Surname Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
The surname Hernandez has its origin in the Iberian Peninsula around the 15th century. Just like many other surnames from that area and time, this is a patronymic surname, which means that it is a derivation of the name of the father of the bearer. This can be identified by the presence of the suffix “ez,” which means “son of…” in Spanish, and this is what grants this last name the meaning of “son of Hernando” or “son of Hernan.” As is normal with patronymic surnames, there are a lot of lineages of Hernandez that are not related to each other.
Etymologically, Hernandez is a word derived from the name Ferran, which means “warrior.” At the same time, it is a derivation of the Celtic word “Har” which means “war” or “power.” Some experts claim that this surname also comes from the Spanish words “faro,” which means “journey,” and “nano” which means brave, giving Hernández the meaning of “brave traveler.” These are the roots of the names Hernando and Fernando, and these two names originated the Hernandez and Fernandez surnames. As can be seen, these surnames have the same origin, which is why they are so closely related. In fact, in its Portuguese version, Hernandez means “son of Fernando.”
King Ferdinand III of Castile & Toledo (1200-1252 AD)
These two last names became very popular after the death of King Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon, who reconquered Spain from the Moors. After his death, he was canonized, so people started naming their sons Fernando or Hernando to honor him. There are experts who believe that the reason why the Hernandez lineages from Spain use a variation of the French royal arms is because they are descendants of the French royal house of Valois. One of the first appearances of this surname actually belongs to its most popular variation – Fernandez. This is thanks to Asur Fernandez, a count of Monzon who lived during the 10th century.
Thanks to the fact that Hernandez has its origin in two languages – Spanish and Portuguese – it has several spelling variations. There are also other reasons that caused the development of these variations such as the mixture of languages in Europe during the Medieval Era. At that time, words were written according to how they sounded, including surnames, which caused mistakes when translating them. Due to all of this, the most popular variations of Hernandez are Hernan, Hernanz, Hernández, Hernandez, Fernant, Farrant, Fernan, Fernao, Ferrao, Hernaez, Hernaiz, Fernandez, Fernández, Ferrandez, Ferrandiz, Fernandes, Hernandes and several more. It is important to remark the importance of the accent mark in Spanish, given that its absence or presence can lead to two different words, which is why Hernandez and Hernández are considered two different words and are also considered spelling variations.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
Hernandez is one of the most popular surnames in the entire word, not only in Europe but also in America, given that this territory was colonized by the countries of the Old Continent. According to the census of 2014, Hernandez is the 85th most common surname on the planet. There are 5,689,160 people who bear it, and the country where it is most prevalent is Mexico. Furthermore, it has its highest density in Nicaragua. The second country in prevalence is the United States, followed by Colombia in third place and Venezuela in fourth place.
Early Bearers of the Surname
Some of the early bearers of the surname Hernandez or Fernandez were Diego Fernandez, count of Saldaña and Carrion in the 11th century; Gonzalo Fernandez from Córdoba, who was a captain of the Spanish army during the reign of King Ferdinand; Antonio Fernandes, an important Portuguese explorer of the 15th century, and the explorer Joao Fernandes, who was also from Portugal and lead expeditions to West Africa in the 15th century.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
Hernandez is a patronymic surname, which has the particularity of having several lines that do not have any sort of relation with one other. Therefore, not all bearers of the Hernandez surname are part of the same family. In fact, there are thousands of different family groups with this surname.
One of the branches of Hernandez that relies on a highly detailed genealogical line is the one which was related to the Pinzón family. The brothers with this last name who traveled with Cristopher Columbus to America are from this line. Said line began with Diego Hernández Colmenero, who in 1496 got married to Catalina Pinzón Alvárez. Pedro Hernández Colmenero Pinzón was born from this marriage, but there are no records as to who was his wife, or if he ever had one. Fortunately, there are records about his son, who bore the same name, Pedro Hernández Pinzón. Years later, Pedro Hernández Pinzón’s son got married to Beatriz González in 1563, and they named their first son Alonso Martín Hernández Pinzón. Alonso was born in 1564, and he got married to Ana Suarez in 1588. Their firstborn son was Antonio Hernández Pinzón Suarez, who was known as Antón Hernández Pinzón. He was born in 1591 and took Juana Grande de la Coba as his wife in the year of 1633.
The first child of Antón and Juana was named after his grandfather, Alson Hernández Pinzón, and he was born in 1637. Years later, in 1675, he got married to Inés Rodríguez. From this union, Francisco Hernández Pinzón was born in Moguer, Spain in 1676. Francisco was baptized in the Nuestra Señora de la Granada church on November 10, 1676, and he got married in the city of Moguer to Catalina Benítez Herrera on December 4, 1707. The eldest son of Francisco and Catalina was named José Hernández Pinzón, and he was also born in Morgue, Spain in 1717. He was baptized in the same church as his father.
