In the US and Canada, most of us have 3 names – a First, Middle and Last.  Traditionally when you marry, you drop your maiden name and take the name of your partner.  Some people hyphenate their name and others choose to keep their name.  But generally, we have one last name.

In Mexico, you have 4 names – a First, Middle and 2 Family surnames.  The translation for ‘Last Name’ doesn’t really exist here, it is rather called apellido.  That’s because you take the name of your father and your mother.

So, for example, if your name is Anna Maria Lopez Porras, then Lopez would be your father’s name and Porras would be your mother’s name.

If she marries, she may drop her mother’s name and take the name of her husband.  She would become Anna Maria Lopez Vasquez.

Or she may add her husband’s name to become Anna Maria Lopez Porras Vasquez or Anna Maria Lopez Porras de Vasquez.  The de, del or de la is added when the name comes from a certain place or recalls a common item.

It’s a mouthful for sure.

Also, junior and senior aren’t used here since no two names in the family can be the same.  If Anna’s husband’s name is Juan Miguel Vasquez Lorca and they have a son, his name would be Juan Miguel Vasquez Porras.

It’s interesting to know what’s in a name and the cultural traditions behind it.  And now you know just a little bit more about this wonderful country.

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