Tracing a Spanish surname might take you back in time to the days of the great Spanish explorers. Many people with Spanish surnames are descended from the Spanish hidalgos who settled the West, the Southwest, and the countries of Latin America.
The first permanent European settlement in the United States was the Spanish colony at St. Augustine, Florida. This beautiful city was settled a full forty years before the English came to Jamestown and nearly sixty before the Mayflower.
The great waves of Spanish immigration to the area that became the United States began in the sixteenth century with such explorers as Ponce de Leon, Coronado, and Cortez. The followers of these men often married and passed their Spanish surnames down through the Native Americans. Others brought their European wives across the Atlantic.
In the early 1800s, the Southwest (including California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas) was part of Mexico. Many settlers with Spanish surnames owned vast tracts of land and controlled thousands of head of cattle. By 1850 all these territories had become part of the United States.
Throughout the past 150 years, many people with Spanish surnames have come from Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean.
Your Spanish surname is likely to be traceable through a variety of historical documents. Church records give dates of baptism, marriage, and burial. Census records list residence, profession, age, and often more.
A Spanish surname may lead you back to a poet, a soldier, a rancher, but it will surely lead you to a family with strength and courage enough to start fresh in a new world. Discover your Spanish last name on OneGreatFamily.com, the original Internet family tree. You can rapidly add new branches to your tree.