Castro Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This romance language name is a Galician (Spanish), Portuguese, Italian, and Sephardic Jewish topographic name from the world castro (meaning castle or fortress), deriving from the Latin word castrum (meaning fort or Roman walled city). The name means who lived in or near, or came from, any of several places named Castro (or Castrothe) in Spain, Italy, and Portugal. It should be noted castles and fortresses were very important during medieval times for protection and survival, especially on the Iberian Peninsula during the Reconquista (the period between 718-1492 in which Christian Kingdoms in Southern Europe retook all Muslim territories in Iberia). A second theory is the name is a patronymic (son of) surname deriving from the town of Castrojeriz in Burgos, Spain. Some spelling variants or surnames with similar etymologies include Castroo, Castoro, Casttro, Castrillo (Spanish), Castri (Italian), and de Castri (Spanish).
It is believed the sixth arms (from left to right) shown on this page is the oldest known Castro coat of arms, granted to the Castro de Aragon branch of the family tree. The arms of Castro de Castille, also found in Portugal and even Amsterdam, is similar and is the seventh arms listed above. A branch of the family known as Castro de Scalenche, Turin, Italy, originally from Spain, had the Latin family motto veritas vincit, meaning “truth prevails”.
The website A Familia Castro states the following in regard to the third (left to right) coat of arms shown above on this page: “The Castro family originated in Castile, where they are thought to be descended from the earliest kings. Some of the oldest records of the name date from the early thirteenth century: Alvaro de Castro (died 1239) was a soldier of the Reconquest who fought under King Ferdinand III. The name also appears in a Papal Bull dating from 1242: the family is listed third below that of the King, an indication of its prominence. From Castile the family branched to other regions of the Christian north, including Leon, Galicia and Aragon. As the Reconquest progressed southwards, so did the family, and the family members took part in the re-conquering of the most important city of Cordoba in 1236. The Repartimiento de Cordoba of the 1240’s allotted lands and titles to those who had fought for the crown, and thus the family became established there, as well as in other major centres of the southern peninsula”.
The House of Castro was a Spanish noble lineage, originating in Castile, that derived its name from the town of Castrogeriz in Burgos, Spain, which also had branches in Galicia. The first identifiable person associated with this family, considered the founder of the noble house, was Count Fernando Garcia de Hita (1097-1125 AD), a kinsman and vassal of Urraca of Leon and Castile (the Queen of Leon, Castile, and Galicia from 1109-1126 AD). He may have been the son of Garcia Ordonez, and may have been a scion of the Banu Gomez clan. During the reign of Alfonso VIII, the House of Castro, led by Gutierrez Fernandez, had a rivalry with the House of Lara, another Castilian family, for power/influence on the Kingdom of Castile. Wikipedia states the following on regard to the House of Castro “The lack of heirs in the senior line resulted in the rise of a cadet branch seated in Galicia. This branch became the most powerful of the Galician nobility, and one of the most powerful in Spain. Traditionally linked to the county of Lemos, the most illustrious representatives were the "Great Count of Lemos" and his uncle, Cardinal Rodrigo de Castro Osorio. Another scion, Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro is still well remembered in Peru. The arms of Portuguese and Galician branches of the House of Castro. The House of Castro went into decline because of their lack of offspring, with the county of Lemos passing to the House of Alba. The coat of the Galician branch of the House of Castro were six blue roundels on a silver field. The Portuguese branch used a variant that included thirteen roundels on gold”.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Castro ranks 194nd in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following five states: California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Texas. Castro ranks in the top 115 names in each of these states.
In Spain, the name ranks 35th. In Portugal, it ranks 48th. The surname Castro frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the Latin and South America: Mexico (34th), Costa Rica (10th), Argentina (17th), Ecuador (17th), Colombia (19th), El Salvador (21st), Chile (23rd), Nicaragua (25th), Peru (25th), Cuba (37th), Bolivia (38th), Brazil (48th), Venezuela (48th).
