Surnames serve to differentiate families and in the past they used to be placed according to a person’s place of birth or even born to identify the job they performed—Blacksmith. These can offer clues about the ancestors, since fashions change people’s proper names, but surnames always remain.
Within the Valencian Community, the most common surnames vary. The most common surname in the Valencian province of Alicante is that of García. A total of 116,705 inhabitants are named García, who acts in the first, second or both surnames. It has the particularity that it shares first place as well as in the national group, that is to say, that encompassing all the provinces, the most frequent last name is also García.
This is, according to the philologist and historian Alberto Montaner, of Basque origin, since it comes from the word (h)artz, which translated into Spanish means bear, so it could refer to “family of bears”. Other strong theories about its origin is that it has Germanic roots and the meaning would be “prince with a graceful view”, associated with beauty. In Spain, the first time that García was used as a surname was in Navarra. Some authors, on the other hand, point out that the first person to carry it was García I De León, the first king of León between 910 and 914.
Martínez and Pérez complete the podium
The surnames Martínez and Pérez occupy the second and third place respectively. In Alicante there are 111,386 Martínez—not far from the Garcías—and 69,238 Pérez. Followed in the long list of surnames would come Sánchez, López, Rodríguez, Fernández, González, Gómez and Navarro. The place name Alicante—or Alacant—unlike that of Zaragoza, is very uncommon.
There are only 152 people who carry Alicante as their first or second surname in all of Spain, and they are found in Alicante, Álava, the Balearic Islands, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Madrid, Seville and Zaragoza. Curiously, it is in the Basque Country where the most Alicante are found, with a total of 51.