When José Hernández Pinzón grew up, he became a Major or Ensign and life ruler of the city of Morgue. He received the status of nobleman from the crown, and he got married to Ignacia Prieto Tenorio on March 19, 1751. They had five children: Juan Hernández Pinzón, José Joaquín Hernández Pinzón, the names of the two following offspring are unknown, and Luis Hernández Pinzón. The eldest son, Juan Hernández Pinzón, was born on 1756 in the city of Moguer, but this is all that is known about him, as there are no records of his offspring or if he ever had any.
From this point on, the family line split in two, one was the line of José Joaquín and the other of Luis. The line of José Joaquín Hernández Pinzón Prieto continued when he got married to Jerónima Ramos Prieto Thenorio y Galván. Their first son was Antonio Hernández Pinzón Ramos. Antonio married María Gracia Berrueco in 1820, and they had a son named Antonio Hernández Pinzón Berrueco, who was born in 1838. Then, he married Dolores Flores Tello in 1873 and their firstborn was José Hernández Pinzón Flores, who was born in 1875. José married Victoria Jiménez Mantecón in 1902, and they had five children: Victoria, Dolores, Blanca, Francisco, and José Hernández Pinzón Jiménez.
The line continued with Franciso Hernández Pinzón, who was born in Moguer on July 4, 1918. Francisco had a very successful military career during the Spanish Civil War, and he earned the rank of Colonel Honorary of Artillery at the moment of his retirement. He married Carmen Moreno Vergara in 1945, with whom he had eight children, including seven daughters and one son. Francisco Hernández Pinzón died on April 30, 2010.
The other line was that of Luis Hernández Pinzón Prieto, who became an officer in the Navy and had a son, Luis Hernández Pinzón Álvarez, in Moguer on December 23, 1816. He also joined the Navy. Luis Hernández Pinzón Álvarez became the 28th General Captain and Admiral of the Spanish Royal Navy during the reign of Isabell II, when Spain faced Peru in a war for the control of the guano. He then joined politics and became a Member of the Parliament and then a Senator. He got married to María Teresa Balleras and Monroy, and their firstborn was José Luis Hernández Pinzón Balleras. Luis Hernández Pinzón Álvarez died on February 22, 1891, in his hometown of Moguer, and his wife died on September 5, 1920, when she was 84 years old.
José Luis Hernández Pinzón Balleras was a Member of Parliament in 1892, and he got married to Concepción Ganzinotto, with whom he had 3 children. Their firstborn was José Luis Hernández Pinzón Ganzinotto, and he was born in 1893. Their next child was Concepción, who was born in 1894, and they later had another daughter named Victoria.
José Luis Hernández Pinzón Ganzinotto became Lieutenant Colonel of the Marine Infantry, a lawyer, and even published a book. He married María Dolores Garrido Garrido, and they only had one daughter, María Teresa Hernández Pinzón Garrido, on August 7, 1936. José Luis was killed on July 22, 1936, in the civil war. María Teresa Hernández Pinzón Garrido married Manuel Varillas, and they had a daughter, María Victoria Varillas Hernández Pinson.
There are others records about different Hernández family members from Spain. In the town known as Moya, there are more lines of the original Hernandez family. One of them started with Ensign Diego Hernández, who was born in 1569 and married María Trujillo De Armas. They only had one child, José Hernández Días, who married María de Almeida in 1629. This last marriage bore children, but they took the last name of their mother.
Also in Moya, there was Andrés Hernández, who married Isabel Sosa. They had a son, Sebastián Hernández, who was born in 1642. Sebastián married Ana de Palenzuela Trujillo.
Early American and New World Settlers
Despite the big popularity of the Hernández surname, there are not many records of the arrival of its bearers from Europe to America after the New Continent was discovered by Cristopher Columbus in 1492. There only a few examples, such as Cayetano Hernández, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1803; Joaquín Hernández, who also landed in Puerto Rico in the same year, and America Catalina Hernández, Diego Hernández, and Isabel Hernández, who all arrived in 1811.
We were unable to locate any documented mottoes for the Hernández family.
We were unable to locate any documented grantees for the Hernández family.
Joseph Marion Hernández (1793-1857)
There is a long list of bearers of the surname Hernández who played important roles in different areas. From literature to sports, several bearers of the Hernández surname have offered their services for a good cause. Some of the most important ones are Carlos Enrique Hernández Ramos (1940-2016), a world champion professional boxer from Venezuela; Claudia Hernández, a model and beauty queen from Peru; Anabel Hernández (born in 1972), a Mexican Journalist; Xavi Hernández (born in 1980), a great football player from Spain; Gregorio Evelio Hernández López (1930-2015), a Major League Baseball player from Cuba, and American singer Peter Gene Hernández (born in 1985), who is best known as Bruno Mars and is a big name in today’s music industry. In other fields such as politics, there was Joseph Marion Hernández (1793-1857), an American politician who was the first person with Spanish ascendancy to have worked in U.S. Congress; former President of El Salvador, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, and Mexican politician Rafael Hernández Ochoa (1915-1990). In science, there were also important Hernández bearers such as Venezuelan physician José Gregorio Hernández (1864-1919), who has become a cult figure in this region given that many people claim to be healed by him in a miraculous way.