La Cultura Latina: Why Most Latinos Have Two Last Names…

So, this is a question I get all the time. Why do Latinos have two last names? Are they supposed to be hyphenated or what? Why can’t they just have one?

Well, my friends, here is the reason!

Mexican culture, being collective and not individualistic, values family a lot, so children take the last names of the mother and the father.

Wait? But, don’t mothers and fathers have the same last names? I thought Latinos were traditional? Well, generally speaking Latinas don’t take their husband’s name when they get married. I think they used to, but now it’s seen as old-fashioned.

Long story short, it goes back two generations instead of one. Example: Maria’s has two last names, Vasquez Ponce. Vasquez is her father’s first last name and Ponce is her mother’s first last name.

So, really you’re taking your paternal grandfather’s first last name as your first last name and your maternal grandfather’s first last name as your second last name.

That’s so simple! Now you understand!

I think it’s neat because you’re more tied to your past, at least by one extra generation.

Here’s a real-life example of my name (if I hadn’t taken my husband’s last name when we married):

My name would be Allison Kathryn Baggott Quagliato

My dad’s name would be Thomas Irving Baggott Britton

My mom’s name would be Janet Quagliato Buxton

My hubby’s name is Julio Cesar Garcia de Alba (the Garcia’s from his dad, and de Alba from his mom)

One day if God grants us children, they would be named __________ Garcia Baggott, but thank goodness for their sake they won’t have to live with a name that rhymes with bad words!

Really, it’s just tacking on an extra generation and passing on that heritage to your children. Kind of cool, if you ask me!

Comment and let me know what you think, or if you have more topics you’d like to learn about! Also, tell me what your name would be if it were Latino!



7 thoughts on “La Cultura Latina: Why Most Latinos Have Two Last Names…

  1. Let’s see how much Spanish I remember how to write… *embarrassment ensuing* Mi llamo es Beth Peterson Keesling. ¿Como es tú, mi amiga Allison Kathryn Baggott Quagliato? Mi Español es muy malo y pequitto.

  2. Interesting! Hoping to read more cultural posts! 🙂 I can appreciate cultural differences even with an uber-Anglo-Saxon name like Deirdre Staton Clarke.

  3. Okay, my high school spanish is relegated to years in the past. However, my name would be Angela Iorlano Hoffman. Correct? My father’s name is Iorlano, my mother’s maiden name was Hoffman.

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