Nicknames Explainedpuerto Rican Genealogy


What’s in a Puerto Rican name? As it turns out, the origin of names in Puerto Rico is quite interesting, and knowing more about them can help you find your ancestors! Not only that, but if you have Puerto Rican heritage, you might want to give your children names that tie them to their ancestors.

Puerto Rican Jews have made many contributions in multiple fields, including business and commerce, education, and entertainment. Puerto Rico has the largest and richest Jewish community in the Caribbean, with over 3,000 Jewish inhabitants. One reason nicknames are so popular in Puerto Rico is because of Puerto Rican naming traditions. It is common for people in extended families or regions to share the same names—for example, Maria. To avoid being confused with 10 other Marias, a person may choose to go by his or her middle name or a nickname. Puerto Rico has 78 municipalities (which is another term for cities, towns, or pueblos as we like to call them). Thirty-six pueblos have names of Taino origin (46%), and forty-two have Spanish origin (54%). Thirty of the pueblos have names of people who revolutionized the island, 15 of these were Taino Indians, and the other Continue reading 'Puertorican municipalities with Taino. Rivera is the 260th most common surname in the world, according to surname distribution data from Forebears, found in greatest numbers in Mexico and with the highest density in Puerto Rico where it is the most common surname. The Rivera surname is also very common in Honduras and El Salvador, where it ranks 8th, as well as Nicaragua (19th.

Learning what goes into a Puerto Rican name can give these names—the names in your family tree, the names you give your children, and maybe even your­ name—far more significance.

A Little Puerto Rican Name History

Because of the diversity of the culture and peoples of Puerto Rico, it should be no surprise that Puerto Rican first names are rich with history. The island is densely populated with people of many backgrounds; as a result, names come from Latin cultures as well as Puerto Rico’s own culture.

Because of the beauty of the island, names that have to do with nature are common, as are names that have a spiritual nature because of Puerto Rico’s rich religious influence. Some family historians have found that names were also given according to where people lived in Puerto Rico.

In the mid-1900s, first names in Puerto Rico started to take on a more Americanized tone. Many common names, such as Telesforo, Hipolito, Eluteria, and other names that were derived from Catholic tradition, didn’t make it into the 20th Century.

The 21st century has seen name preferences swing back to some more traditional names or a combination of traditional and modern naming conventions. For example, names such as Luna and Sol have become popular again.

Puerto Rican Nicknames


Puerto Ricans commonly go by nicknames, making family history research more difficult because the given name on a birth certificate may not be well known. If you’re having trouble locating an ancestor on your family tree, learning more about Puerto Rican nicknames might help.

Why Are Nicknames So Common in Puerto Rico?

One reason nicknames are so popular in Puerto Rico is because of Puerto Rican naming traditions. It is common for people in extended families or regions to share the same names—for example, Maria. To avoid being confused with 10 other Marias, a person may choose to go by his or her middle name or a nickname.

Puerto Rican nicknames can have many origins. Sometimes given names are shortened and then an “ito” (for males) or an “ita” (for females) is added to the end of the name. Other nicknames can refer to a physical feature, such as the color of a person’s eyes.

Top Puerto Rican Names

According to the United States Social Security office, here are the top 15 boy and girl names in Puerto Rico from the year 2019:

Puerto Rican Girl Names

What Do Puerto Rican Names Mean?

Because Puerto Ricans take great pride in their names, it might be interesting to know what a few of the above names mean. Knowing the meanings of names can also help when you find these names in your family history and want to use them to name your own children!

Luis is one of the most popular given names in Puerto Rico. While it feels familiar, it also has a unique feel to it. Many famous people have the name Luis, which is why many people choose it. Two notable Puerto Ricans with the name Luis are baseball star Luis Aparicio and Luis Suarez of football fame.

Jose means “may God increase” and has always been on lists of popular names in Puerto Rico.

The name Diego has gotten popular again because of the cartoon Go Diego Go. It’s the Spanish name for “Jacob,” and Dee is a common nickname.

As for the girls, Valeria means “strong” and is of Latin origin.

Camila has recently risen in popularity and comes from the royal name “Camilla,” which originates in Roman mythology.


Alanis is a derivation of the once-popular Puerto-Rican name “Alana.”

Look for Puerto Rican Names in Your Family Tree

Do you have Puerto Rican heritage? If so, look at your own family tree. What names do you have in your ancestry? Getting to know the names of your ancestors can be an great way to learn more about your family.

Source: New on FamilySearch

Family Search

Search for your ancestors in the vast free genealogy resources of the Mormon LDS Church. In recent years, the Mormon genealogy web site known as FamilySearch has made huge improvements by giving free online access to copies of original records.

In the past, the Mormon genealogy records consisted of extracted data and member submissions (the IGI, Ancestral File, and Pedigree Resource File), but the new FamilySearch site offers rich international collections of historical records that consist of vital records, census records, and military records. Many of the record collections have online images that can be downloaded for free. New databases are being added at a quick pace and are browseable until the indexes are completed.

You may have to create and sign into a Family Search account, but it is always free.

Search by Location:

Search the New Family Search Site (Mormon Genealogy) consisting of original historical record collections of vital records (birth, marriage, death, and probate), census records, naturalization records, and military records from around the world. Many of the collections have downloadable images and most are indexed. All are free. New databases are added frequently.

  • Caribbean, Central and South America
  • Asia and Middle East
  • Europe
  • Pacific Islands

Search for Your Family Tree:

Family Trees
Search for family trees in a collection of genealogical information taken from pedigree charts and family group records submitted to the Family History Department since 1978.

Search for Photos:

Find your family history in online photographic images. Search by name in user-submitted old photos, stories, and documents.

Mormon Global Genealogy Resources

  • Fan Chart
    Build an interactive fan chart of your family tree.
  • Free Online Courses
    Take an online self-paced genealogy course. The lessons take from between 5 minutes to 59 minutes and are available for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skill levels.
  • Research Wiki
    The most current free family history research advice for the genealogy community written by the genealogy community with over 60,000 articles to learn about family history. If you want to learn how to build your family tree with genealogy research any place in the world, this is the place to go.
    Browse the wiki by
  • country or by
  • topic
  • How to Start your family history
    The four steps for beginning your family tree - from the first step of remembering your ancestors to last step of searching for records for Your ancestor.
  • Research guidance by location
    Select a country, state, or province your ancestor was born, christened, married, or died to learn the basics for researching in that area.
  • Genealogy forms
    PDF files with step-by-step guides for researching by location.
  • Worldwide maps
    Downloadable historical maps from around the world.
  • Research helps
    A Guide to Research - step by step guides, word lists, and other research guides.

Nicknames Explainedpuerto Rican Genealogy Myths

Family Search Indexing

The new FamilySearch site with its millions of original records and images is possible because of the thousands of volunteers from around the world who are helping to make more free records available through Family Search Indexing. You can help FamilySearch by joining the indexing project to make even more records available today. Volunteers are of all faiths but all have the same goal of wanting to help save the records of our past.

Nicknames Explainedpuerto Rican Genealogy Dna Testing

Nicknames explainedpuerto rican genealogy dna testing

Mormon Genealogy Library

The Mormon Church has begun digitizing the millions of reels of microfilm that are in the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, but not everything is online yet.
Search the holdings of the library catalog for more information about genealogy records that are available on microfilm and which can be circulated to a Family History Center near you for a small fee.

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