If you are curious about the origin of your last name, you should know that it is not an easy process. Although it is the first thing that we tend to look at when we undertake this search, the truth is that this data is the last one we should look at in our research. As explained for example from the Spanish National Library (@BNE_library), the first thing to focus on is figuring out who were our ancestors, that is, make a family tree.
Something more than the last name
This is recommended if we want to know exhaustively and as accurately as possible why we carry the surname we have and not another. This is so because really its origin is complex and is linked to numerous avatars happened throughout history. In addition, if we have a very common surname, reaching our true origins can become quite a complicated task.
Currently, some applications allow us to put it and offer us generic information of its origin, but not linked to our true personal history.
We must start from the basis that our surname may not always be the case and that this has undergone evolutions over time. The normal thing is that these changed or that they even joined names or other families and suffered modifications.
Lots of variety
For this reason, the guidelines that were followed when forming surnames must also be taken into account. On the one hand, we have the patronymic which are those that come from the paternal name. These usually end in «oz» or «ez», so in the case of Pérez, we mean «son of Pedro», and that of Muñoz, «son of Muño».
Sometimes the trades themselves performed were those that formed them, that is why the name appeared first and then the work that was carried out: «the Carpenter», «the Tailor», the Blacksmith «, and so on. Sometimes even the nicknames themselves that made reference to some physical peculiarity or ability, they became this hallmark. And also, in Spain, they were very frequent the toponymics, which are those that refer to a region such as Madrid, Segovia, De la Vega, Molina, to name a few.
These, therefore, are generic questions that we will have to assess when determining where our surname comes from, but the experts assure that it has been first of studying the history of those who preceded us in the family lineage. For this, you can go to a geneticist or start investigating on your own by asking relatives or browsing through the files at home.