Basque Personal Names

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Surnames[edit | edit source]

  • Basque surnames are surnames with Basque-language origins or a long, identifiable tradition in the Basque Country (which comprises the Autonomous Communities of the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain and the Northern Basque Country in France).
  • Basque surnames can be divided into two main types, patronymic and non-patronymic.[1]

Patronymic[edit | edit source]

  • Patronymics are by far the most common surnames in the whole of the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre. The patronymics are derived from the father through the suffix -ez, -oz, -iz or -az which means 'of'.
  • The Basque language also expresses family links with the genitive suffix -(r)ena, e.g. Perurena, Arozena, etc., meaning 'belonging to'.[1]

Non-patronymic[edit | edit source]

  • The non-patronymic surnames are often toponymic (geographical) ones that refer to the family's "etxea", the historically all important family home. When a farm (baserri) was rented to another family, often the new tenants were known locally by the farm name rather than by their officially registered surname. The majority of modern Basque non patronymic surnames fall into two categories:
  • a descriptive of the family house. This usually either refers to the relative location of the home or the purpose of the building.
  • the first owner of the house. Usually this is a man's name.
See many examples of these at "Basque surnames" in Wikipedia.

Double or Single Legal Surnames[edit | edit source]

  • As is the legal convention in Spain, Basques in the South have double legal surnames', the first being that of the father and the second that of the mother. In the North, Basques legally have only one surname as is the convention in France.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Basque surnames", in Wikipedia,, accessed 13 March 2021.