This famous surname is recorded in some thirty different spellings throughout Europe. These range from Ferdinand, Fernandez and Ferrandiz, to Hernan, Hernik, Hernando and Hernandez. It is of pre 5th century Germanic and later Spanish origins, deriving 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 much of Europe including Spain in the 6th century a.d., and as a result many later Spanish surnames can be said to be 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 first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Barabonado Vera Fernandez, which was dated July 1st 1525, born at the city of Granada, Spain. This was during the reign of King Charles 1st of Spain and Emperor of Mexico, 1516 - 1556. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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