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Keeper of the Swans


What is the Origin of this Surname?


Recorded in the spellings of Cisneros, Zisneros, and Sisneros, this unusual surname is Spanish. It is also locational and originates from a place in the province of Palencia. The derivation may not look like it, but it is from the original Roman (Latin) 'cisne' meaning a swan, 'Cisneros' being originally a place where swans nested, or perhaps where they were deliberately bred for both food and feathers.


The Spanish peninsula was occupied by the Romans from the 1st century a.d. through to the collapse of the Empire in the year 410 a.d. Many Spanish words and surnames derive from this period, although hereditary surnames themselves were about one thousand years later.


In its various spellings this surname is well particularly in Mexico. Locational surnames were usually given to people after they moved from their original home to another place, as this was an easy form of identification. This system however also gave rise to the variant spellings of the name. Examples of the recordings taken from civil and religious registers include Clemente Sisneros, at Asuncion, Districto Federal, Mexico, on December 6th 1678, and Gonzales Cisneros, at Santa Maria de Guadaloup, on December 15th 1765.


The coat of arms has the blazon of per fess, in chief, a blue swan on a red field, in base, chequy gold and red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francisca de Sisneros, which was dated June 12th 1632, christened at Asuncion, Districto Federal, Mexico, during the reign of King Phillip 1V of Spain, Emperor of Mexico, 1621 - 1665. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. 0


Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.


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