View Full Version : Portuguese Surnames from Germanic origins

Saturday, February 26th, 2005, 06:40 PM

Definition: A patronymic name meaning "son of Gonzalo." The given name "Gonzalo" comes from the medieval name Gundisalvus, which was the Latin form of a Germanic name composed of the elements "gund," meaning "war" and "salv" which is of unknown meaning.


De Castro

The actual origin of the name is known in so much a family that was headed by one Nuno Belchiedes, a German nobleman, came to the Iberian peninsular in 884 and following a series of name changes ended up with one Don Rodrigo Fernandez who had control of the castle and town of Castrojurez (or Castro Xerez) in castile. He started using the name de Castro and is recorded in a number of sources as the first person to do so.

There is a town called Castro in Italy (in the heal of the boot) and there are others , There are also towns of this name in Brazil and Chile. In addition there are at least 20 other towns of various sizes from very small villages to larger towns and cities in Spain and Portugal which start with the name of Castro In most books on early Spain and Portugal the name Castro is attributed to an early Celtic hill top fort consisting of a circular stone fort with low walls surrounded by a ditch.


Definition: Patronymic surname meaning "son of Alvaro." According to the Instituto Genealógico e Histórico Latino-Americano, the Alvarez surname originated from Spain, primarily from the regions of Andalucía, Aragón, Asturias, Galicia, León, and Navarra.


Definition: A patronymic name meaning "son of Rodrigo." The "ez or es" added to the root signifies "descendant of." The given name Rodrigo is the Spanish form of Roderick, meaning "famous power," from the Germanic elements "hrod, fame and "ric," power.

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.

Source: http://www.traceit.com/gazette/Dec14.html (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.trac eit.com%2Fgazette%2FDec14.html)


The origin of a surname may not always be what it seems. The obvious changes from the German "Schneider" to "Snyder" or even "Taylor" or "Tailor" (English for Schneider) are not at all uncommon. But what about the (true) case of the Portuguese "Soares" changing to German "Schwar(t)z"?—because an immigrant from Portugal ended up in the German section of a community and no one could pronounce his name.

Source: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa050399.htm (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fgerman.a bout.com%2Flibrary%2Fweekly%2Faa050399.h tm)

Thursday, September 15th, 2005, 08:33 AM
My mother always explained these ugly names were relatively new, but she never lay the blame on the Germanics.