I got a little confused about a certain book author named Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. He is the author of the book “Don Quixote dela Mancha.” It is an old book and I remember hearing his name during a classroom discussion in college.
How should we address him if we happen to meet him? Would it be Mr. Miguel Saavedra or Mr. Miguel Cervantes? For us who are not accustomed to Spanish naming, we would commit the mistake of addressing him as Mr. Miguel Saavedra. But hey, Saavedra is his mother’s last name!
Mother- Leonor Saavedra
Father- Rodrigo Cervantes
Child- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Notice how the father’s last name comes after the child’s first name then the mother’s last name comes in last. Confusing? That’s how Spanish naming is all about.
Mother- Encarna Sanchez
Father- Eduardo Cruz
Child- Penelope Cruz Sanchez
Of course, who doesn’t know Penelope Cruz?
Mother- Amalia Rivera
Father- Francisco Javier Gracia Alonso
Child- Marian Gracia Rivera
Francisco Javier is treated as first name; Javier is not Marian’s father’s last name. I got a little confused years back when Marian was introduced as Marian Gracia Rivera in Jessica Soho’s “Kapuso Mo.” I thought there was an error because I was familiar with Gracia as her father’s last name and not Rivera.
My fascination with Spanish names is evident with how I named my youngest child; Francesc Rubio. Francec, though it doesn’t sound Spanish, is actually a Catalan name.