This surname HERNANDEZ was originally from a Spanish (Visigothic) personal name FERDINAND, composed of the elements FARO (journey, expedition) and NANO (daring and brave). Other variants of the name include HERNANDO, HERNAN, HERNANZ, FERNANDO, FERNAN,, HERNAEZ, HERNAIZ, FERNANDEZ and FERRANDIZ. The Iberian cognates of Ferdinand are of more ancient origin and more frequently found today, since the name was much favoured in the royal house of Castille, and it owes its popularity in large to King Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon (1198-1252) who recaptured large areas of Spain from the Moors and was later canonized. 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 misspelled names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed. A notable member of this name was JOSE HERNANDEZ, the Argentinian poet, born near Buenos Aires. He is known for his 'gaucho' poetry of life on the pampas, where he had spent his early life among the cattlemen. His masterpiece is the epic 'El gaucho Martin Fierro' (1872-79). 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. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like.
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