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Updated August 22, 2022

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Galacia is a Western Ibero-Romance language spoken by roughly 2.5 million people. Galicia is an autonomous municipality in North-Western Spain on the Iberian Peninsula but under the Spanish government. Galacia includes the provinces Coruna, Ourense, Lugo, and Ponteverda. Castile, Portugal, Austria, and Leon border the area. 

While a relatively tiny area, it has its own language and culture. Because of its location, many common surnames are inspired by the surrounding European languages: Portuguese, Italian, German, and Spanish, to name a few!

Most Common Galician Surnames

There are over 3,000 surnames registered in Galacia, according to the National Institute of Statistics and the Galician Language Institute. Many of the most common Galacian surnames are patronymic, stemming from the father’s personal name. These last names often have the suffix -ez on the end, meaning “son of.”

  1. Fernandez - A patronymic surname meaning son of Fernando
  2. Garcia - This common surname means descendant of Garcia
  3. Gomez - Spanish origins, it means man.
  4. Gonzalez  - A patronymic surname meaning son of Gonzalo.
  5. Lopez  - This popular surname means son of Lope.
  6. Martinez - A name of Spanish origin meaning son Martin. 
  7. Perez  - This name descends from ancient Spanish and means son of Pedro. The Portuguese derivative is Peres.
  8. Rodriguez - A patronymic surname meaning son of Rodrigo.
  9. Ruiz  - A German last name meaning rich, powerful, or renowned.
  10. Sanchez  - Listed as the 92nd most common surname globally, it means son of Sancho.

Unique Galacian Surnames

Many of our name lists focus on popular or widely used first and last names. But this time, we thought we’d look at some of the beautiful and unique surnames less commonly found.

  1. Doejo - We couldn't uncover the meaning of this last name. But there is a software company in Chicago that uses the name. It could also stem from the Japanese Dojo, a martial arts school. 
  2. Domunio - Latin. This last name refers to the Lord.
  3. Lancara - This surname is popular in the Philippines, Cuba, and the United States. We are not sure what this name means, but there is a first name Latana popular in Florida that means flower. 
  4. Peirallo - This fun name is Spanish for gingersnap!
  5. Vilaboi - This name has possible Catalan roots. Vila means village or town, and boy possibly referring to a young man. 

Topographical Last Names

Spanish windmills

Many Galaixian surnames have their roots in geography. Whether it stems from a topographical feature such as a mountain or lake or a place, Galicians may be able to trace their family roots back and discover from where their ancestors hailed!

  1. Campos - English/French/Spanish. From the countryside. 
  2. Castro - Iberian. Fort or castle. 
  3. Montoya - Basque/Spanish. If you love Princess Bride, you’ll be familiar with the name Montoya. But did you know it means valley and hills?
  4. Morales - Spanish. Mulberry tree. 
  5. Peña - Spanish. Rock or cliff. 
  6. Rios - Spanish/Portuguese. From the Rio Tinto river. 
  7. Rivera - Spanish/Italian. Riverbank. 
  8. Silva - Spanish/Portuguese. Woodland or forest. 
  9. Torres - Spanish. Towers. Possibly the name for someone who resided near a castle.
  10. Vergara - Basque. This name has a beautiful meaning; a garden in the mountains. 

Galacian Surnames From Other Languages

Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, Galicia has been widely influenced by other cultures and languages. Continental Europe had easy access, and throughout the middle ages and the age of exploration, Visigoths, Germans, French/Basque, and individuals from Italy were frequent visitors, conquerors, and traders. 

A short trip across the English Channel and then the Bay of Biscay gave English, Irish and Scottish people access.  As a result, Galacian last names stem from many languages. 

  1. Alvarez - German. This name comes from Old German for Son of Alvaro.
  2. Cruz - Iberian. Cross.
  3. Garzon - French. Boy.
  4. Giraldo - Old German. Ruler of the spear.
  5. Magdalena - Polish/Spanish/German. A biblical name meaning a woman from Magdala. It is also a popular girl’s name throughout Europe. 
  6. Pereira - Portuguese. A common last name of the Sephardic Jewish community.
  7. Rameriz - German. Son of Ramiro.
  8. Ramos - This common name has multiple origins, including Basque, Hebrew, Spanish and Portuguese. It is believed to be a nickname stemming from Ram or Ramm, meaning lusty man. 
  9. Romero - Italian. This name refers to a person who took a religious pilgrimage to Rome. 
  10. Seija - Finnish. Tranquil or serene. 

Popular Galician Last Names on FamilyEducation: Bello, De Rego, Torres

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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