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#1
Old 06-13-2011, 04:48 PM
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Why do so many Hispanic last names end with z?

Martinez
Rodriguez
Lopez
Hernandez
Perez
Sanchez
Gomez
Ramirez
Diaz
Ortiz
Cruz

Why do so many Hispanic last names end with a Z?
#2
Old 06-13-2011, 04:56 PM
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-ez, -az, -is, -oz, and -es are common indicators of patronyms in Iberian languages.

Thus:

Martinez - son of Martin
Rodriguez - son of Rodrigo
Hernandez - son of Hernando

etc.

Last edited by Acsenray; 06-13-2011 at 04:57 PM.
#3
Old 06-13-2011, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
-ez, -az, -is, -oz, and -es are common indicators of patronyms in Iberian languages.

Thus:

Martinez - son of Martin
Rodriguez - son of Rodrigo
Hernandez - son of Hernando

etc.
Indeed, several generations of the early kings of Navarre were named, alternately, Ramiro and Sancho, and listed as Ramiro Sanchez and Sancho Ramirez. Like Martin, John's son becoming Martin Johnson, the patronymic 'fossilized' into a family name.
#4
Old 06-13-2011, 05:28 PM
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I was going to say something about Zorro, but I see your explanation is much better. Incidentally, my wife's maiden name is "jacobsen" and her family name is closely related to :Jacobson" (they are of scandinavian origin) and they both have similar origin: son of Jacob.

I am Italian, not in the sense most people in the US are "Italian", but I was actually born and raised there (I have been in the US 30 years) and I have been trying to think of similar last names in the Italian language unsuccessfully.

As I said, it has been 30 years (although I am still very fluent since I both read and converse in Italian regularly thanks to Skype and Italian media).

I think in Italian it's a lot more subtle. For instance, I know the family name "Esposito", originally from the Naples area, meant "Found one" or "orphan".

Other last names imply the provenance from a family, such as "Dei medici" or "De' Medici" meaning "coming from the Medici family" and therefore son of someone. But I cannot think of a last name that actually means "son of someone" when translated literally, it's more like "part of that clan".

If I am wrong, please set me straight.
#5
Old 06-13-2011, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cconti View Post
I am Italian, not in the sense most people in the US are "Italian", but I was actually born and raised there (I have been in the US 30 years) and I have been trying to think of similar last names in the Italian language unsuccessfully.
There were two main ways Italian did patronymics. The first is to add di, so that Pietro's son Marco becomes Marco di Petro. The second way, is to change the final o to i, so that he becomes Marco Petri.
#6
Old 06-13-2011, 05:35 PM
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I haven't heard of any patronymics in Italian, and the Wikipedia article on patronymics doesn't mention Italy either.

Last edited by Acsenray; 06-13-2011 at 05:35 PM.
#7
Old 06-13-2011, 05:36 PM
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Just becauez.
#8
Old 06-13-2011, 05:47 PM
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Re: Italian, this site backs up the claim, which was news to me: http://italyworldclub.com/genealogy/surnames/

I thought all those were placename-related.
#9
Old 06-13-2011, 05:57 PM
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Since it's bound to come up, we might as well get the Icelandic naming system into this thread. Still in use today, one adds -son or -dotir to the end of one's father's first name to get your last name (although not everyone still does this). It will be left as exercise for the reader to guess what "-dotir" means.

A can't make the accent symbol, but "dotir" should have an accent on the "i".

ETA: In the OP, "Cruz" does not fit. It just means "cross" in spanish.

Last edited by John Mace; 06-13-2011 at 05:58 PM.
#10
Old 06-13-2011, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
-ez, -az, -is, -oz, and -es are common indicators of patronyms in Iberian languages.

Thus:

Martinez - son of Martin
Rodriguez - son of Rodrigo
Hernandez - son of Hernando

etc.
I seem to recall reading that this ending is of Germanic origin.
#11
Old 06-13-2011, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Gwilliam View Post
I seem to recall reading that this ending is of Germanic origin.
Possibly from the same source as -s names in English (a Germanic language)?

e.g.

Williams = son of William
Andrews = son of Andrew
Phillips = son of Phillip
#12
Old 06-13-2011, 06:46 PM
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I know a lot of Hispanic names that are ES instead of EZ

Like Martines not Martinez or Rodrigues not Rodriguez etc.

Is this just a personal preference of spelling?
#13
Old 06-13-2011, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
I know a lot of Hispanic names that are ES instead of EZ

Like Martines not Martinez or Rodrigues not Rodriguez etc.

