Last name: Alcalde

Recorded in the spellings of Alcalde, Alcide and Alcido, this is a surname of Spanish origins. Not dissimilar to the surname 'Alcaide' from the Moorish 'al-qaid' meaning 'captain or leader', this surname also originates from a Moorish word 'al-qadi', meaning 'one who decides'. Whilst literally translating as 'judge', apparently in modern Spanish it is taken to mean a mayor of a town. The Moors held much of Spain for many centuries, and these surnames, first used as 'official ranks', were recorded in the 11th century, well before the introduction of surnames. As to how they developed into surnames is uncertain. It may be that whilst appearing to be occupational, they may in fact have described actors, who played the part of judges and leaders in the famous medieval travelling theatres. Surnames did not usually become hereditary until a son or even a grandson took up the same profession, and whilst some sons may have become judges and leaders, as well as their father or grandfather, the odds are much greater than had they been carpenters or shoemakers. An early example of the surname recording, taken from a surviving church register of the 18th century, is that of Isabel Alcido, who married Juan Figueiras Astorga, at the city of Cadiz, on september 30th 1772.

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