Castro is one of the most famous of all surnames, perhaps not surprisingly as it describes one who lived in a castle. It is found in various spellings in every European country, and 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 called 'Castro' in Southern Europe. The varied forms of the surname include the Italian Castri and De Castri, and the Spanish Castrillo, a diminutive meaning 'the son of Castro' or possibly 'relative of Castro'. The name was early into the USA Macario Castro and his wife the former Maria Potenciana Ramierez being recorded at Santa Barbara, California, on February 17th 1784. Early European church recordings include Antonia Sancta Castro of Valladolid, Spain, on December 12th 1588, and Augustin de Castro, who married Lucia Fernandez at San Pelago, Spain, on February 12th 1810, and during the Peninsula War of 1807 - 1813. The earliest coat of arms granted to 'Castro de Aragon' has the blazon of six gold bezants on a red field, similar arms were also granted to 'Castro de Castille, being six blue plates on a silver field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andreas Medina de Castro, which was dated December 13th 1556, Nuestra Senora La Antigua, Valladolid, Spain, during the reign of King Charles 1 of Spain, 1519 - 1556. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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