The English meaning of Ramirez is Son of Ramiro (meaning "wise protector"). The name Ramirez is of Spanish origin. The surname Ramirez is aPatronymic name, which means that it is derived from a man"s given name, usually a father , paternal ancestor or patron. There are many indicators that the name Ramirez may be of Jewish origin, emanating from the Jewish communities of Spain and Portugal.

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When the Romans conquered the Jewish nation in 70 CE, much of the Jewish population was sent into exile throughout the Roman Empire. Many were sent to the Iberian Peninsula. The approximately 750,000 Jews living in Spain in the year 1492 were banished from the country by royal decree of Ferdinand and Isabella. The Jews of Portugal, were banished several years later. Reprieve from the banishment decrees was promised to those Jews who converted to Catholicism. Though some converted by choice, most of these New-Christian converts were called CONVERSOS or MARRANOS (a derogatory term for converts meaning pigs in Spanish), ANUSIM (meaning "coerced ones" in Hebrew) and CRYPTO-JEWS, as they secretly continued to practice the tenets of the Jewish faith.

Our research has found that the family name Ramirez is cited with respect to Jews & Crypto-Jews in at least 14 bibliographical, documentary, or electronic references:

From the civil records of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Amsterdam Municipal Archives possess a complete set of registers of intended marriages from 1578 to 1811, the year when the present Civil Registry was started. Between 1598 and 1811, 15238 Jewish couples were entered in these books. Both the number of records and the volume of data that may be extracted from them are unprecedented.


Secrecy and Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews, by David Gitlitz

Despite the increased attention given to Hispano-Jewish topics, and the "conversos" or Crypto-Jews in particular, this is the first thorough compilation of their customs and practices. The author has culled from Inquisition documents and other sources to paint a portrait of the richness and diversity of Crypto-Jewish practices in Spain, Portugal, and the New World. The history of Spanish Jews, or Sephardim, stretches back to biblical times. The Jews of Spain and Portugal made formative contributions to all Hispanic cultures, the impact of which is first being measured and recognized today. The Sephardim experienced a Golden Age in Iberia between 900-1100, during which they acted as the intermediaries between the rival political and cultural worlds of Islam and Christianity. This Golden Age ended with the Reconquest of Spain by Catholic overlords, though for another 300 years the Jews continued to contribute to Iberian life. In 1391 and again in 1492, intense and violent social pressures were put upon the Jews to join the larger Christian community. Many Jews converted, often unwillingly. In 1492 the remaining Jews were exiled from Spain. The converted Jews (Conversos) became an underclass in Spanish society. Many of them clung tenaciously to Jewish practices in the face of torture and death at the hands of the Inquisition. Having lost contact with other Jews, these people developed a religion which was an admixture of Catholic and Jewish rituals. David Gitlitz examines these practices in detail and attempts to answer the question of whether the Conversos were in fact Jewish. Gitlitz"s research is exhaustive. He has combed through thousands of Inquistion records, showing that a sense of "Jewishness" if not Jewish practice remained a core value of many Spaniards" lives well into the 1700s. Gitlitz is convincing in showing that the Inquisition unwittingly aided crypto-Jews in perpetuating themselves by publishing Edicts of Faith. Essentially checklists for informers, they described the behavior of "Judaizers" (sometimes the practices listed were absurd or simply erroneous). These, ironically, were used by Judaizers as guides to religious behavior. It is revealing that as the Inquisition faded, crypto-Judaism waned, though never totally vanished. Gitlitz"s knowledge and research on the subject is encyclopedic. The book is written in a "textbook" style which makes it somewhat technical and dry, though it is enlivened by excerpts from Inquisition records, which Gitlitz has apparently chosen for their interest, irony, unintended comedy, or spiritedness. It is difficult to imagine that human beings would face the tortures of the rack for not eating pork. That these same tortured people could summon the will to laugh at their executioners is something wondrous. The book includes the names of the Sephardim (and sometimes their residences too).


From the records of Bevis Marks, The Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of London

Bevis Marks is the Sephardic synagogue in London. It is over 300 years old and is the oldest still in use in Britain.The Spanish and Portuguese Jews" Congregation of London has published several volumes of its records: they can be found in libraries such as the Cambridge University Library or the London Metropolitan Archive

From the burial register of Bethahaim Velho Cemetery, Published by the Jewish Historical Society of England and transcribed by R. D. Barnett.

The register gives us dates for the burials in the "Bethahaim Velho" or Old Cemetery. The dates are listed as per the Jewish calendar.


Conversos on Trial, by Haim Bienart. The Hebrew University Magnes Press Ltd. 1981.

The third volume in the Hispania Judaica Series, this well written story of the converso community of Ciudad Real in Spain, based on the Inquisition trials of the mid 15th century. The book was written by Haim Beinart (1917-2010), Professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an expert on this subject, and contains a list of names, sometimes also providing the names of relatives, house locations, and professions. Based on the Inquisition"s records, it is a portrait of the Conversos" deep yearning for their Jewish past and the ultimate sacrifice they were prepared to offer for their continued adherence to their ancestral faith.

Apellidos de Judios Sefardies (Surnames of the Sephardic Jews) from the site Comunidad Judia Del Principado de Asturias

The Principality of Asturias (Spanish: Principado de Asturias - Asturian: Principáu d"Asturies) is an autonomous community within the kingdom of Spain, former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. It is situated on the Spanish North coast facing the Cantabrian Sea (Mar Cantábrico, the Spanish name for the Bay of Biscay).The most important cities are the provincial capital, Oviedo, the seaport and largest city Gijón, and the industrial town of Avilés.No one knows the exact date at which Jews arrived in Asturias. Based solely on the documentation found so far in Asturias, there are clear references to the mid-eleventh century Council of Coyanza held in the Diocese of Oviedo in 1050 which states in Chapter VI: "... no Christian shall live in the same house with Jews or eat with them; if anyone infringes our constitution, they shall do penance for seven days, and if not willing to do it, being a noble person, they shall be deprived of communion for a full year, and if an inferior person they will receive a hundred lashes."But it is in the twelfth century when the rise and importance of the Jewish people is more noticeable in this region. Jewish witness signatures begin to appear more often on donation pledge cards from 1133. Asturias names are not very common among the Jewish population in other parts of the peninsula around the same time, perhaps causing confusion.

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Ruth Reyes, "Sephardic Family Names from Puerto Rico", The Casa Shalom Journal, Volume 10, Published by The Institute for Marrano-Anusim Studies, Gan Yavneh, Israel 2008

This list is compiled from a catalogue the author found on a visit to Puerto Rico in the Museum of San Juan.

The Abarbanel Foundation Website, "Reintegrating the Lost Jews of Spain & Portugal"

List of names of forcibly converted Jews who were tried by the Spanish Inquisition for practicing Judaism in Mexico in the years 1528 - 1815

Around the 12th century, surnames started to become common in Iberia. In Spain, where Arab-Jewish influence was significant, these new names retained their old original structure, so that many of the Jewish surnames were of Hebrew derivation. Others were directly related to geographical locations and were acquired due to the forced wanderings caused by exile and persecution. Other family names were a result of conversion, when the family accepted the name of their Christian sponsor. In many cases, the Portuguese Jews bear surnames of pure Iberian/Christian origin. Many names have been changed in the course of migration from country to country. In yet other cases "aliases", or totally new names, were adopted due to fear of persecution by the Inquisition.

A common variation of Ramirez is Ramires.

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