Learning about your surname can provide a lot of insight into your family history and background. This is part of the reason why ancestry tests and relative finders are so popular. Knowing the origin of the last name Martinez, from its roots in Latin to its popularity today, can help the many people with this name place themselves in the world.
Martinez meaning, origin and background
The Spanish name “Martinez” means “son of Martin.” “Martin” comes from the Latin name “Martinus,” which has its own roots in “Mars,” the name of the Roman god of fertility and war. Martinez can also be spelled as Martines, Martins, Martinson, Martínez, Martíniz or Martiniz.
This last name was first found in Old Castile, Spain, around Visigothic times. It became popular all over Christian Europe after the fourth-century Saint Martin of Tours. One of the most familiar French Christian saints, Martin was said to be the father of monasticism in Gaul (the Roman name for what’s now modern France), and the first great leader of Western monasticism.
Since S. Martin of Tours, the popularity of the name Martinez has continued to grow, especially with the spread of Spanish culture and influence all over the world. Around 1940, the top occupations for people in the U.S. with this surname included laborer, farmer, maid and housekeeper (via Ancestry).
How popular is Martinez as a family name?
Martinez is one of the most common last names in the world. It is currently the second most common surname in the Spanish language, the second most popular Spanish surname in America, and the 74th most common surname in the world, per ThoughtCo.
According to House of Names, Martinez is the 19th most popular surname in the U.S., with close to 600,000 people bearing it; it ranks 30th in France, with almost 50,000 people; and 844th in Canada, with over 6,000 people.
Prominent figures with the surname Martinez
If your last name is Martinez, you never have to wonder if you’re related to someone famous because there are many prominent figures with this name.
Some of the earlier ones include:
- Ferrand Martínez (c.1300): author of “Libro del Caballero Zifar,” the earliest fictional adventure tale in prose in Spanish
- Sancho Martínez de Leiva (c. 1355-1401): 13th-century Spanish nobleman
- Alfonso Martínez de Toledo (c. 1398-1470): Castilian poet, writer, archpriest of Talavera and chaplain to John II of Castile
- Pedro Martínez de Fita (c. 1602-1722): 12th-century Castilian nobleman
- Reynaldo Esparza Martínez (1896-1934): Mexican poet
Current prominent figures with this name include:
- Inmaculada Concepción “Conchita” Martínez Bernat (born April 16, 1972) is a Spanish former professional tennis player. She was the first Spanish player to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon.
- Enrique Ponce Martínez (born December 8, 1971), also known as Enrique Ponce, is a Spanish bullfighter. He is the first person in history to fight more than 2,000 bullfights.
- Philippe Martinez (born April 1, 1961) is a French trade unionist. He is the general secretary of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT).
- Melissa Barrera Martínez (born July 4, 1990) is a Mexican actress and singer.
- Natalie Martinez (born July 12, 1984) is an American model and actress.
- Emiliano “Dibu” Martínez (born September 2, 1992) is an Argentinian professional soccer player.
- Olivier Martinez (born January 12, 1966) is a French actor.