CHAVEZ - Name Meaning and Origin

The Chavez surname derives from a Spanish root meaning keys.
Nathan Blaney/Moment Open/Getty Images

Chaves is an ancient Portuguese surname that literally means "keys," from the Portuguese chaves and Spanish laves (Latin clavis). Often an occupational surname given to someone who made keys for a living.

Chavez is also an alternate spelling of the Chaves surname, which in Portugal was often a habitational name from the town of Chaves, Tras-os-Montes, from the Latin aquis Flaviis, meaning "[at the] waters of Flavius." 

Chavez is the 22nd most common Hispanic surname.

Surname Origin: Spanish, Portuguese

Alternate Surname Spellings: CHAVEZ

Famous People with the Surname CHAVEZ

  • Cesar Chavez - American civil rights leader
  • Hugo Chavez - President of Venezuela
  • Nicole Chavez - Hollywood celebrity stylist
     

Where in the World Do People with the CHAVEZ Surname Live?

According to surname distribution data from Forebears, Chaves is the 358th most common surname in the world—found most commonly in Mexico, with the highest density of the surname present in Peru. Chavez is also a common last name in Bolivia, where it ranks 18th most popular in the nation, as well as Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Philippines, Honduras and Nicaragua. WorldNames PublicProfiler also has the surname as most common in Argentina, especially Northwest and Gran Chaco, as well as New Mexico in the United States, and southwest Spain (Andalucia and Extremadura provinces).


 

Genealogy Resources for the Surname CHAVEZ

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

CHAVES Family DNA Project
A Y-DNA project focused on family and genetic relationships between the various Chaves families around the world.

This includes the Chavez and Caceres surnames of Spain.

Chavez Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Chavez family crest or coat of arms for the Chavez surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 

CHAVEZ Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Chavez surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Chavez genealogy query.

FamilySearch - CHAVEZ Genealogy
Explore over 2.6 million historical records which mention individuals with the Chavez surname and variants, as well as online Chavez family trees.

GeneaNet - Chavez Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Chavez surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

DistantCousin.com - CHAVEZ Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Chavez and its variations.

The Chavez Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Chavez from the website of Genealogy Today.


-----------------------

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


>> Back to Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins