hearing more about exceptions and the like.

Ultima edición por Art el Mie Xun 16, 2010 4:01 pm, editau 2 vegaes
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MensaxePublicao: Mar May 20, 2003 5:08 am    Asuntu: Surnames Responder citando

My understanding is that in Spain everyone has two surnames. The first is the father's first surname (i.e., his father's first surname) and the second is the mother's first surname (her father's first surname). They may or may not be hyphenated or have "y" inserted between them.

As far as I know, a woman traditionally keeps her original name (given name and both paternal and maternal surnames) when she marries, although she may add "de" followed by her husbands first surname.

Maria Inclan Fernandez could have had Victor Inclan Martinez as her father, and Obdulia Fernandez Suarez as her mother. When Maria Inclan Fernandez marries Diego Medina Suarez, her name remains Maria Inclan Fernandez, but it may also be Maria Inclan Fernadez de Medina to help distinguish her from others of the same name. Their first child may be Julia Medina Inclan.

Just to complicate things a bit, I have also heard that some people switch the order of the surnames (perhaps because one is more prestigious than the other) or use a hyphenated name as one or both of the surnames.

Of course, everything got confused when our ancestors moved to this country, with its different system of surnames. My grandmother, Josefa Fernandez Inclan was suddenly transformed into Josefa Martinez. The original Spanish system makes a lot of sense to me. Everyone has a name that they keep for life. The name tells something about their parentage on both sides of the family. Having the surname reach back only one generation avoids the problem of extremely long names.

At least in smaller towns in Spain, once you know someone's name and who his or her parents are (the two surnames), you have identified that person unambiguously. This is particularly important because many surnames are very common and of multiple origin (all of the names ending in "ez"--son of--for example), and because surnames tend to undergo the equivalent of genetic drift in small populations. In a small, isolated village, the number of surnames tends to diminish over time.

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MensaxePublicao: Mar May 20, 2003 12:23 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

That's the first I'd heard that the -ez ending meant "son of". Interesting.

Following that pattern, Fernando would have become Fernandez.
Similarly, I think these are correct:
  • Álvaro --> Álvarez
  • Chavo --> Chávez
  • Garcí o Garzo --> García
  • Gonzalo --> González
  • Gutier o Gutierre --> Gutiérrez
  • Hernán o Hernando --> Hernández
  • Ibaño o Iván --> Ibánez
  • Lope --> López
  • Martín --> Martínez
  • Menendo --> Menéndez
  • Mendo --> Méndez
  • Pelayo --> Peláez
  • Pero o Pedro --> Pérez
  • Rodrigo --> Rodríguez
  • Sancho --> Sánchez
  • Velasco --> Velázquez
  • Juán (via Ioannes) --> Yáñez

There are more listed here:

Is there an ending for "daughter of"? I doubt it.

Ultima edición por Art el Mie Xun 16, 2010 3:28 pm, editau 1 vegá
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MensaxePublicao: Mar May 20, 2003 1:13 pm    Asuntu: EZ name endings Responder citando

Yes, Fernando (or Ferdinando) becomes Fernandez or Hernandez. Martin become Martinez, Rodrigo becomes Rodriguez, Pedro becmes Perez, etc. I don't know what original name gave rise to Menendez.

While I'm curious about the possible relationship of "ez" in Spanish and the prefix "fitz", which means "son of" in Norman dialect of Old French (and perhaps other Old French dialects), I've never had time to look into it. Yet another project for retirement. Given that initial "f" tends to change to "h" in some dialects, and that what comes before the name in one language could easily come after the name in another, the possibility intrigues me. The older pronunciations of "ez" and "(f)itz" would not have been too dissimilar.

Endings that mean "daughter of" exist in some of the Scandivanian languages (for example, Icelandic, which is very similar to Old Norse--modern Icelanders can still read the old sagas in the original). I'm unaware of any such ending in Spanish or Asturian, however.

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MensaxePublicao: Llu Xun 09, 2003 12:45 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

At http://www.traceit.com/gazette/Dec14.html, there is a "featured article" which talks about the creation of surnames in the Middle Ages, which agrees with the -ez -es ending being "son of".

There is also other info about how place names became surnames if the person moved to a new area. Thus a Juán who came from Avilés might have become "Juán de Avilés."

The article also discusses how some Jewish Spaniards and lords/owners of places or "feuds" sometimes chose place names for their surnames. [A "feud" is an estate of land, especially one held on condition of feudal service.]

