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Fun Facts About America's Top 10 Hispanic Last Names!

Fun Facts About America's Top 10 Hispanic Last Names! - Mi LegaSi

Our Heritage

Understanding our history and ancestry can provide insightful information about our lives today.  Did you know that according to the U.S Census bureau the top 6 out of 15 last names are Hispanic?  We thought we'd share some fun facts about the top 10 last names that you may want to share with your familia in order of popularity.

1.  GARCIA - The Bear

According to the Surname Database, "Recorded in the spellings of Garcia, Garci, Garza, and Garces, this is a surname of Spanish origins, whose 'roots go back into the very mists of time. It is believed to be the most popular surname in the region, and this is not perhaps surprising as it derives from the word 'artz' meaning 'the bear'." The bear possessed strength, bravery, and power.  "The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Diego Garcia, which was dated August 29th 1624, at San Pablo Apostal, Mexico. The coat of arms has the unusual blazon of a silver field charged with a flying bird of prey, inside a blue border, charged with a semee of saltires in gold."

Garcia Last Name Crest

Famous Garcias: Jerry Garcia (lead singer of Grateful Dead), Nicole Garcia aka Nikki Bella (WWE), Joanna Garcia (actress), Lilian Garcia (WWE, singer, announcer).  Others include Andy Garcia (actor), Aimee Garcia (screenwriter), Francisco Garcia (NBA player), Jeff Garcia (former NFL player), and Nina Garcia (Fashion Editor, Project Runway).

2. RODRIGUEZ - Famous Power

"This is an ancient and noble surname recorded in many forms. These include Roderick (English), Rodiger (German), Rodriguez (Spanish), and Rodrigues (Portugese), as examples of popular surnames.  There are apparently two quite separate origins, although with curious similarities which suggest a possible common source in pre-history. The first is from the ancient Gaelic-Breton compound "Rhyd-derch" which translates as "famous chief", a meaning which no doubt contributed to its early popularity. In the Middle Ages a secondary meaning was "the red haired one", although this in itself may also have harked back to the original meaning. The second origin is Germanic, from the pre 5th century, when German tribes, particularly the Vizigoths swept down into Spain and Portugal. They left behind many examples of their names, of which this is one of the most popular. The derivation is from 'hrod' meaning renown and 'ric' - power, a not dissimilar translation to the Gaelic." According to Srname Database.  "Early examples of Rodriguez include Christobal Rodriguez de Leon in 1536, and Juan Rodriguez de Santos, in 1662, at Valladolid, Spain. The coat of arms has the blazon of quarterly, red and gold, in one and four an eagle displayed in gold, in two and three, three fleur de lis in blue."
Rodriguez Coat of Arms
Famous Rodriguez: Michelle Rodriguez (actress), Genesis Rodriguez (actress), Gina Rodriguez (actress), and Alex Rodriguez (baseball star).  Others include, James Rodriguez (soccer star), Rico Rodriguez (actor), Chi Chi Rodriguez (golfer), and Paul Rodriguez (comedian).

3. MARTINEZ - God of War

"This famous name is a development of the Roman 'Martinus', a personal name derived from 'Mars", the God of war. The spelling here is Spanish, the name in England being normally Martin but also found as the Huguenot Martineau from Poitou, France. Martinez the name is recorded heraldically in Castille, Milan and Sicily.  The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Martinez di Castille which was dated 1580, Madrid, Spain during the reign of King Philip II of Spain, 1528 - 1598.  The Coat of Arms for Castille being, 'A green tree an a gold field, within a border of red with knight spurs in Gold'."- Surname Database

Martinez Coat of Arms

Famous Martinez: Natalie Martinez (actress), Susana Martinez (US governor), Pedro Martinez (baseball star), and Ivan & Emilio Martinez (Instafamous).  Others include, Victor Martinez (baseball star), Angie Martinez (radio DJ), Maximiliano Hernández Martínez (former president of El Salvador), and Victor Matinez (baseball star).

