What are the most common Puerto Rican last names?

What are the most common Puerto Rican last names?

Many Puerto Ricans are descendants of groups who adopted Castilian names. Why? Conquest, stigma, and slavery.

For example, Rodríguez is one of the most common surnames in the Island. Most of it comes from the Canary Islands.

You see, Canarios or Guanches were a collection of ancient pagan tribes, known to have defeated Roman armies.

It took the Castilians another 100 years after 1492 to pacify them.

As a result of which, Guanches were forced to convert to Catholicism.

Being that they had no surnames, they adopted the priests’, religious orders or conquistadors’ surnames.

Guess the surname of the guy who conquered them. So the Islands filled up with unrelated Rodrigues and Roldanes.

Many of whom, migrated to the Caribbean and settled in the Central highlands away from Spaniards and the sea.

For some reason, scenarios were never seafarers.

Other groups like Sephardic jews also favored names like García or López.

Cimarrons, freed African slaves from the British islands also took Spanish names.

Local slaves took their masters ‘ names. Quite frankly, if you’re looking for surnames that bear some significance to geographical origin, look at the many Catalan, Corsican and German surnames like Mattei, Sabater, Cosimi, Passalacqua, Damiani, Stubbe, Cofresi, and the Irish ones like O’neil and Skerrett.

We know about 25,225 unique surnames in Puerto Rico and there are 140 people per name.

Yes really, your Bisabuela probably had three last names. Puerto Rican last names can seem a bit confusing but it is actually a gift. Puerto Rican genealogy is made exponentially easier because of the use of multiple surnames.

Puerto Rico used the Spanish practice of using the last names of both parents. A child born would be given a first and middle name and then the first last name of the father followed by the first last name of the mother. (e.g. Maria Luisa Rivera Garcia.) You may find it written with or without the word y meaning ‘and’ between the two last names. (e.g. Tomas Rivera y Castro.)

Upon marriage, a Puerto Rican woman could choose to add her husband’s last name by adding the word demeaning ‘of’ before her husband’s first last name. (e.g. Maria Luisa Rivera Garcia de Feliciano or Maria Luisa Rivera y Garcia de Feliciano.)

To the average American, that seems like a mouthful but for a genealogist, it is a practice that is extremely useful for various reasons. First, because it is easy to track a person over periods of time in various documents.

Second, it aids in finding siblings if you are looking to create a larger family tree.

Third, upon discovering cousins or grandchildren living in the home, you can investigate to find out who the parents are by tracing the two last names. And of course, the most obvious, there is no issue with finding maiden names! It is amazingly easier to trace back further generations with the mother’s name already known.

What are the most common Puerto Rican last names?

Several years ago I had a database of randomly selected Puerto Rican names (they were actually medical laboratory patients in San Juan).

Eleven percent Rodriguez, about six percent Rivera, about six percent of one name I can’t remember, and the restless common, but a smooth distribution. Carlos is the most common masculine first name.

Rodriguez would be #1.

common puerto rican last names
common puerto rican last names

After that, it would be

common puerto rican last names
  1. Lopez
  2. Sanchez
  3. Rivera
  4. Santiago
  5. Torres
  6. Fernandez
  7. Gonzalez
  8. Maldonado
  9. Ortiz
Puerto Rican last names
Puerto Rican last names

If you are looking through the Puerto Rican censuses, you will see that outside of the metropolitan areas (San Juan, Santurce, Ponce, Bayamon) the homes do not have addresses. (I explain this on another page.)

Most of Puerto Rico was rural and groups of families populated the villages and towns. They often set up a home just next door and down the road from parents and siblings. So if you find an ancestor, if you look at the pages before and after, it is very likely that you will find siblings.

How? By looking at the two last names! Of course, you need to cross-check it to the ages to be sure it makes logical sense. Because the villages and towns were relatively small, you will find that there are rarely more than one family with the same two last names…unless that is if a set of brothers marry a set of sisters.

For example: if sisters Juana and Belen Diaz y Rodriguez were to marry brothers Luis and Jose Centeno y Laboy all of the children will have the last names: Diaz y Centeno.