Since the article on Traceit no longer exists, I'll copy the relevant part here from the Way Back Machine.
http://web.archive.org/web/20031220144537/http://www.traceit.com/gazette/Dec14.html Plumió:

More Spanish Surname Information
Surnames originated from placenames (toponymics)
This is a very frequent type of Spanish surname. Let's suppose that a man whose given name is Fernando, who
lived in the Castilian town of Aranda, moved and settled down in the city of Valladolid. There were several
'Fernandos' among the members of his social circle, so he started to be called 'Fernando el de Aranda'
(= Fernando, the one from Aranda). In a short time, 'Aranda' became a surname and was passed down to his descendants.

It has to be remembered that to create such a type of surname, the person who started it had to quit his place of
origin and settle down somewhere else. If this Fernando of the above-mentioned example would have remain in
Aranda, his neighbours wouldn't hardly have call him 'the one from Aranda'. A placename-surname means that
the ancestor whith whom the family name originated came from -or had a strong relation to- the concrete place,
but the family who beared the surname settled down somewhere else, close or far away from the original place.

Another way of medieval surnames originating in toponymics has been the ownership or lordship of a family
over a place or a feud. For example, the members of a family owning the fort or manor of Frías (Burgos), were
called "de Frías", sometimes as unique surname, sometimes as part of a composite family name (for example,
González de Frías, Salazar de Frías).

It has been frequently said that Spanish surnames originated from cities-names and towns-names mean a Jewish
origin. This cannot be taken as a general rule. It is true that many Jews who converted to Christians adopted as a
surname the name of the city or town where they lived ('Toledo', 'Zamora', etc...). But many other branches were
originated from the same cities or towns following the ways described above, which doesn't forcely imply an
origin in the Spanish Jewish minority of the Middle Age.

Surnames originated from Given Names
The most frequent cases -which are exclusive of the Spanish and Portuguese genealogies- are the surnames
which end with "EZ" ("ES", for Portugal). This surname system comes from the Visigoths, the German people
who settled down in the Iberian Peninsula and founded here a Kingdom during the decline of the Roman Empire.
"EZ" means "son of" and has the same meaning as the suffix "-son" of some Germanic surnames (Anderson,
Johnson); "-vitch" or "-ievna" of the Russian patronymics (Nikolaievitch), etc... The far origin of the surname
"González" is in somebody who was called 'Son of Gonzalo' (Gonzál-ez); "Pérez" comes from 'Son of Pero' -that is
Pedro =Peter-, (Pér-ez); etc... In this way, many common Spanish surnames come from the Middle Age and had
their origin in the father's given name. These are some of the originating names:

- Alvarez: Son of Alvaro
- Díaz, Díez: Son of Diego
- González: Son of Gonzalo
- Gutiérrez: Son of Gutier (Wutier or Wotier)
- Fernández: Son of Fernando = Ferdinand
- Henríquez: Son of Enrique =Henry (it was written Henrique in medieval times)
- Hernández: Son of Hernando, which is the same as 'Fernando'. In old Castilian -Spanish
language-, many 'H' were 'F'
- López: Son of Lope
- Márquez: Son of Marco (Mark)
- Martínez: Son of Martín
- Méndez: Son of Mendo
- Núñez: Son of Nuño
- Pérez: Son of Pero (Pedro =Peter)
- Rodríguez: Son of Rodrigo = Roderick
- Ruiz: Son of Ruy = Roy
- Sánchez: Son of Sancho
- Suárez: Son of Suero

In some cases, the father's given name became a surname as such, even without the suffix "EZ". This happens
with surnames like García, Martín, Simón, etc...

These surnames have been borne since the Middle Age. Each of the many -and different- existing branches has a
different origin. Usually, it can't be told with certitude the concrete "Gonzalo" from whom a González family
descends, or who was the concrete "Pedro" who originated a certain Pérez kinship. The only few exceptions
concern the direct descendants of some Kings or members of the High Nobility of the Kingdoms of Castille and
Leon, Aragon or Navarra; some of these cases are the only well-documented ones.

Ultima edición por Art el Mie Xun 16, 2010 3:45 pm, editau 1 vegá
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MensaxePublicao: Xue Xun 26, 2003 9:25 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

hola. no sé si os podré aclarar algo. En España como bien decís, el primer apellido es el del padre y el segundo de la madre. Es decir, siempre hay dos apellidos. Esta es la línea general, pero hace unos años surgió una ley en la que era posible poner primero el de la madre y después del padre, aunque no es lo habitual, es posible realizarlo.

También es posible que el hijo al alcanzar la mayoría de edad, altere el orden de los apellidos

También es cierto que una vez se contrae matrimonio, la mujer no cambia de apellido, ha quedado un poco obsoleto el hecho de una vez se case cambie y empiece a llamarse Sra de..aunque es posible.

