This Spanish and Italian surname was a baptismal name meaning 'the descendant of VELARDO', a variant of the name Abelardo meaning 'noble'. The name is also spelt VELERDE and VELARDI. The name was originally derived from the Hebrew personal name HEVE. The traditional derivation is from 'hevel' meaning 'breath, vigour'. The name was borne by the son of Adam who was murdered by his brother Cain, and was popular as a given name in Christendom during the Middle Ages, when there was a cult of suffering innocence which Abel represented. 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. In Spain identifying patronymics are to be found as early as the mid-9th century, but these changed with each generation, and hereditary surnames seem to have come in slightly later in Spain than in England and France. As well as the names of the traditional major saints of the Christian Church, many of the most common Spanish surnames are derived from personal names of Germanic origin. For the most part these names are characteristically Hispanic. They derive from the language of the Visigoths, who controlled Spain between the mid-5th and early 8th centuries. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
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