Is this just a personal preference of spelling?
-es names are usually Portuguese: Gomes, Lopes, etc.
#14
Old 06-13-2011, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
-es names are usually Portuguese: Gomes, Lopes, etc.
Is that the convention in Galicia, too?
#15
Old 06-13-2011, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Is that the convention in Galicia, too?
No idea on that one.
#16
Old 06-13-2011, 08:00 PM
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Minor note: Cruz is "cross" in Spanish and Portuguese. It comes from the Latin crux. It is equivalent to Croix in French, Croce in Italian, and Kreuz in German.

Last edited by Toucanna; 06-13-2011 at 08:01 PM.
#17
Old 06-13-2011, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
A can't make the accent symbol, but "dotir" should have an accent on the "i".
I believe it is "dóttir."
#18
Old 06-13-2011, 09:12 PM
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What is Perez? Is there a name like "Pere" in Spanish?
#19
Old 06-13-2011, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
What is Perez? Is there a name like "Pere" in Spanish?
Some of these patronymics get slightly condensed over time. "Perez" is "son of Pedro", I believe.
#20
Old 06-13-2011, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spark240 View Post
I believe it is "dóttir."
My bad. And to further correct my original post, it's really -sson and -sdottir that is added, with the first "s" being the possessive. Erik's son => Eriksson.
#21
Old 06-13-2011, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
What is Perez? Is there a name like "Pere" in Spanish?
Anglo patronymics can go even further afield --

Aitken - son of Adam
Hancock - son of John
Hodgekiss - son of Roger
Saunders - son of Alexander
Dobbins, Hobbes - son of Robert
Whatley - son of Walter
#22
Old 06-14-2011, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Possibly from the same source as -s names in English (a Germanic language)?

e.g.

Williams = son of William
Andrews = son of Andrew
Phillips = son of Phillip
I thought the -s names were typically Welsh. Though it isn't too surprising since they do speak English there, too, mostly.

Wikipedia in general is great at explaining questions like this. There's an entry for just about every common surname in the more widely spoken languages.

So I did know that Sanchez means "son of Sancho", but I can't say I've ever known of a person named Sancho, except for early Spanish kings.
#23
Old 06-14-2011, 03:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
{snip}So I did know that Sanchez means "son of Sancho", but I can't say I've ever known of a person named Sancho, except for early Spanish kings.
Perhaps because no one wants to be likened to "Sancho Panza" (Sancho Beer-gut) in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quixote de la Mancha?
Also, in Mexico, "El Sancho" is slang for the married woman's lover who sneaks into the house once the husband has gone off to work or if the husband is in jail. Interesting discussion on "el Sancho": http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1068292
#24
Old 06-14-2011, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
What is Perez? Is there a name like "Pere" in Spanish?
I think "Pere" is the Catalan equivalent of Pedro (Peter); compare French "Pierre".
#25
Old 06-14-2011, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
I thought the -s names were typically Welsh. Though it isn't too surprising since they do speak English there, too, mostly.
The Welsh picked up the -s from the English. Names like Jones, Davis, Williams, Edwards, Hughes, Richards, etc., could be held by people with either Welsh or English ancestries. But etymologically, these are English names.

Welsh patronymics are formed from the P-Celtic form of "mac" -- "map" or "mab." Thus --

Upjohn, Bevan, Bowen (Evans) - son of John
Pulliam - son of William
Pugh - son of Huw
Powell - son of Hywel
Penry, Parry - son of Henry
Price - son of Rhys
Pritchard - son of Richard
Prothero - son of Rhydderch
Prosser - son of Rhossr
Proger - son of Roger
Probert, Probyn - son of Robert
#26
Old 06-14-2011, 09:54 AM
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Names beginning with "Fitz-" (Fitzpatrick, Fitzgerald, etc) are also "son of" names. I vaguely recall reading that bastard sons of monarchs were saddled with these in particular.
#27
Old 06-14-2011, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
So I did know that Sanchez means "son of Sancho", but I can't say I've ever known of a person named Sancho, except for early Spanish kings.
According to Wikipedia, Sancho is a name of Basque origin, but it also says "citation needed". To anyone who knows, is that accurate? I cannot think of any known Latin or Germanic name that looks like Sancho, so it makes sense that it come from a completely different language, but OTOH it could as well be Celtic or something else.
#28
Old 06-14-2011, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Some of these patronymics get slightly condensed over time. "Perez" is "son of Pedro", I believe.

