De La Cruz: Name History, Origin and Meaning

By Matthew Jones | | People
De La Cruz: Name History, Origin and Meaning
Marcos Castillo/Shutterstock

On a day-to-day basis, we don’t think too much about names. They say a little bit about our identity, but mostly they’re just…names.

However, there’s a bit more to our names than you might think, especially last names. If you’re researching your name, you may be surprised to learn that these monikers often have deep roots and can tell us something about our past.

One of the more common last names is De La Cruz. Here’s what it means:

What does the last name De La Cruz mean?

Quite literally, the name “De La Cruz” translates from Spanish into English as “of the cross.” It’s in reference to the Christian cross, an important religious symbol for Catholics.

It’s likely this name was first used as a way of distinguishing one’s devotion to God and the Christian faith. Variations of this surname include de La Cruz, de la Cruz, Cruz, de Cruz, Cruces and Cruzado.

De La Cruz surname origin

The first appearance of the name De La Cruz can be found in medieval Spain, in the region of Castille. Alongside Aragon, Castille was the largest kingdom on the Iberian peninsula throughout most of the Middle Ages.

During the Crusades, a series of religious wars in which Europeans traveled throughout Africa and western Asia to conquer lands in the name of Christianity, many knights took the name De La Cruz as a way of showcasing their devotion to the cause.

Therefore, in the beginning, most of the people with this name were of a higher social class or status. Over time, especially after Spain built its overseas empire, the name spread considerably and is now one of the most common surnames in the Spanish language.

Across the United States, De La Cruz is the 458th most popular surname.

Fisher, Huang, Potter, Montoya, Todd, Wu and Hines are all about as common as De La Cruz.

Around 77% of the people with the last name De La Cruz identify as Hispanic or Latino. This is quite a bit lower than some other traditional Spanish last names, such as Garcia, Hernandez, Rodriguez and Chavez. More than 90% of the people with these names identify as Hispanic/Latino.

Once again, history can help explain. Around 17% of the people with the name De La Cruz identify as Asian/Pacific Islander, which in this case refers to the Philippines, once a Spanish colony.

The influence of Spanish culture in the Philippines caused many people to take Spanish last names, and then as these people came to the United States, these names became more common.

In fact, the Philippines ranks number four on the list of countries with the most De La Cruzes.

Around the world, Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic have the most De La Cruz surnames. In the Dominican Republic, one out of every 14 people has the last name De La Cruz, which ranks 14th.

Prominent figures with the last name De La Cruz

While De La Cruz is a relatively common name both in the United States and around the world, you’d think there would be loads of celebrities with this surname. But while a lot of De La Cruzes have made a splash, there aren’t that many well-known figures out there who claim to be “of the cross.”

Some of the more noteworthy De La Cruzes of late include:

  • Melissa De La Cruz: A prominent author known best for her work in young adult fiction, Melissa De La Cruz has reached the New York Times Best Seller list with works such as Blue Bloods, Au Pair and The Beauchamp Family. She was born in Manila, Philippines.
  • Jerry De La Cruz: An artist operating out of both Denver and Miami, Jerry De La Cruz’s work has been featured in a number of museums across the country.

Veronica De La Cruz: You can see Veronica De La Cruz if you watch KBCW, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco. She has also worked for CNN and other prominent news outlets across the country.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.