Many branches of the Perez family can trace their roots back to Spain or Central America. In fact, the 2000 United States Federal Census reports that more than 91% of the 488,521 people with this surname identify themselves as Hispanic. There are also a few who identify as Jewish or have Jewish ancestors. As the 29th most popular family name in the United States, it has famous and influential members and an exciting origin that add to its fascinating history.
History of the Perez Family
Perez is likely one of many surnames based on a first name. In this case, the first name is "Peter." According to Surname Database, it means "the rock" and refers back to the disciple Peter in the Christian religion.
One of the earliest written records of this surname is for Andres Guillen Perez. Surname Database reports that he lived in Aguaron, a tiny municipality in the province of Zaragoza, Spain. He recorded his name there on December 7th, 1565.
Common Variants of the Perez Name
Because it is based on the first name, Peter, there are a number of surnames that are related to Perez in cultures all around the world. These include Pierre, Peters, Petrenko, and Petros.
However, because they are obviously different, most of these are unlikely to appear on genealogical records for the Perez family. Instead, you can expect to encounter the following variations:
Perez Family Members in the New World
Although Perez was his middle name, rather than his surname, Juan Perez de Zurita was likely the first person with this name in the New World. According to The Spanish Dependencies in South America by Bernard Moses, Juan Perez de Zurita was a Spanish conquistador who came to Peru in 1553. He later went on to become the governor of the province of Tuceman in Argentina. He died in what is today known as Sucre, Bolivia in 1595.
According to Ancestry.com, Perez immigration continued steadily throughout the 1800s with only a slight increase as the century went on. Thousands more Perez family members immigrated during the 20th century. The vast majority of Perez immigrants settled in Texas where there were between 706 and 1409 people by that name in 1920.
Ancestry.com's Canadian site reports a similar story, although Perez family immigration tapered off in the 1920s and 1930s. This is likely due to immigration reform that happened during this era. The majority of Perez family members lived in British Columbia and Manitoba around 1911.
Notable Perez Family Members
Biography.com lists two famous people with the surname:
- Tony Perez (1942-) - This Cuban American baseball player played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1960s and later went on to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
- Rosie Perez (1964-) - An actress, choreographer, and director, she has been nominated for Emmy Awards and an Academy Award for her work in the entertainment industry.
Learning More About the Perez Family
If you are one of the many people with the Perez surname or you have Perez branches in your family tree, the Internet is a great place to conduct detailed research about your family history. Start with what you already know about your family and work backwards from there.
Family crests, coats of arms and beautiful artwork are important symbols for genealogists. They offer insights into the values and strengths of your family. Consider the following sites for research in this area:
- House of Names - Here, you can purchase the Spanish version of the Perez family crest, as well as many gift items featuring the design.
- The Tree Maker - This site offers products featuring two different versions of the Spanish family crest. They can also look up Perez crests for other nationalities.
- All Family Crests - Here, you'll find the Spanish crest as well as a detailed explanation of the symbols and colors used in it. You can download the crest for free to use on your family history website.
Perez Family Genealogy Sites
Several website focus specifically on the Perez family:
- The Perez Genealogy and Family Tree Page - Compiled by the editors of Genealogy Today, this exhaustive listing includes several family trees, family history books, and photo collections.
- The Perez Surname Project - This DNA compilation site is a place to compare and share genetic genealogy results with other Perez branches. It has limited data at this time, but you are encouraged to add your results from your testing.
- Family Search - This free genealogy site has thousands of records for individuals in the Perez family. Simply search based on the information you know.
Add to Your Family Tree
Learning about the history of the Perez family allows you to add dimension to the names and dates in your family tree. You can trace the path your ancestors took as well as learn about notable family members who will make you proud.