“Marrano” names

The “marranos” phenomena started in Spain and Portugal long before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by the Catholic Kings. There were forced conversions since the times of the Visigoth Kings. At different times, the practices for name taking change. From the 14th century upward the costumes were:

  1. To take the name of a geographic place like “Arroyo”, “Ávila”, “Cáceres”,“Sierra”, etc
  2. To take the name of a holy day of the Catholic Church like “Ramos” for Ramos de Pascua (Palms Sunday) or “Quaresma”
  3. To take the name or the family name of the Christian sponsor like “Pérez” (meaning son of Pedro), “Núñez” (son of Nuño), etc.
  4. Keep the Hebrew or Moorish family name and prefixed it with “Ben,” “Aben” or “Ibn” like in the cases of “Abenarroyo” (Aben = son of plus Arroyo = geographical name), “Bendavid”, etc.
  5. Use a nickname like “Pardo” (brown) etc

There are two major problems when one tries to find its origins. The first is that the “conversos” not always followed the rule of maintaining the family name. Some families changed their names almost every other generation or when they changed place of residency. These changes where some times to avoid persecution (when they remained in the Peninsula) or to return to more Hebrew names or to find names more in accord with the new country (when they left the Peninsula for Marruecos or Holland for example.) The second problem is that many common “marrano” names are also common Christian names like “Martínez”, “Pereira”, etc. Of the groups that I mentioned above the ones that seem more likely to be of “marrano” origin are the B and D followed by A.

You can see how difficult is to assure one self of the origin of one’s name.

For further questions consult the following web sites:

I am sure that there are more. If in your quest you came across others, I will appreciate if you provide me with them. Finally, the name “García” appears listed in the census of Toledo as “marrano” I could not find the other two that you mentioned. “Guerrero” could be a name based on a profession ( soldier) or a nickname (belligerent).