This is a Spanish surname of great antiquity. Formerly recorded as "de Merida", the use of the French preposition implying estate ownership, the surname originates from a place called Merida, of which there are believed to be a numberr of examples in the country, although the first recording that we have been able to find suggests that this place is or was, in the city-state of Valladolid. The name probably means "to the south," and it is understood that in medieval times and earlier, a merida was a settlement or hamlet to the south of a main town or village, the word in turn developing into the name of the settlement. If this is correct similar British surnames would be Thorpe, which describes an outlying farmstead or Sutton, which means the farm to the south. Locational surnames were amongst the first to be granted, since to name a person after his, or sometimes her, place of ownership or birth, was a logical method of identification. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers of Spain include: Gaspar de Merida who married Maria Alonzo at Esguevillas de Esgueva, San Torcato, Valladolid, on August 1st 1593, Rita Moras de Merida, a witness at Quefor, Granada, on April 23rd 1767, and Ruiz Gerado Merida, who married Marciana Cordero, at Puebla de Montalban, Toledo, on September 26th 1914.
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