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Surname Matos - Meaning and Origin

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Unearthing the Deep-Rooted Journey of the Surname Matos Through My iGENEA DNA Test

My iGENEA DNA test led me on an incredible journey of uncovering the captivating lineage and historical significance of my surname, Matos. Originating from the Iberian Peninsula, Matos holds a topographical familial merit while weaving stories of the Reconquista, cultural exchanges, numerous migration waves, and the resilience inherent in human nature.

Y. Matos

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Matos: What does the surname Matos mean?

The last name Matos is of Spanish origin and is derived from the word Matz, which is a form of the given name Matheus, a name derived from the Hebrew name Mattithyahu meaning "gift of Yahweh". The name is a patronymic, which is to say a name that was derived from the father's personal name, and so the people of the Matos family are descended from a single common ancestor who probably used the name Matheus in the 13th century.

Today, the surname is mainly used in the Spanish-speaking countries and Portuguese-speaking countries. In Spanish the meaning of the name is "son of Mattheus" and in Portuguese it is "descendant of Matheus". Matos is the 19th most common surname in Spain and it is the 15th most common surname in Portugal.

People who bear the surname Matos can trace their roots back to the medieval Spains and many may be descendants of the noble families who ruled in Castile and León in the Middle Ages. The most famous bearer of the Matos name is Abelardo Matos, a Filipino political leader who served as government minister in the first half of the 20th century.

The surname Matos is associated with strength and resilience, as it was borne by many people throughout the centuries who faced adversity and hardship and emerged successful. It’s a testament to the power of the human spirit and the strength to overcome obstacles.

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Matos: Where does the name Matos come from?

The family name Matos is usually associated with Portuguese and Spanish-speaking regions. It is most commonly found in Portugal, Brazil, and other former Portuguese colonies like Angola and Mozambique in Africa, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, and even to a lesser extent in countries like France and Italy. In Spain, it is most common in the autonomous communities of Catalonia and the Canary Islands.

In the United States, Matos is a growing name. According to 2018 census figures, the name is most common in California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Although the origins of Matos in the United States are unclear, some research indicates it may have come to the country through immigrants from Spanish-speaking Central American countries. In addition, some of the earliest recorded Matos in the United States may have been settlers from Portugal.

Matos is also present in Canada, most commonly in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. In these provinces, the name’s spread is likely due to the large number of Portuguese-Canadians who have settled over the years.

Despite its mayority in Portuguese-speaking populations, the name of Matos may have date back much farther. Some trace the origin of Matos to Ancient Greece, where the name was linked to the god of war, Ares. The origin of the name Matos, however, still remains widely debated.

Variations of the surname Matos

The surname Matos is derived from two main sources, stemming from both mothers and fathers. From a mother’s point of view, the surname originates from the Hispanic ‘mato’ meaning ‘thicket’, ‘brush’ or ‘shrubbery’. This could have been how the original owners of this surname lived, perhaps inhabiting a wooded area.

The other source of the surname comes from a father’s point of view; where the surname originates from the Latin family name ‘Mattus’ or ‘Mattius’. This name is derived from the Latin root word ‘mattus’ meaning ‘gift of God’, ‘akin to god’ or ‘god’s defender’.

The most recognizable variants of the surname Matos include Mattos, Mattus, and Matthius. Those with Jewish heritage bearing the surname Matos may have their respective surname spelt as Matus. Matosa is an Italian variant of the surname, as is Mata. Other double-barrelled surnames of the same origin include Martos, Mattasio and Mateo.

The surname can also be spelt differently depending on which region the name holder is from. In Spanish speaking countries, the surname is sometimes spelt without the extra ‘t’, as ‘Maos’. Whereas in France, the surname is found as ‘Mataux’ and in Portuguese as ‘Matão’.

Therefore, to encapsulate all potential variants of the surname Matos, they could be spelt as: Mattos, Mattus, Matthius, Matosa, Mata, Matus, Martos, Mattasio, Mateo, Maos, Mataux, and Matão.

Famous people with the name Matos

  • Alexandra Matos: Venezuelan actor, writer and producer.
  • Andres Matos: Brazilian singer and vocalist for the power metal band Angra.
  • Andy Matos: Former Major League Baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Carlos Eduardo Matos: Brazilian politician and current Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Norte.
  • Erick Matos: Puerto Rican voice actor credited in dozens of roles.
  • Fernando Matos: Portuguese football player and coach.
  • Francisco Matos: Spanish author, journalist, teacher and theater director.
  • Guillermo Matos: Cuban composer, pianist and music director.
  • Gustavo Matos: Argentine racing cyclist active between the late 1940s and 1950s.
  • Isao Matos: Brazilian footballer and manager.
  • Jeff Matos: American professional basketball player.
  • João Matos: Portuguese footballer.
  • Jonatan Matos: Brazilian footballer.
  • Jorge Matos: Cuban cyclist and world champion in several international events.
  • José Matos: Portuguese retired footballer.
  • Juan Carlos Matos: Dominican Republic serial killer.
  • Maria Fernanda Matos: Mexican actress, comedian and show host.
  • Martha Matos: Venezuelan athlete and Olympian.
  • Miguel Matos: Portuguese film director and screenwriter.
  • Peter Matos: Dominican Republic pornographic actor and director.

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