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Origin of the Estrada surname

estrada. (From the latin strata [meaning road]). f. Road or way that results from the treading of the land. || 2. Way that is built to tread on it. || 3. Sal (in Salamanca). Board that is held in the air by means of ropes, that serves as a cupboard to hold food and other items. || 4 colloquial. in Vizcaya. Road between two fences or hedges. || ~ covered. f. Military covered road. || to beat the ~. fr. Mil. Reconnoiter, search the field.
(Textual translation from the Dictionary of the Spanish Language by the Royal Spanish Academy)

To ESTRADA, as a term in regular use in Spanish, the definitions of the dictionary don't apply, as it is used only as a surname. However, in some parts of the Principality of Asturias, the Autonomous Community of Cantabria, Vizcaya, and the north-west of Spain, some of the definitions do apply in the dialects used by the local inhabitants.

estrada  = road in Portuguese and in that language the textual definition does apply and is of common use. 

However, the surname ESTRADA is of Spanish origin.  A bit confusing to start with, but a fact that will be clarified as you read on.
Estrada is a toponimic surname, which means it derives from a place, being this a locality of varying size, from a hamlet to a big city. 

The information on the origins of the surname ESTRADA comes from four main Spanish sources: The Heraldic and Genealogical Encyclopædia by the brothers Alberto and Arturo García Carraffa; the Nobiliary Dictionary by Julio de Atienza; the Nobiliary of the Kingdoms and Fiefdoms of Spain, by don Francisco Piferrer; and, the Historical, Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary by don Luis Vilar y Pascual

The Encyclopædia and the Dictionary by the brothers García Carraffa is a monumental work that contains rich and well documented information. They studied and analyzed the works of Barahona, Alonso de Santa Cruz, Miguel Salazar and others. With such precedents and ample criteria, the brothers García Carraffa were able to establish the real historical fundamentals of the surnames in their works and were able to disprove the fables created by some genealogists, no doubt with the object of pleasing the powerful members of some lineages. Among these surnames is Estrada.

The genealogist Sota, although of greater antiquity than the García Carraffas,  sinthesizes very well the outlook applied by them in the case of Estrada: "Those of Estrada should understand that having such high and certain origin in their own land, they should not be deceived into looking for that which is uncertain and fabulous in a foreign one".

Among the fables that were created was that of descendancy from Count Gótico or Gotos of Germany, suposedly a son of the Duke of Saxony and grandson of Emperor Otto of the Roman Empire, because of which a German origin was attributed to the surname. Another story, related to the same Count, tells of his marriage to doña Palla or Pelaya as the matriarch and origin of the surname. Yet another fable related to the same Count Gótico links the surname to the French Duke of Estralén, by which an etymological link was established between estralén, which is French, with estrada, which is Spanish, without having any relationship at all and disavowing the very clear origin of the word estrada and its meaning. All the fables were discarded by methodical historical and genealogical analisys.

Luis Vilar y Pascual has this to say as to the nation of origin of the surname: "The Estrada family is, without contest, one of oldest splendor, not only in Asturias but in all of Spain, and those who write of it confused in their principles and based in vulgar traditions, try to give it a foreign origin..."

This makes it quite clear that the Spanish origin of the surname has been irrefutably proven, and those who had tried to find a French, German or Italian origin, had been using their imagination or have been guided by erroneous information previously published.

In this Web site you will find basic information about the Estrada surname and incidental information about the Duque de Estrada surname, because of its relationship to Estrada.



The Surname Dictionay of the Heraldic and Genealogical Encyclopædia by the brothers García Carraffa has this to say about the origin of the ESTRADA surname:
"...It had its primitive and very ancient parcel in the place of Estrada, that is part of the Ayuntamiento (municipality) of Val de San Vicente and the Judicial District of San Vicente de la Barquera, that today belongs to the province of Santander (at present, Autonomous Community of Cantabria), but that in antiquity was included in the Asturias of Santillana, that comprised part of the provinces of Oviedo and Santander. On top of a rock, you can still see in the said place an ancient tower, and in it a shield with an eagle, which is the coat of arms of Estrada..."
(The shield in the tower is no longer there). 

