A few weeks back we asked readers to suggest last names to be explored and explained. The surnames with the most requests happened to end in –ez. We like to make you happy. First, we need to touch on how many names originating in Spain function.
Most Hispanic surnames, including those that end in –ez, fall into a few general categories. Many family names are based on a character or physical trait describing the original bearer of the name. For example, if your last name is Delgado, it’s possible that your great-great-great grandfather was a skinny fellow. (Delgado means “thin” is Spanish.)
Geographical surnames are also very common. These names are formed based on the location where a family lived — sometimes centuries ago.
There are also occupational surnames, which also date back centuries. This is a category that many non-Spanish surnames fall into as well. Take Smith or Miller for example.
Here are the definitions and contexts of some of the most frequent –ez names:
• Gonzalez means “son of Gonzalo.” The name Gonzalo originates with the medieval name Gundisalvus. The word part gund means “war.”
• Perez means “son of Pero” and other versions of the name, such as Pedro and Petros. Pedro means “rock” in Spanish. It’s believed that the name comes from the apostle Simon, who Jesus called a rock, or foundation, of the church. The name may have also derived from “peral,” the name of a pear tree, or as a variation of the Sephardic Jewish surname Peretz.
• Gomez means son of Gome or Gomo. Gomme is the similar English surname. The Middle English word “gome” means “man.”
• Gutierrez means “son of Gutierre,” which means “he who rules.”
• Lopez means “son of Lope.” Lope is a name that comes from Lupus, a Latin name meaning “wolf.”
Now it’s your turn. Are there other last names you’d like us to elucidate? Start typing.