The surname of GARCIA is of Portugese and Spanish origin. It was both a personal and locational name, meaning the son of Garcia, the Portugese form of Gerald. It also meant one who came from Garcia, the name of several places in Portugal and Spain. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. At first, the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield, and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. In 1634 a Juan Garcia enrolled in the knightly Order of Santiago. A branch of the Garcia family settled in Vizcaya province. In 1672 there is a record of Severina Garcia, living in Santiago. Early records of the name in America include Rogue Garcia Otolora, born in Lima in 1636, who was accepted into the Order of Santiago in 1684. Jose Ignacio Garcia, born in 1747, held the title of Marques de Casa Real and Capitan de la Compania Veterani de Caballeria. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. A notable member of this name was Manuel GARCIA (1775-1832) the Spanish tenor and composer, born in Seville. After making a reputation as a tenor in Cadiz and Madrid, he won great success from 1808 onward, in Paris, Italy and London. In 1825 he visited New York and Mexico.
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