Spanish naming customs are historical traditions for naming children practised in Spain. According to these customs, a persons name consists of a name followed by two family names. The first surname is usually the fathers first surname, and the second the mothers first surname, in recent years, the order of the surnames can be reversed at birth if it is so decided by the parents. Currently in Spain, people bear a single or composite given name, a composite given name comprises two single names, for example Juan Pablo is considered not to be a first and a second forename, but a single composite forename. The two surnames refer to each of the parental families, traditionally, a persons first surname is the fathers first surname, and the second one is the mothers first surname. From 2013, if the parents of a child are unable to agree on order of surnames, the law also grants a person the option, upon reaching adulthood, of reversing the order of their surnames. Each surname can also be composite, the parts usually linked by the y or e. For example, a name might be Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias, consisting of a forename, a paternal surname. There are times when it is impossible, by inspection of a name, for example, the writer Sebastià Juan Arbó was alphabetised by the Library of Congress for many years under Arbó, assuming that Sebastiá and Juan were both given names. However, Juan was actually his first surname, to resolve questions like this, which typically involve very common names, one must consult the person involved, or legal documents. A man named José Antonio Gómez Iglesias would normally be addressed as either señor Gómez or señor Gómez Iglesias instead of señor Iglesias, because Gómez is his first surname. Furthermore, Mr. Gómez might be addressed as José Antonio, José, Pepe, Antonio, or Toño Jose, Joselito, Josito, Joselillo, Josico or Joselín, Antoñito, Tonín or Nono. Very formally, he could be addressed with an honorific as don José Antonio or don José, colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez is sometimes incorrectly referred to in English media as Mr. Márquez, when it should be Mr. García Márquez or, simply, Mr. García. It is not unusual, when the first surname is very common, for example, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is often called simply Zapatero, the name he inherited from his mothers family, since Rodríguez is a common surname and may be ambiguous. The same occurs with another former Spanish Socialist leader, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, with the poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca, as these peoples paternal names are very common, they are often called with their maternal names. It would nonetheless be a mistake to index José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero under Z as Zapatero, a practical option to spare an explanation is using a single surname composed of two separate words. Parents choose their childs name, which must be recorded in the Registro Civil to establish his or her legal identity. With few restrictions, parents can now choose any name, common sources of names are the parents taste, honouring a relative, the General Roman Calendar nomina, legislation in Spain under Franco legally limited cultural naming customs to only Christian and typical Spanish names
Surname distribution: the most common surnames in Spain, by province of residence.
Image: Concentracion apellidos por provincias España