Perhaps not surprisingly as this name means 'church', it is one of Spains most popular surnames. Recorded in several spelling forms including Iglesia, Iglesias, Yglesia, de la Yglesias, Iglesiaz, and others, the surname describes a person who lived by or worked at a church. In that case the surname can be either residential or job descriptive. In no sense of the word does it imply any religious position within the church, but it may also have been a nickname for a 'churchy' person, or perhaps given the robust medieval sense of humour, the reverse! Unfortunately we cannot prove the precise meaning either way, it would have been necessary to be present when the name was first given, to be absolutely certain of the original meaning.Early examples of the surname recording taken from the religious registers of Spain and Mexico include Catalina Yglesias, born at Esguevilla de Esqueua, San Sebastian, Spain, on October 26th 1661, and Estrada Yglesia, born at Aguila de Campos, Valladolid, Spain, on May 6th 1789. Other examples are Pablo Yglesias, born at Asuncion, Districto Federal, Mexico, on March 27th 1748, and Juan Iglesia, a witness at Santa Veracruz, Mexico, on April 18th 1802. The coat of arms granted in Spain has the distinctive blazon of per pale, gold and red. On the left a red cross, on the right a church proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Antonio Iglesia, which was dated December 3rd 1650, born at San Nicol de Bari, Valladolid, Spain, during the reign of King Philip 1V of Spain, Emperor of Mexico, 1621 - 1665. 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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