About Hispanic Full Names

Hispanic full names are different from the American ones even if you see three words: in the US you have the first name – middle name – last name. In Hispanic countries you have a last name that comes from the father’s family name and the mother’s family name. Check out Hispanic authors’ family names: García Márquez, Pérez Reverte, Vargas Llosa, Vázquez Montalbán… When authors have only one last name, it’s because they chose not to have their full name as their pen name (Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende, Jorge Borges…) but they are officially Isabel Allende Something etc. (Pablo Neruda’s pen name was an alias, his actual name was Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto).

When you refer to an Hispanic person by their last name only (i.e. not giving the first name), you use both family names. For example, in the case of the composer Francisco Gabilondo Soler, you would refer to his music as Gabilondo Soler’s music.

When you know an Hispanic person’s name, it’s much easier to track down their genealogy tree since their names always include the mother’s name – even if only the father’s name is transmitted to the children.

Thanks to Monique Palomares from the Spanish version of Mama Lisa’s World for sharing this! Feel free to share your country’s naming traditions in the comments below.

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 at 9:57 am and is filed under Baby Naming, Customs and Traditions, Hispanic Traditions, Mama Lisa, Naming Customs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “About Hispanic Full Names”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Oscar Teliz commented:

    “Sorry, the way you wrote makes it sound like it is a rule. But it is not a rule, is a matter of choice, nor is it practiced by all Spanish derived cultures. It is only a choice of the person, just like when my American wife and I married, she chose to hyphenate her last name because she wanted to keep her maiden name, but also honor her husband’s name. Also, it is easier to establish ones identity when you have both last names and the practice is followed by the bureaucracy for that purpose, but again, not everyone uses it.”

  2. Lisa Says:

    Monique wrote:

    Indeed. I’ve just read that at least in Spain, you can choose the way your first child will be named = usually it’s father-mother but if the parents want it’ll be mother-father but they can’t change the order for their other children. Now it’s this way, in the past it wasn’t as far as I know. Here too, we can now choose how to call our children though they’re usually called by their father’s name. What he tells about his wife wanted to add her own name to his to be her married woman name is a different topic.

  3. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Lisa Giordano wrote:

    “This [in the post] is the only naming system that makes any sense.

    It’s clear as time goes on and the population increases, we will need to use hyphenated names to differentiate ourselves (should we want to) from other people with the same exact names. If social media is any indication, it’s clear this has begun to happen. There are over 500 listings for “Lisa Giordano” on FB, but none for “Lisa Aderhold-Giordano”.

    Also, a hyphenated name given to a child honors both mother and father equally. “

  4. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    Tom H. wrote:

    “My daughter has my wife’s last name. my son has my last name. it’s a bit confusing to some, but we both like it. of course, that wouldn’t work for everyone.”

  5. Lisa Yannucci Says:

    In Hungary they write their names with their “last” names first and their “first” names last.

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