It is believed that the surname originated at the parcel of land known as Estrada, in the last third of the first millenium of our era and slowly evolved. They acquired power and received the first recognition, that of a coat of arms, in the 12th. Century.



Picture taken by the Webmaster in 1983

Heraldic motto of the Estrada family:

"I am the house of Estrada

founded on this rocky outcrop

I am older than Velasco

and to the king I owe nothing."*


*The reference to the surname Velasco responds to an ancient rivalry between the two as to which was older. Velasco is an old Castillian surname, from the mountains of Santander.

There are some variations of the motto, but all say essentially the  same  things. 



Some branches of Estrada with origin in the tower-parcel of this lineage:

Some branches of Estrada settled in Asturias, among them those of the city of Oviedo, with lineage in Mexico; the one from Ullao, from the judicial district of Llanes, with lineage in Peru; the one from the Council of Bimenes, from the judicial district of Siero, from which came the Marquises of Casa-Estrada, who settled in Cartagena de Indias (present Colombia) and later in Cádiz and Seville; the one from the Valley of Peon, from the district of Villaviciosa. Other branches settled in Santander and had their seat in the village of Celada de Marlantes, close to Reinosa, in Hoz de Solórzano, in the city of Santander, with lineage in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and in Merindad de Trasmiera.
A branch, probably derived from the one from Celada de Marlantes, settled in Reinosa.
The surname extended throughout Old Castille and other regions.
Estrada in the World:

From the branches settled in various places in Spain, many others derived, mainly to several places in the "New Spain," what we now know as America, especially Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Panamá, Perú and Argentina. From those points they spread to the rest of America. An interesting observation is that amongst the first colonizers of Spanish California were some Estrada from Spanish Mexico, some as soldiers; therefore, as information for the Estrada in the United States of America, their surname in not that of recent immigrants but of founders of what is now a State of the Union.

Some branches of Estrada migrated to the rest of Europe and most places where the Spanish Conquistadores went, among these the Philippines and other Pacific islands,  the rest of Oceania, Asia and Africa.

Later migration throughout the years has brought distant branches to common places, therefore causing confusion when persons of the same surname try to find a close common ancestor.

The order of the surnames.

One of the greatest causes of confusion in genealogy stems from the different ways in which people of different cultures use their given names and surnames. When surnames were first used, there was no set standard as to order of usage, so many lineages carry that of the female line as the family surname. 
In some cases, similar to the Nordic usage, the father´s name bacame a part of the surname, as in the case of Gonzalo Fernández de Estrada (son of Fernando). His son would be X Gonzales de Estrada (son of Gonzalo).

In Spain, origin of our surname, the present usage is: Given names, father's surname and, at last, mother's maiden surname. The woman usually does not lose her surname upon marriage but adds her husband's after her own father's surname, preceeded by "de", meaning "of" in a sense of belonging to.
Spanish genealogists at present use a standard that follows one of these orders: Father's surname, mother's maiden surname and at last, the given names.  Some omit the mother's maiden surname. Others follow this order: Father's surname, given name and middle name.

In the USA and other English speaking countries, the usage is variable, therefore causing much confusion. The given name always occupy the first places, but the surnames don't follow a standard patern. Sometimes the middle name is a surname, either the father's or the mother's and sometimes it's one of the given names. The last name is usually the father's surname, but not always, as some use the mother's maiden surname as the last name. Some don't use the father's surname at all, but use the mother's as the family name, and viceversa.
All this makes it very difficult to follow male or female family lines, as there is no certainty as to the gender of who gave the family its surname.

To make matters worse, in some countries, like those in Scandinavia, there are no family surnames, just given names and a reference to being son or daughter of a certain individual, known also by his/her given name and that of his/her father's.

In this Web site we respect the usage of each individual in the case of English speaking members. In the case of those who follow the Spanish usage, after the given names we have the father's surname, a hyphen and the mother's maiden surname, without separation.  Some individuals have only one surname, as some years ago only one was used. The use of the hyphen is not to create composed surnames; it only responds to the way the software we use works. If the hyphen was not used, the mother's surname would be the family name.

The usage of both surnames in a specific order makes it easier to identify family lines.

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