4. HERNANDEZ - Brave Journey

According to website House of Names, "The distinguished Spanish surname Hernandez is a proud sign of a rich and ancient heritage.  The earliest forms of hereditary surnames in Spain were patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name.  Spanish patronymic names emerged as early as the mid-9th century; the most common patronymic suffix being "ez."  The Hernandez name is derived from the Spanish elements "faro," meaning journey and "nano," meaning brave."  Further research according to website Family Crest Rings says, "The name has been in favour from the day of the Royal house of Castille, and the first of the name was King Ferdinand of Castille who lived from 1198 to 1252 and a notable member of the Royal family. Spain fell to the Moors around the turn of the eight century and this left a great mark on Spanish surnames.  The Spanish knights wore heavy armour from head to foot and the only visible means of identification for his followers and enemies was the emblem that was painted on his shield and on his surcoat. The Hernandez coat of arms is one of the first granted from the very early centuries."

Hernandez Crest of Arms

Famous Hernandez: Peter Gene Hernandez aka Bruno Mars (singer), Javier "Chicharrito" Hernandez (soccer star), Laurie Hernandez (US Olympian), and Larry Hernandez (singer).  Others include, Joseline Hernandez (reality tv star), Aaron Hernandez (former NFL player), and Xavi Hernandez (soccer star).

5.  LOPEZ - The Wolf

"It derives from the ancient words "lupus" and the 5th century a.d. "lobo", meaning the wolf. This suggests that either the name is a nickname or more likely it is a tribal and originally a form of endearment. The wolf, along with, in particular, the bear, the lion, and the stag, are figure regularly in the early records both of surnames and coats of arms.  The popularity of the surname is such that it must have been given to a large number of people, so large that in general it has to relate to a tribe or clan. Amongst the early recordings of the name taken from authentic church and civil registers, in both its home country and the New World of the Americas, are Catalina Lopez and Alonso Juan Lopez, christened at Asuncion, Mexico, on February 8th 1637." - Surname Database

Lopez Coat of Arms

Famous Lopez:  Jennifer Lopez (entertainer), George Lopez (comedian), Tai Lopez (investor, philanthropist), and Mario Lopez (tv host, actor).  Others include,  Brook Lopez (basketball player), Robin Lopez (basketball player), Sessilee Lopez (model), and Seidy Lopez (actress).

6. GONZALEZ - The Battle Field

"This famous surname recorded in the spellings of Gonzales, Gonzalez, Gonzalvo, Gozalo, Gonzalvez, Gosalvez, Goncaves, and Gonzalo, is usually accepted as being of Spanish or Portuguese origin. However in truth like so many Iberian surnames, its origins are Germanic. In the 5th century the Visigoths from Eastern Germany conquered the whole region, sweeping down from the Baltic and across the Pyrenean mountains into the Spanish Peninsula. the development is from the early German baptismal name 'Gundisalvus', which loosely translates as 'the battle field or battle place', a typical example of a warlike name so popular in the period. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Marcos Gonzales de Junguito, which was dated July 1st 1556, christened at Segovia, Spain, during the reign of King Philip 11 of Spain, 1554 - 1590.  The coat of arms most associated with the name is probably that granted to Gonzales de Castille, which has the blazon of a triple towered castle on a red field." - Surname Database
Gonzalez Coat of Arms
Famous Gonzales:  Tony Gonzalez (football star), Eiza Gonzalez (actress), Adrian Gonzalez (baseball star), Elian Gonzalez (Cuban boy caught in international custody battle).  Others include, Jose Gonzalez (singer/songwriter), Carlos Gonzalez (baseball star), and Giant Gonzalez (WWE).

7. PEREZ - The Rock

"Of all the surnames which derive from the saints and disciples of the Christian church, 'Petros' meaning 'The rock' has provided the world with the greatest number of both given names and the later medieval surnames. In their different spellings ranging from Peter, Pieter, and Pierre, to patronymics Peterson, Peters, Peres, Perez, Peers, and even the Armenian Bedrosian, to diminutives such as Poschel, Piotrek, Petrenko, and Pietrusska, there are estimated to be over seven hundred spellings.  The original name was Greek, and Christ chose Peter to be 'the rock' on which the church was to be founded. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic registers in both Europe and the Americas include Luke Petre of London, England, in 1282, William Petres of Somerset, England, in 1327, Andres Guillen Perez, at Aguaron, Zaragoza, Spain, on December 7th 1565.  The blazon of the coat of arms is very distinctive. It has a red field charged with a chross flory between four fleur de lis, all gold." - Surname Database

Perez Coat of Arms

Famous Perez:  Rosie Perez (actress), Pia Mia Perez (singer, YouTube star), Chris Perez (was married to Selena Quintanilla), and Marco Perez aka Markomusica (comedian, Youtube star).  Others  include, Alberto Moreno Perez (soccer star), Melina Perez (former WWE star), and Vincent Perez (photographer/director), and Janny Perez (founder of Mi LegaSi ;)!)

