I've found two names in my family that I'm trying to parse out

What does the i something in the two parents` name mean? My family is traditionally Jewish if that helps.

I have no information about where the people were living when they were named, but from Google, Jordi is a Catalan name also given in the Netherlands and some other countries, while Antonia has no particular location associated with it other than being a Latin/Roman name.

  • Hello Matthew, and welcome to G&FH.SE! I've reworded your title as I don't think the "first - last - something" naming structure was quite right. Feel free to re-edit if you like.
    – AndyW
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 13:00

3 Answers 3


Tentatively, those names do look rather Spanish, but that need not mean much. However, Wikipedia's page on Spanish naming conventions notes that:

Currently in Spain, people bear a single or composite given name (nombre) and two surnames (apellidos).
Traditionally, a person's first surname is the father's first surname (apellido paterno), and the second one is the mother's first surname (apellido materno).
Each surname can also be composite, the parts usually linked by the conjunction y or e (and), by the preposition de (of) or by a hyphen.

Can "i" be a variant of the "y" conjunction? The Wiki section on Catalan names suggests that it can. In addition, there is a book "The Phonology of Catalan" by Max Wheeler, available on Google Books, which states:

Within Spain, people officially have two surnames, of which the first is one's father's first surname and the second is one's mother's first surname. Some Catalan writers regularly publish using both surnames, often linked with i 'and'. One linguist who does so is Antoni M. Badia i Margarit.

So it does appear that Forename Surname1 i Surname2 is a Catalan variant of typical Spanish naming customs. Rather than "first last i something", then, the forenames of the husband and wife are Jordi and Antonia respectively, and their pairs of surnames are conjoined by the "i".

Rosa, the daughter of Jordi Flos i Margalef and Antonia Bassols i Sunyol would be expected to have the full name Rosa Flos i Bassols, but in the links in the question it appears that the maternal surname part was not included. Rosa Flos' husband's immediate family don't have the maternal part either. This may be a common convention or omission.

A brief search suggests that "Margalef" is a surname of a current Catalan politician and "Sunyol" is listed in "Surnames and Migrations: The Barcelona Area (1451-1900)" by Jordà, Pujadas-Mora and Cabré (pdf link), Barcelona being the major city in Catalonia.

Based on this, it looks like this part of your family was of Catalan descent, but it's not possible to tell from the information given whether they actually lived in Catalonia.

You're likely to get more reliable information from someone with actual expertise in Catalan language, customs and people, of course, so you may wish to investigate that avenue further.

  • This is a great answer - I'm loving that rather than having what I thought were the first names of their grandfathers (grand-patronymic equivalents), that based on this, I actually have way more useful information (the maiden names of both their mothers!) about Jordi and Antonia than I normally would! Thank you! Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 20:07

"i" means "and". They both were Catalan. Nowadays in Catalunya we still use both family names but only a few still use the conjunction "i" between them. Becouse of globalization it starts to be common to use only our first name. But our ID card has the two names.

http://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onom%C3%A0stica_jueva is a link to the wiki talking about the Jewish Catalan names.

  • ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onom%C3%A0stica_jueva This is a link to the wiki talking about the Jewish Catalan names, possibly it helps you. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:00
  • Hi Maria, welcome to Genealogy & Family History SE. You can add information such as that link to your answer using the edit button below your answer.
    – Harry V.
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 23:09

Other answers have already confirmed that those are clearly Catalan surnames, although they are not very common - in fact, surnames of Catalan origin are very diverse, so they tend to be rare. I can confirm that "i" is just the conjunction "and" that is placed between paternal (first) and maternal (second) surnames in formal contexts.

Here is some statistics on prevalence of these surnames in Catalonia: Flos, Margalef, Bassols (and misspelling Basols) and Sunyol (and misspelling Suñol). Anyway, those surnames are likely to be found in other Catalan speaking countries, too.

If you are looking for notable people with those surnames, you might be interested in Ramon Margalef. Furthermore, Margalef is a village in Catalonia.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! I edited one of your link descriptions (about the surname Flos).
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 20:00

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