Castro Family Tree & Castro Genealogy
The following is a medieval lineage where one can see the appearance of the Castro name:
Scemeno I Mittara de Gascuña or "Jimino" (born c. 745 AD)
Garsea II Scemenonis, rey de Pamplona (born c. 835 AD)
Sancho Garcés I García, rey de Navarra (born c. 860 AD in Sanguesa, Espana)
García III Sánchez de Navarra, rey de Navarra (born c. 919 AD)
Sancho II 'Abarca' García de Navarra, rei de Navarra (born c. 935 AD)
García II 'el Temblón' Sánchez de Navarra, rey de Navarra (boen c. 964 AD)
Sancho III 'el Mayor' García de Navarra, rey de Navarra, King Sancho III of Castile (born c. 990 AD)
Ferdinand I "the Great" of Navarre, King of Castile (born c. 1017 AD)
García I Fernández de Castilla y León, rei de Galiza (born 1042 AD in Of, Burgos, Castille)
Fernán García, señor de Hita y Uceda (born c. 1135 AD)
*Roderigo "the Bald" Fernández de Castro, Royal Lieutenant (born between 1072-1110 AD)
Gutierre Rodríguez de Castro, Señor de Lemos y Sarria, or "o Escalavrado" (born c. 1140 AD)
Fernán Gutiérrez de Castro, Señor de Lemos y Sarriá (born c. 1180 AD in Spain)
Esteban Fernández de Castro, Señor de Lemos (born c. 1220 AD)
Fernán Rodrigues Ruiz de Castro, señor de Lemos y Sarria (born c. 1260 AD)
Pedro 'él de la Guerra' Fernández de Castro, señor de Lemos, Monforte y Sarria (born between 1280-1332 AD)
Álvaro Pires de Castro, conde de Arraiolos (born c. 1310 AD in Portugal)
Pedro Álvarez de Castro, Senhor de Cadaval (bon 1340 AD in Portugal)
*He was a nobleman and knight medieval holder of the Fortress of Toledo where he held the government of the thousand Castilians that existed in that garrison of Toledo. He was lord of several towns in Spain and was a contemporary of Alfonso VII of Castile.
Some bearers of this surname during the time of the Middle Ages to the early modern period include:
1) Julian Castro (born 1759 in Matamoros, Rieno de Nueva Vizcaya, Mexico)
2) Salavatrice Castro (born c. 1753 in Corleone, Palmero, Sicily, Italy)
3) Josefa Castro (born in 1670, wife of Simon Esparza)
4) Alonso de Castro (born between 1444-1502 in Cudon, Santander, Spain)
5) Ana de Castro Osorio (born c. 1497 in de Castro, Spain, wife of Luis Colon, 2nd Duke of Veragua)
6) André de Melo e Castro, IV. conde de Galveias (born 1668)
7) Afonso Furtado de Castro do Rio de Mendonça, 1º visconde de Barbacena (born c. 1610 in Lisbon, Portugal)
Some marriages involving the Castro last name include:
1) Jose Castro (of Italy) married Rose Catalano (of New York) in Cuyahoga, Ohio in 1913
2) Elroy Francis Castro (of California) married Marguerite Wharton (of Ohio) in Hamilton, Ohio in 1926
3) Angel Castro (of New Mexico) married Lottie Burrat in Detroit, Michigan in 1925
4) William Castro married Anna Joseph (of Michigan) in Standish, Michigan in 1911
5) Tomasa Gomez Castro (of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas) married Guadalupe Armanza Silva in Laredo, Texas in 1909
6) Mary Castro married Michael Capone in Jefferson, New York in 1918
7) Josephine Castro married Rocco Pangallo in New York in 1909
8) Higinio Almendares Castro (from San Luis Potosi) married Francisca Valdes Rodriguez (from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon) in Laredo, Texas in 1899
9) Miguel Castro married Ramona Trevino in Laredo, Texas in 1869
10) Francisco Castro married Angela Gutierrez in Key West, Florida in 1893
Early American and New World Settlers
Two of the earliest known settlers in the New World bearing this surname were Martin de Castro and Pero Castro who came to “America” in 1513 AD. In 1535, Sebastiano de Castro went to Peru. In 1536, Juan Castro went to Guatemala. In 1666, William Castro came to the colony of Virginia in what would become the United States about a century later.
