The surname of GONZALEZ was a baptismal name 'the son of Gonzalo', a name meaning battle, elf. The name was originally rendered in the Latin form GUNDISALVUS. Gonzalez was a 12th Century Spanish saint. 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. A notable member of the name was Julio Gonzalez (1876-1942) the Spanish sculptor, born in Barcelona, where he studied. In 1900 he went to Paris, joining the avant-garde circle around Picasso. He began as a painter, but in 1927 turned to sculpture, mainly in wrought and welded iron. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
The name is of Spanish origin, and the associated arms are recorded in Rietstap's Armorial General. The arms were registered in Castille, Spain.
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