Hispanic Surnames: Meanings, Origins and Naming Practices

Meanings of Common Hispanic Last Names

Spanish double last names
Kimberly Powell

Does your last name fall into this list of the 100 most common Hispanic surnames? For additional Spanish surname meanings and origins, see Spanish Surname Meanings, 1–50.

Continue reading below this list of common Hispanic surnames to learn about Hispanic naming customs, including why most Hispanics have two last names and what those names represent.

51. MALDONADO 76. DURAN
52. ESTRADA 77. CARRILLO
53. COLON 78. JUAREZ
54. GUERRERO 79. MIRANDA
55. SANDOVAL 80. SALINAS
56. ALVARADO 81. DELEON
57. PADILLA 82. ROBLES
58. NUNEZ 83. VELEZ
59. FIGUEROA 84. CAMPOS
60. ACOSTA 85. GUERRA
61. MARQUEZ 86. AVILA
62. VAZQUEZ 87. VILLARREAL
63. DOMINGUEZ 88. RIVAS
64. CORTEZ 89. SERRANO
65. AYALA 90. SOLIS
66. LUNA 91. OCHOA
67. MOLINA 92. PACHECO
68. ESPINOZA 93. MEJIA
69. TRUJILLO 94. LARA
70. MONTOYA 95. LEON
71. CONTRERAS 96. VELASQUEZ
72. TREVINO 97. FUENTES
73. GALLEGOS 98. CAMACHO
74. ROJAS 99. CERVANTES
75. NAVARRO 100. SALAS

Hispanic Surnames: Why Two Last Names?

The Hispanic double surname system traces back to the nobility class of Castile in the 16th century. The first surname generally comes from the father and is the primary family name, while the second (or last) surname comes from the mother. A man named Gabriel García Marquez, for example, indicates a father's first surname of García and the mother's first surname, Marquez.

Father: Pedro García Pérez 
Mother: Madeline Marquez Rodríguez 
Son: Gabriel García Marquez

Portuguese names, including surnames from Brazil where Portuguese is the predominant language, often follow a different pattern than other Spanish speaking countries, with the mother's surname coming first, followed by the father's name, or primary family name.

How Does Marriage Affect the Surname?

In most Hispanic cultures women generally keep their father's surname (maiden name) throughout their life. At marriage, many choose to add their husband's surname in place of their mother's surname, sometimes with a de between their father's and husband's surnames. Thus, a wife will generally have a different double surname than her husband. Some women also choose to use all three surnames. Because of this, children will have a different double surname than either of their parents, as their name is made up of (as discussed previously) their father's first surname (the one from his father) and their mother's first surname (the one from her father).

Wife: Madeline Marquez Rodríguez  (Marquez is her father's first surname, Rodríguez her mother's)
Husband: Pedro García Pérez 
Name After Marriage: Madeline Marquez Pérez or Madeline Marquez de Pérez

Expect Variants—Especially As You Go Back in Time

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Hispanic naming patterns were less consistent. It wasn't unusual, for example, for male children to be given the surname of their father, while females took the surname of their mothers. The double surname system which originated among the Castilian upper classes during the sixteenth century did not come into common use throughout Spain until the nineteenth century. Thus double surnames in use prior to 1800 may reflect something other than the paternal and maternal surnames, such as a way to distinguish one family with a common surname from others of the same surname. Surnames might also have been chosen from a prominent family or even from grandparents.