100 Mexican Last Names With Meanings And History

Georgia Stone
Feb 29, 2024 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Nov 02, 2020
Cute family sitting together in park.
Age: 0-99
Read time: 8.0 Min

Family names are somewhat of a stamp that distinguishes where we originate from.

Our culture and our experiences can be known through our last names. Most Mexican usually have two surnames as Mexican family names follow a unique convention where the child takes his or her father's last name as their first surname and their mother's last name as their second last name.    

Most Mexican last names are strong, unique and stylish. Apart from family names, these names can also be derived from a place, occupations, or are simply descriptive last names. Mexico is the most populated Spanish speaking country in the world, which explains why most Mexican surnames have rich a Spanish origin and history, or are derived from Spanish words. There are so many famous last names in Mexico that are rich in history. We have curated this list of popular, unique and ancient Mexican family names and last names just for you.

For more last names, take a look at these Cuban last names and these Guatemalan last names.

Popular Mexican Last Names

Happy family having fun in outdoor.

These popular Mexican surnames have been used across time and have a very rich history. Some of these popular surnames were used by Kings or were used to describe strong and powerful families.

1. Aguilar (Spanish origin) means "eagles’ lair". Famous last name bearer: French footballer Ruben Aguilar.

2. Aguirre (Spanish origin) meaning "prominent".

3. Alvarez (Spanish origin) meaning "son of Alvaro". Famous last name bearer: Spanish-American doctor and researcher Luis Fernández Álvarez.

4. Arellano (Latin origin) means "farm or the estate of Aurelius".

5. Bernal (Hebrew origin) means "blessed".

6. Barrera (Spanish origin) meaning "barrier". Famous last name bearer: Mexican professional boxer Marco Antonio Barrera.

7. Becerra (Spanish origin) means "young cow".

8. Beltran (Germanic origin) means "raven". Famous last name bearer: Spanish footballer Fran Beltrán.

9. Bravo (Spanish origin) meaning "rough, wild, and courageous". Famous last name bearer: Chilean footballer Claudio Bravo. You cam also use this name as a nickname.

10. Cano (Latin origin) means "white or gray haired".

11. Cardenas (Spanish origin) means "purplish-blue".

12. Castaneda (Spanish origin) means "chestnut".

13. Castellanos (Latin origin) means "castle". Famous last name bearer: American professional baseball player Nicholas Castellanos.

14. Castro (Spanish origin) meaning "castle". It's among the most popular surnames in Mexico.

15. Carrillo (Spanish origin) means "cheek".

16. Cervantes (Latin origin) means "to serve". Famous last name bearer: Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.

17. Cisneros (Spanish origin) means "swan". The name originated from Cisneros in Palencia, a province of Spain.

18. Contreras (Spanish origin) meaning "surrounding region".

19. Cortes (Spanish origin) means "polite" or "gracious". It is also the name of an island off Canada. Famous last name bearer: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

20. Cuevas (Spanish origin) means "caves". This name is a native surname of the provinces of Malaga and Burgos of Spain.

21. de Leon (Spanish origin) means "Lion".

22. Dominguez (Spanish origin) means "of the Lord". Famous last name bearer: Cuban chess player Leinier Domínguez.

23. Enriquez (Spanish origin) meaning "son of Enrique".

24. Espinoza (Spanish origin) means "thorny". Famous last name bearer: Mexican musician Espinoza Paz.

25. Figueroa (Spanish origin) means "fig tree". This name is commonly found in various  provinces of the Galicia region of Spain

26. Franco (Spanish origin) means "frank or free". Famous name bearers: Brothers and actors James and Dave Franco. This is another of the most popular Mexican surnames.

27. Gallardo (Spanish origin) means "strong" or "brave".

28. Gallego (Spanish origin) meaning "someone from the Galicia region of Spain".

29. Garza (Spanish origin) means "heron".

30. Guerrero (Spanish origin) means "warrior".  Famous last name bearer: Peruvian footballer Paolo Guerrero.

31. Guzman (Spanish origin) means "belonged to the village of Guzman".

32. Hernandez (Spanish origin) meaning "son of Hernando". It is one of the most common Mexican surnames today.

33. Herrera (Spanish origin) means "blacksmith". The surname is very common in the provinces of Seville and Badajoz of Spain.

34. Ibarra (Spanish origin) means "meadow or a valley".

35. Jimenez (Spanish origin) means "son of Jimeno".

36. Lara (Spanish origin) meaning "someone from a place called Lara de los".

37. Leon (Spanish origin) means "lion".

38. Lopez (Spanish origin) means "son of Lope". It comes from a Latin word ‘lupus’ that means "wolf". Famous last name bearers: Jennifer Lopez, American actress; Spanish tennis player Feliciano López, and actor Mario Lopez.

