Quick Guide to
can look a little tricky in Spanish. But once you understand the basic
difference between Anglo-American surnames and Spanish surnames it becomes
formulation consists of father’s last name (surname 1 here) and mother’s last
name (surname 2 here). The two given or Christian names are usually present,
though middle names are rarely used except on baptismal certificates. Any
middle names do not appear in databases or in the usual texts indexers work
with, such as history, social sciences, or medicine.
that “Márquez” by itself is not an acceptable surname for this famous Colombian
writer. It has to be “García Márquez” or alternatively “Gabo” for a more
is a married woman. She uses her father’s last name and her husband’s last name
separated by “de.” Nonetheless, many contemporary women use their maiden names
although their husband’s surname will appear on the children’s birth
certificates as Surname 1.
In the 21st
century, the traditional naming practices have undergone significant changes,
in the direction of 1) simplification, and 2) fitting into international
1) A common
simplification in the U.S. is to adopt name formats that resemble those of the
dominant English-speaking culture. It is most common among descendant
generations (whether recent or longtime historical, such as New Mexico
Hispanics) than among first-generation immigrants to this country.
considerations—Overall, databases tend to follow Anglo-American naming
practices. In order to preserve the compound surnames (Surname 1 and Surname
2), residents of Spanish-speaking nations and first-generation immigrants to
the U.S. may choose to hyphenate their two surnames so that they fit in the
“last name” field.
have invented many options to accommodate forms designed for English speakers. When
in doubt, always query the author.
For greater detail, see “Indexing Spanish Personal Names.”