This happened in my own family but I had already found the sets of siblings in the 1910 census and then found them with their children in the 1930 census.

Confusion avoided! The census in Puerto Rico is available online for 1910, 1920 (limited), 1930, and 1940. By using the names as clues, you should be able to amass quite a number of relatives!

There are more, but these are the most common for me.

Acosta, Agustín,
Albino, Alicea,
Alvarez, Arroyo,
Ayala, Báez,
Bermúdez, Bonilla,

Busigó, Camacho,
Casiano, Castro,
Correa, Cortés,
Cruz, Cumel,

Negrón, Ocasio,
Ortiz, Ortiz
de la

Montalvo, Morales,

Pacheco, Padilla,
Pagán, Pérez,

Dávila, Feliciano,
Ferrer, Figueroa,

Galarza, González,
Irizarry, Lamboi,
Lebrón, López,

Malavé, Martin,
Martínez, Mercado,

Ramos, Ramírez,
Ríos, Rivera,
Rosa, Ruiz,
Salcedo, Sánchez,

Santana, Santiago,
Soltero, Soto,
Tirado, Toro,
Torres, Valle,
Vargas, Vázquez,
Vega, Villarinos,

What are the most common Puerto Rican last names?

Why are Puerto Ricans considered US citizens?

Puerto Rico was annexed by the United States in 1898 after the Spanish- American War by the Treaty of Paris.

It wasn’t until the Jones–Shafroth Act in 1917 Puerto Ricans were imposed into American Citizens.


Simple, the Americans needed troops for WWI, and Puerto Ricans were obligated to join the war.

Is was estimated that 18,000 Puerto Ricans served in the war.

Since then, we have been considered American citizens, but not by choice.

That is one of the reasons why Puerto Rico is unlikely to be an independent country since the constitution of the USA states that if you are an American citizen and have children in another country, your children are still considered USA citizens.

So, although we become independent, our future generations would still be considered American citizens. Unless people willingly renounce citizenship.

common puerto rican last names

How do Americans feel about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans?

Obviously I can only speak conclusively for myself, but as a natural-born American of anglo-Saxon descent who has visited Puerto Rico numerous times on business, I can say that I am very fond of Puerto Rico and it’s people.

Due to an idiosyncrasy of the law, a lot of pharmaceutical companies (an industry I used to be in) have significant operations in Puerto Rico and, consequently, many pharmaceutical companies have many employees from Puerto Rico who have transferred to the mainland.

Many of these people I worked with for years very closely, both in the US and Puerto Rico.

While I try to avoid generalizing about people, I definitely noticed some trends.

Most of the Puerto Ricans I met were fiercely proud of Puerto Rico, highly patriotic towards the USA, friendly and polite to a fault, very energetic and hard workers.

This island itself was beautiful almost beyond words, but also mesmerizing in an unexpected way.

english people
common puerto rican last names

As a US mainlander, the combination of the familiar and exotic would cause my attention to be diverted for long periods.

The highway signs were largely in Spanish, but since they all followed the US DOT specifications, they were the familiar green and white ones I had seen all my life, and yet not.

common Puerto Rican last names

The beaches were tropical and very Caribbean, but I could watch and understand TV and drink water.

I truly felt like I was taking an exotic foreign vacation, but didn’t need my passport and didn’t leave my constitutional rights at home.

As for my feelings for the future of Puerto Rico, these are actually the easiest to summarize; whatever the people of Puerto Rico want.

Guys, If they wish to join the Union as a State, we would be proud to have Puerto Rico as the 51st state.

If they wish to maintain the status quo and continue economic development, I would understand and support that.

If they wished to become fully independent, we would be sad to see them go as Puerto Rico is part of the family, but we would try our best to help them and wish them well as they make their own way in the world.

I think most people in the mainland US would accept any decision made by the people of Puerto Rico provided we felt it was made freely and without any coercion or pressure from the US mainland or anyone else.

common puerto rican last names
common puerto rican last names

Why are Puerto Rican men so good in bed?

Please, refrain from using or initiating stereotypes.