39. Lozano (Spanish origin) means "lush".

40. Lugo (Spanish origin) means "city of Lugo".

41. Luna (Spanish origin) means "moon".

42. Macias  (Spanish origin) meaning "gift of God".

43. Maldonado (Spanish origin) means "ill-favored". Famous last name bearer: Pastor Guillermo Maldonado.

44. Marin (Latin origin) means "of the sea".

45. Marquez (Latin origin) means "son of Marcos".  In Greek mythology, this name also means "God of Mars".

46. Mata (Spanish origin) means "bush" or "shrubs".

47. Medina  (Arabic origin) means "many places".

48. Mendez (Old German origin) meaning "complete sacrifice". Famous last name bearer: American reporter Tony Mendez.

49. Miranda (Latin origin) means "lovely", "wondrous" or "admirable".

50. Molina (Spanish origin) means "mill".

51. Montiel (Spanish origin) means "hill or a mountain".

52. Montoya (Spanish origin) means "mountain".

53. Mora (Spanish origin) means "blackberry and mulberry".

54. Moreno (Spanish origin) meaning "dark in color". It is also a city in California, Moreno Valley.  It was a common nickname among the Moorish invaders of Spain.

55. Munoz (Spanish origin) means "son of Muno".

56. Murillo (Spanish origin) means "wall".

57. Navarro (Spanish origin) meaning "a valley or plain of people". Famous last name bearer: Honduran First Lady Aguas Santas Ocaña Navarro.

58. Ochoa (Spanish origin) means "wolf".

59. Olivares (Spanish origin) meaning "olive grove".

60. Orozco (Spanish origin) means "Orozco is a place in Spain".

61. Osorio (Spanish origin) means "wolf".

62. Pacheco (Spanish origin) means "short, small and little".

63. Palacios (Spanish origin) means "palace".

64. Parra (Spanish origin) means "lived around plants".

65. Peralta (Latin origin) means "high rock". A common surname in the Peralta provinces of Spain.

66. Pineda (Spanish origin) means "pine forest".

67. Quintero (Spanish origin) means "Galicia region".  This surname is very commonly found in  Galicia region of Spain.

68. Ramirez (German origin) means "son of Ramiro". Famous last name bearer: American-Mexican actor Sara Ramirez, who portrayed the role of Dr. Callie Torres on TV show 'Grey's Anatomy'.

69. Ramos (Latin origin) means "branch". Famous last name bearer: Spanish footballer Sergio Ramos.

70. Rangel (Latin origin) means "curved or bent or slender".

71. Resendiz (Germanic origin) means "path or way".

72. Rios (Spanish origin) means "river". Famous last name bearer: Brazilian actress Mariana Rios.

73. Robles (Spanish origin) means "oak tree".

74. Rocha (Spanish origin) means "rock". This surname is used to identify someone who lived near a cliff.

75. Rodriguez (Latin and Spanish origin) means "son of". Famous last name bearer: Actress Gina Rodriguez. It is one of the most common last names in Spanish.  

76. Rosales (Spanish origin) means "rose bushes".  These Spanish last names are very common in the O Rosal and El Rosal provinces of Galicia region of Spain.

77. Rosas (Spanish origin) means "rose". One of the most common Spanish last names used in Mexico and Spanish-speaking countries.

78. Ruiz (Spanish origin) means "son of Ruy".

79. Salgado (Spanish origin) means "salty".

80. Salinas (Spanish origin) means "saline". It is also a city in California.

Unique Mexican Last Names

Cute family with dog in the middle.

(In Mexico both the father’s and mother’s surnames are used as last name for children.)

Take a look at these Mexican surnames. These unique Mexican names are less commonly found, but this makes them no less interesting to learn about. Many of these Mexican surnames have unique and interesting meanings.

81. Del Bosque (Latin origin) means "someone who lived near forest or wood". Famous name bearer: Spanish football manager Vicente del Bosque. This is a topographic last name.

82. Saucedo (Latin origin) means "willow tree".

83. Segura (Spanish origin) means "safe or secured". Famous name bearer: Freediver Aleix Segura.

84. Silva (Spanish origin) means "forest".  Famous last name bearer: Brazilian footballer Thiago Silva.

85. Solis (Spanish origin) means "sun".

86. Soto (Spanish origin) means "thicket".

87. Tellez (Latin origin) means "earth or land".

88. Torres (Spanish origin) means "torres". It is one of the most common Mexican surnames in the world. Famous name bearer: Spanish footballer Fernando Torres.

89. Valenzuela (Spanish origin) means "Little Valencia". It is also the name of a city in the Philippines.

90. Vasquez (Spanish origin) means "crow or raven".

Ancient Mexican Last Names

Derived from some ancient Spanish words, these ancient Mexican last names are less commonly found in Mexico. Such ancient last names provide plenty of history behind them, and many of them have really interesting meanings too.

91. Velasco (Spanish origin) means "raven".

92. Velazquez (Basque origin) meaning "crow or raven".

93. Vera (Spanish origin) means "edge or border or shore".

94. Villalobos (Spanish origin) means "town".

95. Villarreal (Spanish origin) meaning "royal".

96. Villegas (Spanish origin) means "the ancestors who adopted the name".

97. Zamora (Spanish origin) means "wild olives".

98. Zarate (Spanish origin) meaning "forest and ate".

99. Zavala (Basque origin) means "wide or broad or extensive".

100. Zuniga (Spanish origin) means "channel or strait".

Kidadl has lots of great names articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Mexican last names then why not take a look at these Brazilian last names, or for something different take a look at these Indian last names.

Main image credit: Ginny Thomas / Shutterstock.com

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia Stone picture

Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

Read full bio >