Geneanet > Resources > Origin of First Names > Spanish first names

Spanish first names

Are you looking for Spanish boys’ or girls’ names for your baby, or want to know more about old family names? In Spain and in Spanish-speaking countries, first names have several origins, which reflect the richness of their history: biblical first names, but also Celtic, Visigoth, Greek or Native American first names. In Spanish, it is also very common to lengthen a short first name or shorten a long first name: Carlos becomes Carlitos, and María de los Dolores becomes Lola. Alongside these very popular first names, parents now choose many rare or original first names, sometimes from cinema, literature, or even their family tree.

Original first names

Some Spanish names are suitable for those looking for rare, or even unique, names. In addition to Castilian first names, Basque, Catalan or Galician first names offer both variants of classic first names (for example the Catalan Jordi, equivalent of Georges, or the Galician Bernal, variant of Bernard), but also much rarer first names, such as the Basque first name Amets, which means dream (in the sense of desire). This is also the case for certain old first names, which have become much rarer today, such as those of Visigoth origin, for example the boy’s first names Alarico or Chindesvinto, or the girl’s first names Riciberga or Clotilde.

Popular first names

In Spain, the INE (National Institute of Statistics) publishes each year the list of the most popular baby names, as well as the list of first names borne by more than 20 people. Our page dedicated to first names allows you to learn their origin, their popularity over time, and their geographical distribution! A similar page exists for surnames.

Spanish girls’ names

Here is the list of 50 popular Spanish girls’ names in 2022. Click on each one to learn more:

Lucia
Martina
Sofia
Maria
Valeria
Julia
Paula
Emma
Daniela
Carla
Alma
Olivia
Sara
Carmen
Vega
Mia
Lara
Alba
Noa
Lola
Valentina
Chloe
Claudia
Jimena
Aitana
Laia
Vera
Abril

Alejandra
Ana
Triana
Candela
Adriana
Manuela
Elena
Carlota
Ines
Blanca
Marina
Marta
Lia
Victoria
Nora
Zoe
Rocio
Alicia
Clara
Gala
Luna
Ariadna

Among the 100 most popular first names, we find Latin first names (Julia, Valeria, Valentina), Greek first names (Alejandra, Ariadna, Sofia, Zoe), Marian invocations, that is to say first names associated with the Virgin (Ainhoa, Carmen, Macarena, Rocío, Vega), first names of Germanic or Visigoth origin (Emma, ​​Gala), Arabic (Nour, Yasmin) or even Basque (Ainara, Nahia). Some first names, like Aitana, even have an unknown origin!

Spanish boys’ names

In the list of the 100 most popular boys’ names in 2022, we find in particular biblical and saintly names (Martin, Mateo, Pablo, …), Germanic first names (Hugo, long the most popular first name in Spain, Alvaro, Gonzalo), Italian first names (Enzo, diminutive of Lorenzo, or even Mario), and regional first names (Iker, Pau). As for girls, certain first names, like Izan, have a controversial origin.

Here is the list of 50 popular Spanish boy names in 2022:

Martin
Hugo
Mateo
Leo
Lucas
Manuel
Daniel
Alejandro

Pablo
Enzo
Alvaro
Mario
Adrian
Diego
Thiago
Bruno
Oliver
David
Alex
Marco
Gonzalo
Marcos
Nicolas
Antonio
Izan
Miguel
Javier
Luca
Liam
Gael
Marc
Dylan
Juan
Angel
Carlos
Jose
Gabriel
Sergio
Eric
Jorge
Dario
Adam
Samuel
Hector
Rodrigo
Iker
Francisco
Pau
Jesus
Guillermo

Archaic first names

In many places around the world, first names change from one generation to the next. At times, many people have the same first name, even siblings or cousins. In others, the names are so varied that even the most popular names are not very common. This is the case in Spain, where the most popular boys’ and girls’ names were given in 2022 to around 7,000 children, out of the almost 330,000 births during the year.

In Spain, several historical events have influenced the history of first names. In the 16th century, after the Council of Trent, only the first names of Catholic saints were authorized for baptism, which led to the disappearance of many local first names, although some of them are still visible in toponyms or surnames of family. With dechristianization, many original first names were used, notably of Greek, Latin or Germanic origin. This is the case of Afrodisia, Fraternidad, Segismunda or Niceta for women or even Heliodoro, Frumencio or Floreal for men.

More recently, under the Franco dictatorship, only first names that were Catholic or considered traditionally Spanish were accepted in the civil registry. Families were encouraged to give their boys and girls first names composed of José and Maria, the parents of Christ. A large proportion of people born between 1939 and the end of the dictatorship therefore have compound first names, for example José Luis, José Manuel, José Antonio, or Marian invocations such as María del Carmen, María de los Ángeles, María de las Nieves.

Since the return of democracy, it is possible to give a much greater variety of first names. However, Spain maintains specific rules: contrary to an aristocratic tradition which consisted of giving many first names to children (the king’s name is Felipe Juan Pablo Alfonso de Todos los Santos), only two first names are authorized. It is also not permitted to give the same first name to two brothers and sisters, unless the first is deceased.

What were the first names of your ancestors?

To obtain the list of first names mentioned in your family tree at Geneanet, click on the menu of your online tree then on “genealogical statistics”. The “first names” page will give you the complete list of your ancestors’ first names and the number of people with each of these first names in your ancestry. Geneanet Premium members also have access to illustrated statistics, including a donut diagram displaying the 10 most common first names in their family tree.

This statistics chart is from an online family tree at Geneanet.

Start discovering first names on Geneanet now!