Similarly Díaz (Rather than "Dieguez") is "son (or descendant) of Diego."
#29
Old 06-14-2011, 02:20 PM
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Since Juan is such a common first name and I've never seen Juanez, I'm going to assume that Son of John is Juarez. Am I right?
#30
Old 06-14-2011, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BwanaBob View Post
Since Juan is such a common first name and I've never seen Juanez, I'm going to assume that Son of John is Juarez. Am I right?
I'd have assumed so, but here's a site that suggests "no", FWIW:

Quote:
In this case the name was originally of two elements believed to have been 'sur' meaning south and 'hari' - army. Whether this means that people who held this name were originally of the 'Army of the South' is unclear, but this seems a reasonable explanation.
That site also mentions that Suarez and Juarez are thought to be variants of the same name.
#31
Old 06-14-2011, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk View Post
According to Wikipedia, Sancho is a name of Basque origin, but it also says "citation needed". To anyone who knows, is that accurate? I cannot think of any known Latin or Germanic name that looks like Sancho, so it makes sense that it come from a completely different language, but OTOH it could as well be Celtic or something else.
A Celtic origin would seem perfectly reasonable, but there were other cultural influences in Iberia.

What about Arabic or Berber? Could the name be from the Moors?
#32
Old 06-14-2011, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk View Post
I cannot think of any known Latin or Germanic name that looks like Sancho, so it makes sense that it come from a completely different language, but OTOH it could as well be Celtic or something else.
Sancho is derived from Latin "Sanctius"-holy, as is the Italian name Santo/Santino.
#33
Old 06-14-2011, 03:05 PM
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I believe the Spanish patronym for "Juan" is "Juanico."
#34
Old 06-14-2011, 03:16 PM
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I've doing some quick-&-dirty Googling ... and I am surprised that I am having a hard time finding a Spanish cognate to "Johnson". Interesting.

There can certainly be "holes" or "thin spots" in a language's surname inventory, though. In English, a first name as common as "Mark" is matched to the rare patronymic, "Markson". "Georgeson" and "Victorson" are out there, too, if uncommon.
#35
Old 06-14-2011, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I believe the Spanish patronym for "Juan" is "Juanico."
This site suggests "Yañez" as Jaun's "-ez form" patronymic.

With that information, Googling "Yañez" turns up lots of addtional cites. While I have heard of that surname, it doesn't seem to be particularly common.
#36
Old 06-14-2011, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
Sancho is derived from Latin "Sanctius"-holy, as is the Italian name Santo/Santino.
This sounds quite possible. Do you have a cite for it?
#37
Old 06-14-2011, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk View Post
This sounds quite possible. Do you have a cite for it?
Not a good one. Wiktionary says so.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Sancho

as does Wikiname, which pretty stupidly says in one sentence that the name is of Latin origin and then in the next that it "may be of Basque origin."

http://wiki.name.com/en/Sancho#ORIGIN_AND_HISTORY

So take those sites for what they're worth.
#38
Old 06-14-2011, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
There can certainly be "holes" or "thin spots" in a language's surname inventory, though. In English, a first name as common as "Mark" is matched to the rare patronymic, "Markson". "Georgeson" and "Victorson" are out there, too, if uncommon.
I don't think there are really holes here. After all, in English a patronymic can be formed with no alterations whatsoever -- Mark (or Marks), George, and Victor can by themselves operate as "son of Mark," "son of George," and "son of Victor." I'm not sure how common they are, but I'm certain I've seen "George" and "Victor" used as family names.

Last edited by Acsenray; 06-14-2011 at 04:12 PM.
#39
Old 06-14-2011, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I don't think there are really holes here.
Yeah ... I went back in and added "thin spots" after doing a little research. I just meant "holes" and "thin spots" as a matter of frequency. But then, names tended to be unevenly distributed anway. Loads of "Johnsons" & "Smiths", not very many "Marksons".

There's no "Dweezilsons" out there, are there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I'm not sure how common they are, but I'm certain I've seen "George" and "Victor" used as family names.
Ah, I see, I wasn't counting "first-name" surnames like "George" or "Victor" as patronymics. Of course, they very well could have been father-derived names way back when.

Still, you're absolutely right about the not-too-uncommon surname "Marks" -- it's built on the model of "Peters", "Michaels", "Richards", etc.

Last edited by bordelond; 06-14-2011 at 04:37 PM.
#40
Old 06-14-2011, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
I don't think there are really holes here. After all, in English a patronymic can be formed with no alterations whatsoever -- Mark (or Marks), George, and Victor can by themselves operate as "son of Mark," "son of George," and "son of Victor." I'm not sure how common they are, but I'm certain I've seen "George" and "Victor" used as family names.
Yeah, like Boy George!
#41
Old 06-15-2011, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Ah, I see, I wasn't counting "first-name" surnames like "George" or "Victor" as patronymics. Of course, they very well could have been father-derived names way back when.
I'm not sure that "George" as an English first name is that old; no older than the seventeenth century, perhaps. And "Victor" has hardly been a common name over the years. Maybe even "Mark" has been uncommon outside of Wales (with its different religious influences). My guess is that it's that uncommonality that's the reason why these names don't have "regular" patronymic surname equivalents: the formation of those sorts of surnames probably relates to a fairly narrow period of English history.
#42
Old 06-15-2011, 01:29 AM
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George was the first name of "false fleeting perjured Clarence", brother of Edward IV and Richard III, in the mid 1400s. So that one at least dates back a bit. If Mark is anywhere near that old, it would be a very rare name, except as you note in Wales.
#43
Old 06-15-2011, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toucanna View Post
Perhaps because no one wants to be likened to "Sancho Panza" (Sancho Beer-gut) in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's Don Quixote de la Mancha?
Also, in Mexico, "El Sancho" is slang for the married woman's lover who sneaks into the house once the husband has gone off to work or if the husband is in jail. Interesting discussion on "el Sancho": http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1068292
In English, Sancho translates to Jody.
#44
Old 06-15-2011, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. Gwilliam View Post
I'm not sure that "George" as an English first name is that old; no older than the seventeenth century, perhaps.
:shrug: From the Wiki page of St. George:

