Recorded in some twenty different spellings ranging from Ferdinand, Fernandez, Fernando, and Ferrandiz, to Hernan, Hernando and Hernandez, is of pre 5th century German and later Spanish origin. It derives from a Visigoth tribal personal name, composed of the elements "frith", meaning peace with "nanth", meaning daring or brave. The Vizigoths from Eastern Germany conquered Spain in the 6th century, and as a result many Spanish surnames are of Germanic origin. In this case the given name as Ferdinand was introduced into most parts of Europe from the 15th Century, being taken to Austria for instance by the Hapsburg dynasty, among whom it was a hereditary name. It owes its popularity in large measure to King Ferdinand 111 of Castile and Leon (1198 - 1252), who recaptured large areas of Spain from the Moors, and was later canonized. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from church registers include the christening of Caranjon Fernandez, on December 6th 1534 at Nuestra Senora la Antigua, Valladolid, Spain; and the christening of David Hernandez on March 18th 1745 at St. Anne's Soho, Westminster, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name has the blazon of a red shield charged with two gold battle axes endorsed, and in base a gold crescent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Barabonado Vera Fernandez, which was dated July 1st 1525, born at the city of Granada, Spain, during the reign of King Charles 1 of Spain and Emperor of Mexico, 1516 - 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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