Spanish Naming Conventions – The Fundamentals

Spanish Naming Conventions – The Fundamentals

Aided by the impact that Spanish culture has already established all over the world, you might perfectly have Spanish origins someplace in your household tree.

For people not really acquainted with Spanish naming conventions, finding and checking out ancestors might be a confusing that is little.

Today we start with component 1 of our Spanish Naming Conventions series – The fundamentals

We’ll progress beyond that in the following few elements of this series but, as with every plain things, let’s begin at the start…

Starting Out

Nearly all you will observe that Spanish names tend to be more than in lots of other cultures. By much longer I don’t mean they will have more letters, i am talking about they will have more words.

Before we enter into why this is basically the situation it is crucial to comprehend that the thought of a “Middle Name” doesn’t occur in Spanish naming conventions.

Once you overlook the Middle Name, comprehending the complete name becomes dramatically easier.

Throughout this post I’ll make use of the present Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, along with his household, for example to describe culture that is spanish conventions.

Bear in mind though, that where I prefer the term Spain or Spanish, I’m actually talking about Spanish tradition extending all over the globe, not merely tradition through the nation of Spain.

First/Given Names

In Spanish countries, individuals either get one or two provided names. As an example Juan or, such as the Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis.

Remember that, as stated above, Luis isn’t the Prime Minister’s center title but section of the full, solitary, given name – Jose Luis.


In Spanish countries, individuals typically have actually 2 surnames.

the foremost is the paternal surname (apellido paterno), the father’s very first surname, as well as the second could be the maternal surname (apellido materno), the mother’s very first surname.

Since you may have realised, which means that that which we would phone the mother’s maiden title, is passed on an additional generation compared to traditional Anglophone cultures.

Returning to our buddy Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, utilizing the information above we now realize that Rodriguez is their paternal surname and Zapatero is their maternal surname.

This time concerning the paternal surname coming first while the surname that is maternal 2nd is a vital someone to keep in mind, as we’ll discuss below into the paragraph on how to address some body by their surname.

Married Names and Children’s Names

In Spanish culture, females try not to alter their title whenever hitched.

Exactly just What which means is that the mom, dad and young ones in one single household shall all, generally, have actually various surnames.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is hitched to Sonsoles Espinosa Diaz (Espinosa is her paternal surname and Diaz is her maternal surname) and their children’s names are Laura Rodriguez Espinosa and Alba Rodriguez Espinosa.

Handling Some Body By Their Surname

When handling some body by their surname in Spanish countries, in most cases you employ their paternal surname.

Therefore, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be referred to as Senor Rodriguez, maybe maybe not Senor Zapatero.

Without attempting to confuse you, it’s important to keep in mind that dropping the paternal surname is maybe maybe not unusual if it is an extremely typical one.

This is actually the situation utilizing the Prime Minister that is former of, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whom, due to exactly exactly just how common the surname Rodriguez is, is really referred to as Zapatero.

That having been stated, concentrate on the basic guideline and you ought to be okay.

Additionally, remember that it is more popular amongst Hispanic countries into the Americas to hyphenate the 2 surnames. That is an effort to prevent confusion whenever coping with Anglophone countries that aren’t acquainted with Spanish naming conventions.

Let’s leave it there for the time being as this was a exceptional start and may help those of you not really acquainted with Spanish naming conventions to obtain up to speed as to how these conventions will vary to those you may be much more knowledgeable about. For those who have a fascinating Spanish surname, leave us comment below.