Spanish surnames

This is just a quick post about spanish (or perhaps “latino”) surnames. Following of from yesterday’s My eight surnames.

I’ll call this a spanish thing, but it extends all spanish speaking latin american countries, as well as Portugal and Brazil (although slightly differently).

All spaniards have two surnames. They are also not in the habit of changing their surnames (yes, even after marriage).

Your first surname is (generally) your father’s first surname. Your second surname is your mother’s first surname.

So, let’s say that Marta López Pérez has a child with Juan González Martínez. The family surnames – which will be the child’s surnames – would be González López.

The woman’s surname still gets “lost” after a couple of generations, but I think it’s probably a better situation than the traditional anglo-saxon system of the wife taking her husband’s surname and passing that one surname onto the children.

Also, as someone once said to me, it means that cousins will all share at least one surname, which is nice.

So, back to the eight surnames from yesterday. Your grandparents’ eight surnames are the birth surnames of each of their parents. Which, in the spanish system, would be the two surnames that each grandparent has.

(Postdata: the “ez” ending is common for spanish language surnames. It is roughly the equivalent of “son” in english surnames. González would be “son of Gonzalo”.)

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