Unless our culture focuses on developing a healthy and perfect sex life (which it doesn’t), you can’t really assume that the men here have some powerful erotic skills.

Maybe you prefer Puerto Rican men or the individual ones you were with especially fancy you, therefore the levels of pleasure, fun, and passion rise to both of your benefits, but realistically speaking, they’re not all amazing.

It’s really a matter of experience, not race or nationality.

It is a rumor that maybe a little overstated.

Nevertheless, Puerto Rican men are feisty in everything they do and can be relentless in their efforts.

That makes for very active, heavy sweating, physically strong sexual encounters where both ends exhausted.

I hope that has not been too graphic!

common Puerto Rican last names
common Puerto Rican last names

Does this stereotype exist for us?

I was not made aware that countries and/or ethnicities were ranked based on sexual performance.

But seriously, most Puerto Ricans are just normal people and these questions probably stem from the stereotype that Latinos are awesome lovers.

This probably has to do with the difference in culture between us and the US (which, for me, appears to be where much of the stereotype originates from).

Some of us are clueless or inexperienced with a bed, some are alright, and some are amazing. Not much different from everybody else.

common puerto rican last names

How are Puerto Rican men in general?

In my experience; Puerto Rican men (& women) are very family-oriented, with a strong sense of honor.

Puerto Ricans are friendly, hospitable people, and treat even the most distant relatives as first cousins.

Many times when my husband & I ask a man for directions in PR, they may point first, then often will walk us all the way to our destination.

My Puerto-Rican great-grandpa, grandpa, father, uncle, & brother were/are hard-workers, & it’s extremely important to be good providers for their families.

It’s hard to say because the spectrum of personalities/ style/ color/ etc. is very varied.

I can say that Puerto Rican men are gregarious, happy, proud, typical islander, with varying degrees of loudness.

They tend to be very family-centered and loving. They are also hardworking and driven.

I can tell you, being the daughter/ sister/ niece/ granddaughter/ wife/ cousin/ friend of many Puerto Rican men, that they are wonderful, and I wouldn’t change them for the world.

common puerto rican last names
common puerto rican last names

Why are Puerto Ricans sometimes viewed in a negative way?

I grew up in Washington Heights – Upper Manhattan (New York City).

My neighborhood at the time contained many ethnic groups, but Puerto Ricans were among them.

Like my ethnic group (Greeks), Puerto Ricans are loud, festive people.

They really are no different than any other full-of-life ethnic group: most are very good people, and some are criminals (just like Germans, Swedes, Irish, etc.).

And, of course, there are also Puerto Ricans (and Greeks) who are as quiet as mice.

But as if often the case in “melting pots,” there is xenophobia and resentment.

Loud music blaring in the streets is GREAT ONLY IF you happen to like (and understand) the music. If not, the neighbors are annoyed.

common puerto rican last names
common puerto rican last names

Beyond that, Puerto Ricans are sometimes resented by nativists because they have so many of the benefits that Americans from any of the U.S. states do – and because that’s only been the case for less than 100 years, some are resentful of the “Johnny-come-lately.”

common Puerto Rican last names

  • Adames – son of Adam
  • Adorno – from the given name Adorno ; adorned
  • Adriani – family of Adriano, someone from Adria
  • Agostini – patronymic plural form of Agostino (August)
  • Alejandro – given name (Alexander)
  • Alfonso – from the given name (Adelfuns);
  • Alonso – a variant of Alfonso from the given name (Adelfonsus)
  • Alvarez – son of Alvaro ; from Alfher
  • Amado – given name; beloved
  • Amatez – son of Amatu ; beloved
  • Anaya – son of Anaia ; brother
  • Antonini – of Antonino (Anthony)
  • Antúnez – son of Antonio (Anthony)
  • Arnau -given name ; powerful eagle
  • Arnaz – son of Arnau (Arnold)
  • Baez – son of Joan (John)
  • Bartolomei – given name (Bartholomew)

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common Puerto Rican last names

Poonam Deswal

I am a new blogger from New York (USA). Helping people to get information online.

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