Spanish Naming Conventions – The Fundamentals

Spanish Naming Conventions – The Fundamentals

Because of the influence that Spanish tradition has already established around the globe, you may possibly very well have Spanish origins someplace in your household tree.

For those of you not really acquainted with Spanish naming conventions, finding and checking out ancestors can be a little perplexing.

Today we start with Part 1 of our Spanish Naming Conventions series – The Principles

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


Lots of you shall realize that Spanish names are generally more than in a lot of other countries. By much much longer I don’t mean they usually have more letters, after all they usually 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 neglect the Middle Name, knowing the name that is full dramatically easier.

Throughout this post I’ll make use of the present Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and their household, as one example to spell out culture that is spanish conventions.

Bear in mind though, that where I prefer the term Spain or Spanish, I’m actually speaing frankly about Spanish tradition expanding all over the globe, not only tradition from the nation of Spain.

First/Given Names

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

Remember that, as previously mentioned above, Luis isn’t the Prime Minister’s name that is middle element of the full, single, given name – Jose Luis.


In Spanish cultures, individuals usually have actually 2 surnames.

The first is the paternal surname (apellido paterno), the father’s very very first surname, and also the second could be the maternal surname (apellido materno), the mother’s very first surname.

Because you can have realised, this means 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 his maternal surname.

This aspect in regards to the paternal surname coming first together with maternal surname coming 2nd is a vital anyone to keep in mind, as we’ll discuss below into the paragraph about how to deal with some body by their surname.

Hitched Names and Children’s Names

In Spanish tradition, ladies usually do not alter their name whenever hitched.

exactly What this means is that the mom, dad and kids in a single family members will all, generally, have actually various surnames.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is married 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 Somebody By Their Surname

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

Therefore, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be called Senor Rodriguez, maybe maybe not Senor Zapatero.

Without attempting to confuse you, it is essential to remember that dropping the surname that is paternal perhaps not unusual if it is a really typical one.

Here is the instance because of the Prime Minister mail order bride meaning that is former of, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whom, due to exactly how common the surname Rodriguez is, is truly referred to as Zapatero.

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

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

Let’s leave it there for the present time as this was a excellent begin and can help those of you not really acquainted with Spanish naming conventions to obtain up to speed as to how these conventions are very different to those you may become more knowledgeable about. When you have a fascinating Spanish surname, leave us comment below.