This surname of VIZCAINO is a Spanish habitation name or regional name for someone from the town or province of Biscay (Spanish VIZCAYA) in northern Spain. The placename derives from the Basque BIZKAI (ridge) + A.
Many families acquired a place-name as a surname from different sources. The original bearer of the name may have lived or worked by some topographic formation or landscape feature, such as a large tree or rock or by a river, lake, hill or valley. Early workshops or stores were generally in the man's home, the place where he lived and worked were usually the same. He might have derived his name from the village or town he had formerly dwelt in, and acquired the reputation of being from that place. Thirdly he may have owned or was lord of the village or manor. In most cases it is impossible to know whether an ancestor owned the manor, or had merely lived or worked in that place.
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.
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