Garcia: Name Meaning and Origin

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The origins of the Garcia surname are uncertain. Several theories for the meaning and origin of this popular Hispanic surname include:

  1. The most common meaning of the Garcia surname is the patronymic "descendant or son of Garcia" (the Spanish form of Gerald). The personal name Garcia is of uncertain origin, however, the given name Gerald is a Germanic name meaning "rule of the spear," from the elements ger (spear) and wald (rule).
  2. According to Elsdon C. Smith, author of "American Surnames," the name Garcia could mean either "descendant of Garcia, Spanish form of Gerald" or "one who came from Garcia, in Spain."
  3. Derived from the Basque word hartz, meaning "bear."

Garcia is the 8th most popular surname in the United States, the most common Hispanic surname in the country based on the 2000 census.

Surname Origin: Spanish

Alternate Surname Spellings: GARCI, GARZA, GARCIA, GARCES, GACIA, GACIAS, GACIO, GACIOT, GARTZIA, GARSEA, GASSIA

Famous People with the Surname Garcia

  • Jerry Garcia - Grateful Dead band member
  • Andy Garcia - Cuban American actor
  • Joaquín Torres-García - Mexican painter and founder of constructive universalism
  • Manuel Garcia (1775-1832) - Spanish opera singer and composer

Genealogy Resources for the Surname Garcia

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?

Common Hispanic Surnames & Their Meanings
Learn about the origins of Hispanic last names, and the meanings of many of the most common Spanish surnames.

Genealogy of José Antonio García
Browse a descendancy chart of José Antonio García of Lima, Peru.

The Garcia DNA Project
The Garcia Family Project seeks to find common heritage through sharing of information and DNA testing. Variant Garcia surname spellings, including Gacía, Gacías, Gació, Gaciot, Garces, and Garcia are welcome.

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

FamilySearch - GARCIA Genealogy
Find records, queries, and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Garcia surname and its variations.

GARCIA Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Garcia surname.

DistantCousin.com - GARCIA Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Garcia.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.
  • Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Hodges, Flavia. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.