The Perez family name is one of the most common last names or surnames in the world. In the Hispanic world, it ranks as the seventh most common last name. In addition to America and Mexico, the Perez family name frequently appears in Spain, Venezuela, Columbia, and Cuba.
While the name is most prevalent in predominantly Hispanic countries, many Americans have the last name Perez. According to the 2010 United States census, Perez was ranked as the 22nd most common surname. Since it is such a common family name, you probably know or are related to someone with this last name. We will examine the origins and meanings of this popular family name with roots all over the world. We will also note famous people named Perez and learn some fun facts about this name, which has a long history.
Meaning and Origin of the Perez Family Name
Like many old family names or surnames, Perez is a patronymic family name, meaning it is based on the name given to the father or grandfather. In the case of Perez, it means “son of Pedro” or “son of Peter.” Peter was a popular given name during the medieval period. The name originated from the Greek word ‘”Petros,” which meant “rock.” Its popularity was due to the dominance of the Christian church, which led to the names of Jesus' twelve apostles becoming popular given names.
The family name Perez also has Hebrew roots and is commonly found in Sephardic communities. In Jewish communities, the Perez name may be spelled as “Peretz.” In Hebrew, the name means “son of Judah” and means to “burst forth” or “to branch out.” Although some Spanish and Jewish people share the name Perez, the Hispanic and Jewish branches of the name are of unrelated origin.
Spelling Variations of the Perez Family Name
Old family names often have many spelling variations due to the fact that names were spelled phonetically before spelling rules were established. The same applies to the name Perez. Furthermore, there are several ways to pronounce this name. In Spanish, the stress is on the second-to-last syllable, whereas in British English, it is on the last. In addition, Perez is pronounced differently in Castilian Spanish than in Hispanic Spanish.
Researchers may discover new information by being aware of spelling variations. Here are some common spelling variations of Perez.
Researching Hispanic Family Names
Researching Hispanic family names may be challenging because Hispanic naming patterns vary. Hispanic children are given two surnames, one from each parent. The first surname comes from the father's family name, while the second surname is the mother's maiden name. These surnames may be separated by “y,” but not always.
Spanish law changes have led to more surname variations. Moms' surnames may appear first in Spanish and Portuguese families. In the US, it is common to use the father's surname or hyphenate mom and dad's surnames. To add to the challenge, double surnames only became common in Spain in the 1800s. Therefore, if you are tracing back further than the 1800s, these rules may not apply.
If you are researching the Perez family, here are some useful websites.
- Perez Family Tree DNA – Family members named Perez may be eligible for free DNA testing.
- Perez Family Genealogy Forum – Connect with other researchers with this family name.
- The Origins and Meanings of Common Hispanic Family Names – This website provides valuable information on the meaning and origin of common Hispanic surnames worldwide.
Researching Jewish Family Names
Researching Jewish family names can pose a unique set of challenges. Jewish ancestors usually had multiple names over their lifetime because they had a “new name” (Hebrew name) and a given name. The Hebrew name was commonly used in religious ceremonies and appeared on tombstones. However, both of these names may have spelling variations, making it difficult for family researchers.
Like the Spanish Perez ancestors, Jewish names are typically patronymic, meaning they come from or denote a male ancestor. However, before the 1700s, many Jewish families only used surnames once they were forced to do so, resulting in inconsistent naming because government officials often assigned these family names.
Researchers may also encounter ancestors who changed their family name after immigrating to a new country, especially if they immigrated to America. In Eastern Europe, many Jews had a Yiddish name that often served as a nickname. Moreover, these nicknames often appear on immigration or ship rolls. As a result, researching Jewish genealogy can be challenging due to the numerous names and spelling variations.
Fun Facts About the Perez Family Name
Here are some interesting facts about people with the last name Perez.
- Between the 2000 and 2010 US Census, the Perez family name rose from 29th to 22nd, a twenty-four percent increase.
- In the 2010 census, 92.95% of US citizens named Perez reported being of Hispanic origin.
- According to 23andMe, the majority of people with this family name identify as Hispanic, while 4.96% identify as White and 1.18% identify as Asian-Pacific Islander.
- In the US, 95.64% of registered voters with the last name Perez are registered Democrats.
- In Mexico, 2,450,817 people have the last name Perez.
- In 2004, the life expectancy for those with this last name was sixty-nine years old.
- Out of all the users on 23andme named Perez, seventy-six percent have the ability to whistle.
- Based on DNA test results from 23andme, the majority of individuals with the surname Perez have Spanish and Portuguese ancestry, which amounts to 43.5% of the total testers. The Indigenous American population accounts for 24.8% of the testers, whereas the British and Irish make up only 9.6%.
- Common male names for people with the last name Perez include Juan, Manuel, Carlos, and Luis.
- While typically a surname, Perez is also a first name. Perez Hilton, a celebrity gossip blogger, is a well-known person with the first name Perez.
- In Russian, Perez is spelled Перез. In Hebrew, Perez is spelled פרץ.
Famous People With the Perez Family Name
Many famous and successful people have the last name Perez. You have probably heard of some of these folks.
- Amanda Perez – A Mexican-American singer/songwriter best known for her hit single “Angel.”
- Armando Christian Pérez – Performing under the stage name Pitbull, Pérez is an American singer/songwriter and rapper best known for his hit song “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).”
- George Perez– Comic book writer whose work includes Wonder Woman and Teen Titans.
- Melina Nava Perez – An American professional WWE wrestler and model who performed under the ring name Melina.
- Pia Mia Perez – Performing under the name Pia Mia, this American singer has reached nearly one billion plays on YouTube. “Do It Again” and “Touch” are two of her most popular songs.
- René Juan Pérez Joglar – Performing under the stage name Residente, this Puerto Rican rapper and writer won four Grammy awards and twenty-five Latin Grammy awards.
- Rosie Perez – An American actress and dancer who was also a co-host on the talk show The View.
- Selena Quintanilla-Pérez – Tragically murdered in 1995, Selena, also known as “Queen of Tejano Music,” ranked number three on Billboard magazine's list of the “Greatest Latino Artists of All-Time.”
- Sergio Pérez Mendoza – A Mexican Formula One driver nicknamed “Checo” who won his first Grand Prix in 2020.
- Vincent Perez– Swiss actor who portrayed Ashe Corven in The Crow: City of Angels. He has also appeared in the film Queen of the Damned and the French film La Reine Margot.
The surname Perez is a commonly found name in Hispanic countries, and its origin can be traced back to Spain and Portugal. Initially, it was a patronymic name, which meant “son of Pedro.” In Jewish families, it was also a patronymic name meaning “song of Judah.” Between 2000 and 2010, there was a twenty-four percent surge in its popularity in the US.
Moreover, the Perez name has a specific Jewish family lineage. Researching family names of Hispanic and Jewish origins can be quite challenging due to the variety of names and spelling variations. Each culture has its own distinct naming systems, which can often be inconsistent. However, there are many resources and websites available that can aid in uncovering the rich legacy of your Hispanic or Jewish family. Exploring your family history is a truly rewarding experience, so embrace the challenges as part of the journey.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©KGBR/Shutterstock.com.