8. SANCHEZ - Saintly

"This famous Spanish and Portuguese surname is recorded in many forms including Sancho, Sanchez, Sans, and the Italian Sanzio. However spelt it is both religious and baptismal in original, the derivation being from the Roman (Latin) 'sanctus' meaning blameless, holy, and later saintly, a meaning which no doubt greatly contributed to its popularity both as a given name and later a surname.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alonso Sanchez de Copeda, which was dated 1509, at the city of Alicante, Spain, during the reign of King Ferdinand 11, of Spain and Portugal, 1489 - 1512. The coat of arms has the very distinctive blazon of a blue field charged with a gold eagle displayed wearing a crown." - Surname Database

Sanchez Coat of Arms
Famous Sanchez:   Roselyn Sanchez (entertainer), Aaron Sanchez (chef, tv personailty), Alexis Sanchez (soccer star), and Mark Sanchez (football player).  Others include Roger Sanchez (DJ), Jose Enrique Sanchez (soccer player), Jessica Sanchez (singer), and Natalia Sanchez (actress).

9. RAMIREZ - Wise and Famous

"This famous name recorded as Reinmer, Remer, Reijmers, Reymers, and the Spanish Ramirez and Remirez, is of pre 5th century German origins. It derives from the original given name 'Raginmari' consisting of the separate elements 'ragin' meaning wise or counsel, and 'mari' - famous. The reason why the name as 'Ramirez' is found in the Spanish peninsula, where it is one of the regions most popular surnames, is that in the year 410 a,d, the German tribe known as the 'Vizigoths' swept down from northern Europe, destroying as they went the Roman Empire which stretched down into Spain. As a result for several centuries the Vizigoths held onto Spain, and amongst the reminders of their stay are the prominent Spanish surnames Ramirez and Gonzales, as well as many others. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johann Reimers, which was dated 1293, in the charters of the city of Bremen, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Adolph 1, of the German Empire, 1292 - 1298. The coat of arms has the distinctive blazon of per pale, red and silver, three fleur de lis, two and one, counterchanged." - Surname Database
Ramirez Coat of Arms
Famous Ramirez: Sara Ramirez (actress), Dania Ramirez (model, actress), and Cierra Ramirez (singer, actress).  Others include Manny Ramirez (baseball player), Marisa Ramirez (actress), and Efren Ramirez (actor).

10. TORRES - The Tower

"Recorded in the spellings of Tour, De la Tour, Latour, Torres, de la Torre, and diminutives such as Touret, Torricina etc, this is a surname which has to be described as 'European'. In origin it can be said to be Roman, and from the pre Christian period, however it is recorded in the many different spellings in every European country since the medieval times of the 13th century. The surname is both residential and status, and describes a person who lived in and probably owned a fortified castle or small fortress, one probably of a single tower. The original word being derived from the Latin 'turris'.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elyas de Toure, which was dated 1202, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King John of England, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.The coat of arms has the blazon of a blue field charged with a single silver tower." - Surname Database

Torres Coat of Arms
Famous Torres:  Fernando Torres (soccer star), Gina Torres (actress), Dayanara torres (former Miss Universe), and Eve Torres.  Others include, Dara Torres (Olympian), Tico Torres (musician), and Raffi Torres (hockey player).
Check out some stats courtesy of
Last Names Stats

Hope you found some family history inspiration and a fun way to teach kids to Love their roots.

Like the blog?  Looking to create a strong connection to your Latino roots and empower your child through bilingualism? Explore my comprehensive bilingual parenting course, Confident Bilingual Parenting: How to Raise a Bilingual Spanish Child Your Way. Gain valuable insights, practical strategies, and access to a private community, ensuring you have all the tools you need to nurture your child's language development and cultural awareness from an early age.

You can also delve into my easy-to-read and visual book, Nobody Told Me This About Raising a Bilingual Child, which not only serves as a practical guide but also makes a thoughtful baby shower gift.

For more insights and inspiration, consider tuning in to The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast, where I empower parents raising bilingual kids through engaging case studies, expert interviews, and my personal words of wisdom.

No matter which path you choose, rest assured that I'm here to support your bilingual parenting journey in every way.

Thanks for stopping by :)

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