Recorded in many different spellings including Dell 'Orto and Orto (Italian), Ort, Orta, Orth, Oretans, Imort, and Delort (French and Spanish), Horta, Huerta and Hurtic (Spanish and Portugese), Order and Orthmann (German), and Ortells and Orteau (Catalonian), this is a surname of (generally) Mediterranean descent, but of pre 5th century a.d. German origins. It derives from the ancient word "ord" meaning point (as of a sword), or was sometimes applied to a settlement, garden or even fortress on the point of a hill. It may also have been a nationalistic term given to members of the German tribes known as the Gauls and the Visogoths. These fierce people swept down into Italy and the Iberian regions, conquering the Roman Empire in the 5th century and seizing control of the whole region between the Adriatic and the Atlantic. They left as their long term reminders in the area a large group of what are now the popular surnames of the region, examples in addition to this name being the Iberian Rodrigues and Hernando. There are over forty spellings of the surname, and it is widely recorded in Germany, the Mediterranean, and South America, where it is first recorded in the 18th century. Examples of the name recordings taken from civil and religious registers include: Jean Francois Orta at Souanyas, Pyrenees-Orientales, France, on March 28th 1747, Dominga de la Huertas, at San Pablo Apostal, Districto Federal, Mexico, on July 22nd 1764, and Pietro Dell 'Orto, at Real Saline, Palermo, Italy, on September 20th 1821. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Betholdus Orto, which was dated 1315 a.d. This was in the charters of the town of Wollstadt, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Louis 1V of the Holy Roman Empire, 1314 - 1347. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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