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Ferreira Coat of Arms / Ferreira Family Crest

Ferreira Coat of Arms / Ferreira Family Crest

The surname of FERREIRA was a Spanish occupational name for an iron-worker, originally rendered in the Latin form FERRARIAE, a derivative of FERRUM (iron). The name is widespread throughout Europe in many variant spellings and in England is angliziced to Ferrers. It is also spelt HERRERS and HERRERA. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. This is also the name of a great noble family who held the earldom of Derby from 1138 to 1266. Many present day descendants of this family still bear the name, although the direct male-line died out in the Middle Ages. Notable members of the name include Fernando de Herrera (c.1534-1597) the Spanish lyric poet, born in Seville. He took holy orders. Many of his love poems are remarkable for tender feeling, while his odes sometimes attain a certain amount of grandour. He wrote a prose of history of the war in Cyprus (1572) and translated the Life of Sir Thomas More from Latin. Antonio de Herrera (1549-1625) the Spanish historian, born in Cuellar near Segovia. He wrote a history of 'Castilian Exploits in the Pacific' (1601-15), a description of the West Indies, and a history of England and Scotland in the time of Mary, Queen of Scots. Francisco 'El Viejo' Herrera (the elder) (1576-1656) was the Spanish painter born in Seville. He painted historical pieces, wine shops, fairs, carnivals and the like.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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