También y en caso de que no tenga filiación reconocida (no se conozcan sus padres) se le ponen dos apellidos de uso común ej. Fernández, García, Martínez.... Antiguamente en estos casos se ponía el como apellido la palabra Expósito, o bien de la Iglesia, Iglesias o bien un apellido de santo como San Juan, San Pablo...etc

Y como es lógico, en caso de que solo se conozca la filiación de uno de los progenitores, es posible que los dos apellidos sean del progenitor conocido

¿os he aclarado algo o os he liado mas???

Un saludo

Carmen Menéndez
Carcedo. Valdés. ASturias
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MensaxePublicao: Xue Xun 26, 2003 3:33 pm    Asuntu: Re: Need Help on Spanish Women's Surnames Responder citando

Hola, Suronda, me llamo Francisco y soy de Asturias, de Sama de Langreo. Te contesto que en España los hijos llevan los apellidos, 1º de su Padre y 2º de su Madre, actualmente existe una Ley que permite que puedas registrar a tus hijos poniendo 1º el apellido de su madre y 2º el de su padre, esto es nuevo de hace 2 años aproximadamente, lo normal es por ejemplo el mio Francisco Vazquez Estevez, Vazquez de mi Padre y Estevez de mi Madre, usamos siempre los dos apellidos.
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MensaxePublicao: Sab Xun 28, 2003 9:13 am    Asuntu: Re: Need Help on Spanish Women's Surnames Responder citando


I am an Argentine of Asturian descent living in Georgia.
Here is the answer to your question:
The use of both last surnames became standard at the end of the XIX century. The system is: first father's surname, second mather's surname. The name of a married woman DOES NOT change at all. It is not like the American system.

For instance (this is an hypothetical case, numeration according to Sosa-Kekule system):
1. Jose Perez Gomez
2. (Father) Manuel Perez Garcia
3. (Mother) Maria Gomez Lopez (her surname doesn't change when she marries. She can add "de Perez Garcia" if she likes, but this is not required any more and few women used it)
4. (Paternal grandfather) Juan Perez Sanchez
5. (Paternal grandmother) Ana Garcia Alvarez
6. (Maternal grandfather) Antonio Gomez Rodriguez
7. (Maternal grandmother) Juana Lopez Gonzalez.

The system is very simple. The use of the second surname is not mandatory and in many Hispanic countries it is not used. Even in Spain, it is only used in documents. The rule does not change: first paternal, second maternal. And the name of a married woman DOES NOT change in any way. If she wants it, she can add the preposition "de" (of) after her name, in number 3 above, Maria Gomez Lopez could be "Maria Gomez Lopez de Perez (or de Perez Garcia)" or known as "Señora de Perez Garcia" (Mrs. Perez Garcia). In fact, few Spanish women use "Señora de..."

All this is changing in Spain, because parents are now allowed by law to use as first surname the mother's surname if they wish, but this is a system similar to the Portuguese, which is very confusing. The child can use his/her mother's surname as first surname and his/her father's as second, but the only one that is inherited by his/her offspring is the second. This would be somewhat similar to the American tradition of using the maternal surname as a middle name. Hopefully, it won't prevail. The Portuguese system is beginning to change because of being so confusing, so I don't think the new Spanish one will endure. Under this system, the main problem is the female lines.


J.L. Fernandez Blanco
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MensaxePublicao: Mar Och 28, 2003 7:38 pm    Asuntu: -EZ suffix in Spanish surnames Responder citando

No existe ninguna relación entre la partícula Fitz- (Fitz-James, Fitz-Patrick, Fitz-Stuart, tan corrientes en Irlanda) y el sufijo -EZ de los apellidos españoles. La única relación es la del sentido genérico de descendencia de otra persona. La partícula FITZ, siendo de origen normando francés, se basa en la deformación de la palabra francesa "fils" (hijo, son), pero exclusivamente en el Normando medieval. La región francesa de Normandía se llama así por haberse asentado allí auténticos normandos provinientes de los países escandinavos. Estos primitivos normandos ("norr-manner" = north men) en un principio hablaban lenguas de origen germánico, pero al asentarse en Francia poco a poco perdieron su lengua y adoptaron el romance hablado en la zona, una de las llamadas "lenguas de oïl", finalmente unificadas bajo la forma del francés. Todo el romance francés se divide en dos grupos: el grupo del norte, llamado "la lengua (o lenguas) de Oïl", y el grupo del sur, llamado "la lengua de Oc" (de donde proviene el nombre de la región francesa llamada Languedoc). Estos dos grupos de lenguas presentaban una serie de importantes diferencias en la Edad Media, y la isoglosa que se empleó para diferenciarlas en la denominación (no la única existente) es la palabra que empleaban ambos grupos para decir "sí" (yes). En el norte decían Oïl, y en el sur Oc. De aquel Oïl medieval es de donde proviene el actual Oui del francés moderno.