Quote:
St. George is the patron saint of England; his cross forms the national flag of England, and features within the Union Flag of the United Kingdom. Traces of the cult of Saint George in England pre-date the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century; by the fourteenth century the saint had been declared both the patron saint and the protector of the royal family.
Now then: perhaps for one reason or another, it was an uncommon given name for a few centuries there.

Also, I'd have expected "Georges" and "Marc" to have been popularized by the French-influenced generations following the Norman Conquest.

"Victor" is a very old name derived from Latin. It could have been introduced to the British Isles during the times of Roman occupation, or come in through the Normans. Again, though ... it might not have been a very popular given name.
#45
Old 06-15-2011, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
If Mark is anywhere near that old, it would be a very rare name, except as you note in Wales.


Mark is one of the New Testament evangelists. The given name "Mark" may have been more or less avoided by the English, but I think the name it unquestionably old enough to have been known at the time last names became common.
#46
Old 06-15-2011, 10:36 AM
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What is the actual etymology of the suffix -ez? How is it derived from anything meaning 'son of'? What was the older form? I'm not coming up with any ideas except the Latin attributive suffix -ensis, which otherwise in Spanish became the suffix -és (as in francés, inglés). I wonder if the personal name suffix -ez and the ethno- or place name suffix -és are from the same origin, only not spelled the same.

Agadez in Niger is not an example of this, despite how it looks. That name is derived from the Tuareg Berber language Tamasheq, from a consonantal root g-d-z possibly meaning something like 'to gather together', 'to visit', 'hearth', or 'family'.
#47
Old 06-15-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
-es names are usually Portuguese: Gomes, Lopes, etc.
So it's a Portuguese spelling? 'Cause all these people I know are from Mexico. Maybe the spelling slowly crept north from Brazil
#48
Old 06-15-2011, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond View Post


Mark is one of the New Testament evangelists. The given name "Mark" may have been more or less avoided by the English, but I think the name it unquestionably old enough to have been known at the time last names became common.
I meant old/rare as an English given name. You are of course correct, and examples of Marks/-cs/-cos from Romance countries are easy to find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
So it's a Portuguese spelling? 'Cause all these people I know are from Mexico. Maybe the spelling slowly crept north from Brazil
It's the Portuguese standard usage, and a relatively uncommon variant in parts of Spain -- exactly what parts, I'm not sure, but I've seen examples of it as an unquestionably Spanish, not Portuguese or Portuguese-derived, surname. Maybe Nava or one of the others with more thorough knowledge of Spanish regionalisms may be able to help.
#49
Old 06-15-2011, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
What is the actual etymology of the suffix -ez? How is it derived from anything meaning 'son of'? What was the older form? I'm not coming up with any ideas except the Latin attributive suffix -ensis, which otherwise in Spanish became the suffix -és (as in francés, inglés). I wonder if the personal name suffix -ez and the ethno- or place name suffix -és are from the same origin, only not spelled the same.
Haven't dug into this deeply, but I always considered these types of patronymic endings to be ultimately derived from some kind of a genitive case** ending. That's opposed to patronymic forms such as Fitz-, which are traceable to a specific word meaning "son".

** the link is for the house, Johanna -- I know you're familiar with this.
#50
Old 06-15-2011, 11:01 AM
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Galicia? Portuguese-speaking citizens of Spain from Galicia would have wound up in New Spain (i.e. Mexico etc.) rather than Brazil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond View Post
Haven't dug into this deeply, but I always considered these types of patronymic endings to be ultimately derived from some kind of a genitive case** ending. That's opposed to patronymic forms such as Fitz-, which are traceable to a specific word meaning "son".

** the link is for the house, Johanna -- I know you're familiar with this.
A Latin plural genitive or else a third declension genitive? Those were the ones that ended in -s. The more familiar first and second declension singular genitives are -i, -ae, i.

Last edited by Johanna; 06-15-2011 at 11:06 AM.
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