The surnames identify us with respect to our origin, refer to who our parents are, as well as create the feeling of belonging to a specific family. However, beyond the practical value of surnames, they also have very diverse origins, which constitutes an element of important cultural wealth, since they provide information not only about our origins, but also about certain elements related to the circumstances in which that name was forged that serves to identify a group of people from the same family. One of the most widespread surnames in Spain and a good part of Latin America is García, which has its origins in Navarre and which, although it may surprise many, is a much older surname of origin than one might think. If you want to know a little more about him origin of the surname García, its meaning and shields keep reading a HOWTO and we’ll tell you about it.
Meaning of the name García and shields
There are different theories regarding the meaning of this so common surname in Spain. According to most theories, García would be part of the family of the patronymic surnames, that is, those who do reference to a specific origin or lineage.
Likewise, according to the most widespread theory and defended by the historian and heraldist Alberto Montaner Frutos, the meaning of Garcia would be “bear”. Specifically, it would be a word of Basque origin that it would sound like “(h) artz” (bear), and that later it would become “(h) artzea”. This formula would have varied and evolved over the centuries until it became our current García. So, when speaking of the Garcias, one was speaking, literally, of the “family of the bears”, although any other meaning that would allow us to know the reason why the Garcias had been called in this way is part of the interpretation. current that you want to make of this fact.
There are many more meanings, depending on the time in which we stand. For example, it is also known that Garcia in the ancient Gothic language meant “prince of graceful sight”.
Also, there are variety of shields. In some you can see a heron, on different backgrounds, with different edges and even with different posture. In other shields, we can see lions, although those that frame a heron predominate.
Origin of the name García
Continuing with the theory of Alberto Montaner Fruits that place the origin of the surname García In the Basque “(h) artz”, we would find that the origin of this surname has its roots in the Pre-Roman Hispania. In this way, it could be said that the origin of this surname would be in the towns Iberians and Aquitans (southern France) prior to the Romanization of the Iberian Peninsula.
Later, from the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the surname would have become Romanized, having survived until the Visigothic Kingdom and the Middle Ages. In fact, the surname Garcia, written as such, appears in documents for the first time in the Kingdom of Navarra, specifically in documents from the years 789 and 791. That is, there is documentation from the 8th century that already testifies that it was a surname present in the society of the time in the same way in which we find it in the present, so it is reasonable to think that its current form is even older.
Variations of the surname García
Now that we know the meaning and the origin of the surname García, as well as some of its shields, it only remains to speak of the surnames that derive from it. Although Garcia is the most common surname And better known, philologists have determined that the original “(h) artz” evolved in many different ways. That is to say, that, in reality, we do not have a single surname that means “bear” and whose origins we must find in pre-Roman Hispania. Some of these lesser known variants, but with the same origin, are the following:
- Garcia (no accent)
Likewise, beyond the variations that may have arisen from the initial “(h) artz”, there are also other variations that arose from the evolution and fusion of surnames as a result of an original García that results in the creation of compound surnames but which, despite their form, constitute a single surname. These surnames usually originate as a result of the union of two surnames (generally that of the father and mother). Traditionally, the father’s surname prevailed over that of the mother, although currently when a son or daughter is born, they can be put in the preferred order or, even later, change the order of the surnames. However, in certain cases, and in order to prevent the maternal surname from being relegated to second place and being made invisible, it was decided to unite both surnames in a new one that would give rise to a compound surname. This made it possible to preserve the origin of both families, which was especially relevant when the woman came from a high social status or whose origin was aristocratic.
On the other hand, it could also be the case that the compound surname was the result of adding the place of origin to the existing surname, which served to differentiate two people with the same surname but who had no family relationship.
Some examples of these Compound surnames arising from the surname García initial are as follows:
- Garcia de Vicuña
- Garcia de Zúñiga
- Garcia Orobio
- Garcia de Barbón
- Garcia de Camargo
- Garcia de la Lama
- Garcia de la Vega
- Garcia de Leon
- Garcia Yáñez
- Garcia Huidobro
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