The Meaning and Origin of the Last Name ‘Morales’

Our surnames can tell us a lot about our family and their origins. Some languages use surnames to refer to occupations or kinship relationships. In some cases, surnames can be used to identify the town or region in which a family hails from. Discovering what your name means and where it originated can be a fun way to start exploring your genealogy. Hispanics often use the name Morales as a starting point.

There are several possible origins of the Hispanic Morales surname:

  1. From mora, which means “mulberry” or “blackberry,” a topographical surname is given to people who live near mulberry or blackberry bushes. The “es” ending indicates a patronymic surname, so Morales actually means “son of Moral,” or someone who lived near mulberry or blackberry trees.
  2. Several Spanish towns have the name Morales, which is used to indicate someone who comes from there.

In the United States, Morales is the 94th most common surname and the 16th most common Hispanic name.

In addition to Spanish, the name is also common in Portuguese. 

Moralez, Moral, Moreira, Mora, and Morais are alternative spellings of this common name.

Where People With the Morales Surname Live

People with the Morales surname are most commonly found living in Spain and Argentina, according to WorldNames’ public profiler. The Canary Islands are the most common place to find this surname in Spain. The surname is most common in the Cuyo region of Argentina. In spite of this, people with this surname can live anywhere in the world. 

Famous People with the Surname Morales

  • Erik Morales: American professional boxer
  • Esai Morales: An American actor and TV personality
  • Leo Morales: holds the record for deep diving with a disability
  • Evo Morales: First Indian president of Bolivia

Genealogy Resources for the Surname Morales

  • What are the top 100 common surnames in the United States? Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown… Do you share one of the top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?
  • Search this popular genealogy forum for the Morales surname to find others researching your ancestors, or post your own Morales query.
  • Discover over 3.4 million historical records and lineage-linked family trees for individuals with the Morales surname and its variations, including census records, vital records, military records, church records, and more.
  • For researchers of the Morales surname, RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists. Post a question about your own Morales family research or search the archives.
  • Find free databases and genealogy links for the last name Morales at

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