Name Generator > Character Names > Spanish Names
Spanish Name Generator
Are you in need of inspiration for a story? Have you failed to find the correct name for your story's protagonist? Then The Spanish Name Generator is here to help!
About Spanish Names
In Spain, naming customs dictate that a given name (which can either be simple or a composite of two names) is followed by two separate surnames, which will normally be the first surname of the person's father followed by the first surname of the person's mother. Women do not take their husband's surname when they marry, meaning that their first surname is passed down to their children.
A composite given name such as José Antonio is written as two names but is always viewed as one single given name. Surnames can also be composites, combining full parental surnames from both parents (for example, the composite surname Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias). The second part of a given name does not have to follow the gender of the child – for example, many male children will be given 'Maria' as a second given name, leading to names like Juan Maria, or Maria Jose. Up until the 1960s, it was traditional to baptise children with three forenames – the first would be the 'main name' and one of the other two would be the name of the day's saint, but this is now only practiced by the Spanish royal family and the nobility.
Childrens' names must be recorded in the Spanish Civil Registry, but there are very few restrictions on the kind of names parents can choose (although this was different under the rule of Franco, from 1939–75, when names were restricted to typical Spanish and Christian-influenced names). Many Spanish names show the strong presence of the Church in Spanish culture, especially children named Maria who will often be named specifically after a shrine, place or concept that honours the Virgin Mary. These names will be structured as María de los Ángeles (Mary of the Angels) or Maria de la Luz (Mary of the Light), and the women in question would generally be referred to by the defining feature of each names – in these cases, Ángeles or Luz.
Spanish names can often be shortened down to nicknames (such as taking the name Celestino and turning it into 'Tino'; or the name Francisco, which can alternately be 'Paco', 'Sisco', 'Franco' or 'Kiko'). However, unless the nickname has been adopted as an 'artistic' name (in the manner that some Flamenco artists used to, in the time when Flamenco music was viewed as disreputable), they should only be used in a familiar, colloquial environment, and never in official capacities or in print. In English-speaking countries, Spaniards will often approach their double surnames differently - either hyphenating them into one compound name, or choosing one of them to act as their 'main' surname (like actor Antonio Banderas, who was born Jose Antonio Dominguez Bandera).