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Updated May 16, 2022

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Catalan is an ancient language that over eight million people speak. Catalan is a romance language derived from Latin and is primarily spoken in parts of Spain, France, and Sardina, an island part of Italy. 

The Catalonian region is on the Iberian peninsula, located between Portugal and Spain, and has been a part of Spain since the early 18th century. However, the region has gained some of its independence back from Spain over the last sixty years and has its own president, legislative, and executive branches of government. 

Modern Catalonia surnames names were influenced by regions, personal traits, occupations, and nicknames. Because of its location English, Spanish, Italian, and other European languages have also influenced Catalan surnames.

The Most Common Catalan Surnames

Many of the most popular Catalan names are also popular Spanish surnames. All names on the top list are also patronymic surnames meaning they were passed down from a person’s father.

  1. Fernandez - Spanish. Son of Fernando.
  2. Garcia is the Spanish version of the German name Gerald. It is the most common daily name in the region, with 22% of the population having the name.
  3. Gomez - Spanish. Son of Gome.
  4. Gonzalez - Spanish. Son of Gonzalo. A derivative of the Latin name Gundisalvus.
  5. Lopez - Spanish. Son of Lope. 
  6. Martinez - Spanish. Son of Martin. It is the second most common name in Catalonia.
  7. Perez - Spanish. Son of Pedro. Pedro is the Spanish version of the Latin name Peter which means rock!
  8. Rodriguez - Spanish. Son of Rodrigo. Rodrigo comes from the German name Roderic meaning famous or powerful. 
  9. Ruiz - Spanish. Son of Roy. 
  10. Sanchez - Spanish. Son of Sancto. 

Surnames Based on Nicknames or Traits

Many Catalan surnames stem from nicknames, personalities, or physical traits. 

  1. Andreu - Greek. One who is manly and strong. 
  2. Bernat - French. Strong as a bear. 
  3. Bosch - Dutch. Woods or forests. 
  4. Castell - Old French. Castle. It could refer to someone who lived near a castle or royal manor. 
  5. Delmont - English/French. From the mountain or one who lives on the mountain. 
  6. Juan - Spanish. It means beautiful and graceful. Often used as a given name for boys.
  7. Marti - Latin. From Mars. A surname but also a nickname for Martin. 
  8. Oriol - A name with Catalan origins, it means gold. Sometimes used as a baby name for boys with blond hair.
  9. Oros - A name with a somewhat debated meaning but is believed to mean city dweller or refers to a person from Orozco, a territory in Basque. 
  10. Rey - Spanish. King. It could refer to someone with royal heritage or who acted like a king or superior. 
  11. Santos - Portuguese. Spanish. 
  12. Serra - A Castilian name meaning ridge or mountain.
  13. Tomas - A Portuguese version of Thomas that means twin. 
  14. Valencia - Latin. Strong and healthy. 
  15. Vidal - Spanish/Latin. Life-giving. 

Occupational Surnames

Like most cultures, occupational names are a common source of family names. Some occupational names are clear-cut, while others are nicknames. Either way, they can give a person a glimpse into the life of their ancestors. 

  1. Alcantara - Portuguese. It comes from the Arabic word for bridge. So it could mean someone who lived by or worked on bridges. 
  2. Barber - English. Refers to the occupation of a barber. 
  3. Cardona - French/Italian. A name for a church dignitary. 
  4. Ferrer - A Catalan name meaning blacksmith or ironworker. 
  5. Guardiolo - Catalan. Guard.
  6. Horta - Latin. A gardener or one who lives near a garden. 
  7. Juve - This last name’s meaning is somewhat disputed. But one possible meaning is from the Catalan language, meaning yoke maker. 
  8. Leon - A Spanish name given to landowners in Leon and possible to the people who worked the land. 
  9. Occitan - French/Latin. Pigeon keeper.
  10. Sala - A Catalan name that means hall or a large room. It was a name given to someone who worked at a manor house. 

Use the list below to find your last name and learn about its meaning and origins.

Popular Catalan Last Names on FamilyEducation: Abella, Casanova, Benet

L. Elizabeth Forry

About L. Elizabeth Forry

L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom… Read more

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