These Spanish surnames have their origin in orphanages

The study of surnames, known as anthroponymy, is of great interest to many people. Many want to know their origins by following the trajectory of their surnames. But can you imagine the origin of some as well known as Exposito, Blanco, Iglesias or Seville? Next, we will try to explain it to you.

What can the surnames say about us?

Although to really know the origin of our surnames it would be necessary to carry out a study of these, there are some that are quite easy to recognize and whose origin is well known by a large part of our society.

Beyond the García, Rodríguez, González, which according to the Statistics National Institute They are the most common in our country, there are others that have a great history.

Most of the Spanish surnames have their origin in the place of origin, a nickname or the profession of the ancestors.

Our country is full of González, Fernández, Rodríguez or Martínez. These surnames, as well as all those ending in ‘-ez’ began to be used to refer to the ‘children of’. That is, González is the son of Gonzalo, Fernández is the son of Fernando, Rodríguez de Rodrigo and Martínez de Martín, among many others.

There are other surnames that refer to the professions and trades of the father, such as Zapatero or Miller. Along these lines, there are also surnames related to public and ecclesiastical positions, and even surnames that referred to some qualifying adjective of the father such as Rubio.

For their part, there are people whose surnames correspond to the place of birth of your ancestors, such as Madrid. But at this point, the last name Expósito, among others, is interesting.

These Spanish surnames have their origin in orphanages Photo: bigstock

Origin of Foundlings and Incognitos

To know the origin of the last name Exposito we have to understand the meaning of the word foundling as such, which defines the children who have been abandoned by their parents as a newborn.

These children were generally taken to an orphanage and, since their origin or place of birth was unknown, they were surnamed with an adjective of social origin such as Exposito.

The last names Tirado or Diosdado they were also used to designate children of unknown provenance. In some cases they were given the surname of Incognito or White.

Some of these children were abandoned in front of churches or ecclesiastical places, hence I put surnames related to the place where they were found such as Of the Church, Saint John, Of God the Cross, Churches, or Of Mary, among others.

Sometimes, with the aim of hiding that these children had been abandoned at birth, instead of calling them Expositowith the name of the city, such as Salamanca, Bilbao or Seville, and even the country: Spain. In this sense, Common surnames from the area were also coined for them so that they would go unnoticed.

In Catalonia, these children were often given the surname Deulofeu («God did it»), while in Aragon abandoned children would receive the surname Gracia or de Gracia, because they were thought to survive by the grace of God.

Since 1921, Spanish law allows those with the Expósito surname who wish to legally change their surname.