Recorded in many different spellings from Ort, Imort, and Delort, to Horta, Huerta and Hurtic, this is a surname of French, Spanish, Portuguese and German derivation. However the origin is usually pre 5th century a.d. German or Visigoth, the latter tribe being the conquerors of the Spanish region in the period between the 6th and 8th centuries. As a result many, perhaps the majority of popular Spanish and Portuguese surnames have some Germanic influence. These include Garcia, Rodrigues and Hernando as well known examples. In this case the surname is topographical and generally describes a person who lived in an 'ort', this being a settlement on the top of a hill, or in the case of the French nameholders, in a walled area, probably a defensive fortress. In some case the surname may have been descriptive for a soldier who carried an 'ort', this being a spear or lance. There are over forty spellings of the surname, it being widely recorded in Germany, Spain and Mexico, where it first appears in registers 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, and Dominga de la Huertas at San Pablo Apostal, Districto Federal, Mexico, on July 22nd 1764. Other recordings include those of Samudio Huerta at Purisima Conception, Mexico, on February 15th 1775, and Catherine Ort, at Thezey-San-Martin, France, on November 11th 1800. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Betholdus Orto, which was dated 1315 a.d., in the charters of the town of Wollstadt, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Louis 1V of the Holy Roman Empire, 1314 - 1347. 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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