Ahora bien, todo el gupo del norte presentaba varios dialectos. Dos de ellos eran el Normando y el Picardo. Estos dos dialectos presentan algunas características derivadas de la colonización de los escandinavos latinizados, como por ejemplo, los topónimos acabados en -ville: Amphreville, etc. Esto es más bien anómalo en Francia, donde lo normal es construir el topónimo al contrario: Villefranche, etc. Por eso son buenos indicadores de los lugares donde se establecieron.

Cuando estos normandos se lanzaron a la conquista de Inglaterra, ya cruzaron el mar hablando francés medieval. En Inglaterra se produjo una situación de bilingüismo socialmente estratificado: la nobleza de origen normando-francés, que hablaba francés medieval, y los campesinos, siervos, artesanos, etc, que hablaban anglo-sajón. De la mezcla de ambos idiomas salió finalmente el inglés. Después los normandos que habían conquistado Inglaterra pasaron a hacer lo mismo con la isla de Irlanda, y de ahí la presencia de esos apellidos en ella.

Respecto al sufijo español -EZ, no guarda relación como decía antes con ese FITZ. Pero sí que está relacionado con el "genitivo sajón" del inglés: John's Store > 'S = -EZ. Las lenguas indoeuropeas antiguas funcionaban a base de declinaciones (y buena parte de las modernas de ese origen conservan algunos e incluso muchos restos de esas declinaciones, el ruso conserva todavía unas 40). Una de esas lenguas era el latín, que disponía de un caso de genitivo similar al sajón, consistente en añadir una partícula al final de la palabra declinada. Esa partícula era -IS. Por ejemplo, Peter se decía en latín Petrus. Para decir "DE PEDRO", el latín no usaba la preposición, sino que cambiaba el final de PETRUS por PETRIS, o PETRI. En español se normalizó la forma -EZ, a partir de la forma altomedieval IS. La primera transformación fue convertirlo en IZ (sobre todo cuando el nombre contenía inmediatamente antes una I, se conservó esta forma: Muñiz, Ruiz, de Munnio, y Roi o Rui). Luego pasó a EZ. Durante varios siglos, la Z se pronunciaba como una especie de S, por lo que existía una cierta confusión sobre cómo escribir, ya que ninguna autoridad dictaba una norma ortográfica. En portugés el equivalente es ES. El dirigente político israelí Shimon Peres se llama en realidad Simón Pérez, ya que desciende de los judíos sefardíes (españoles) expulsados por los Reyes Católicos, que se instalaron en muchos lugares con su español medieval, el cual conservaron hasta nuestros días. En catalán el equivalente es IS. Las formas del mismo apellido serían: portugés Lopes, castellano López, catalán Llopis.

Este genitivo latino desapareció en el habla popular como todas las demás declinaciones, momento en que las lenguas romances se vieron obligadas a emplear en su lugar las preposiciones. Sin embargo, quedaron algunos restos a modo de fósiles en dos casos: en los apellidos, y en los topónimos (place names). Eso ocurrió por la presión conservacionista culta, al caer en el terreno de los notarios, escribas, la Iglesia, etc, que siguieron empleando el latín cuando ya nadie lo hablaba. De modo que topónimos asturianos como Villaperi quieren decir "(illa) villa Petris" (Peter's Manor) Very Happy

De todas formas, tampoco el español es un caso aislado. Por ejemplo, del mismo origen son los apellidos italianos acabados en -I: MARTINI (como el vermouth Very Happy ) sería lo mismo que MARTINEZ.

Este caso de la declinación latina posiblemente se vio reforzado con la llegada de los visigodos ("los godos del oeste" = West-Goths), pero no es seguro, porque ese pueblo, aunque de origen germánico, se latinizó enseguida. Lo que más aportaron al romance fueron nombres de persona germánicos (fácilmente distinguibles de los romanos) y cierta cantidad de palabras relacionadas con la guerra: GUERRA, ARNÉS, YELMO, HACHA, etc (WAR, HARNESS, HELMET, AX).

Un saludo.

(Sorry, I haven't the spirit for translate the text, perhaps someone of you?) Sad
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