This is one of the most famous of all surnames, perhaps not surprisingly as it describes one who lived in a castle. The first of all hereditary surnames were granted to the large land and estate owners, Recorded in various spellings in almost every European country, it has particularly aristocratic associations in Spain, Portugal and Southern France, where the nameholders held claims to be known as the 'Kings of Lyon'. The original spellings were as 'de Castro', and coats of arms were granted to nameholders in almost every country. The derivation is from the ancient Latin word 'castrum' which strictly translates as 'The legionnaires camp', various places being so called in Southern Europe. The varied forms of the surname include the Italian Castre, Castree, Castri and De Castri, the Spanish Castro and Castrillo, and the French and English Castle and Castell. The name was an early "import" into the USA, one Macario Castro and his wife the former Maria Potenciana Ramierez being recorded at Santa Barbara, California, on February 17th 1784. The first recorded spelling of the family name in surviving church registers is possibly that of Andreas Medina de Castro, which was dated December 13th 1556, in Nuestra Senora de la Antigua, Valladolid, Spain, whilst the first recording of the name anywhere in the world is that of Robert de Castel, in the rolls of the county of Sussex, England, in the year 1148. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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