Several thousand members of the Castro family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) Lino Castro came from Spain in 1852 aboard the Black Warrior
2) Antonio Castro came from Nicaragua in 1853 aboard the Northern Light
3) John Castro came from Cuba in 1852 aboard the Crescent City
4) Castro de Henry came from Portugal in 1885 aboard the St. Laurent.
5) Celestino Castra came from Jamaica in 1874 aboard the Henry Chancey
6) Manuel Castro came from Mexico in 1843 aboard the Analmad
7) Lucas Castro came from Havana in 1838 aboard the India
8) Edward Castro came from Colombia in 1882 aboard the Alene
9) Jose L. Castro came from Spain in 1855 aboard the Progress
10) Emanuel Castro came from Spain in 1841 aboard the Duc d’Orleans
We have 15 coats of arms for the Castro surname depicted here. These 6 blazons are from Jean Baptiste Rietstap’s book Armorial General, which was published in 1861, as well as several other sources. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical notes/
There are hundreds of notable people with the Castro surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Veronica Castro (1952) who is an actress born in Mexico City, Mexico who has appeared in a variety of films and telenovelas, 2) Ramon Abraham Castro (1976) who was a professional baseball player who played for three different MLB teams (Florida Marlins, New York Mets, and Chicago White Sox) from 1999-2011, born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, 3) Raul Hector Castro (1916-2015) who was a Mexican-American politician who served as the US Ambassador to Argentina from 1977-1980, Ambassador to Bolivia from 1968-1969, Ambassador to El Salvador from 1964-1968, and 14th Governor of Arizona from 1975-1977, born in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico, 4) Admiral Ramon Castro Jijon (1915-1984) who was the President of Ecuador from 1963-1966, 5) Henri Castro (1786-1865) who was a Jewish Texan, and an important impresario (land settler), who was born in Bayonne, France, 6) Jose Cipriano Castro Ruiz (1958 to 1924) who was a member of the Venezuelan military who served as the nation’s president from 1899-1908, 7) Carlos Eduardo Castro Mora (1978) who was a Costa Rican football (soccer) player who played from 1997-2014 for teams such as Alajuelense and Rubin Kazan, 8) David Castro (1996) who is an American actor born in Long Island, New York, best known for his role in the TV series Shadowhunters, 9) Brunilda Giovanna Arbunic Castro (1964) is a female Chilean chess player who the FIDE title of Woman International Master in 1982, and 10) Jason Rene Castro (1987) who is an American acoustic/folk/pop singer songwriter born in Dallas, Texas, known for placing fourth on season 7 of American Idol.
Castro America Civil War Veterans
There were at least 61 soldiers with the last name Castro who served in the American Civil War:
1) David Castro fought for the Union with the 8th Regiment Missouri Cavalry
2) Juan Castro fought for the Union with the 1st Battalion California Native Cavalry
3) Pedro Castro fought for the Union with the 1st California Regiment California Cavalry
4) Victorious Castro fought for the Union with the 2nd Regiment Texas Cavlary
5) Seraphine Castro fought for the Confederacy with the 1st Regiment Mobile (Alabama) Volunteers
6) Donanciano Castro fought for the Union with the 1st Regiment New Mexico Cavalry
7) Juan de Dios fought for the Union with the 1st Regiment New Mexico Cavalry
8) Calisto Castro fought for the Union with the 5th Regiment New Jersey Infantry
9) Amedio Castro fought for the Confederacy with the 8th Field Battery, Texas Light Artillery
10) Jesus Castro fought for the Union with the 1st Battalion, California Native Cavalry