SEPÚLVEDA surname etymology

SEPÚLVEDA, Provincia de Segovia, España

The SEPÚLVEDA surname derives its etymology from the town of SEPÚLVEDA, Province of Segovia in Spain.
It is located c. 100 km north of Madrid, a little less than a 2 hour drive.

It is an old medival town (as early as the year 940), surrounded by fortified walls with seven doors from where the town derives its name: septem publica (the seven public ways).

Pix by Rodrigo SEPULVEDA

Villa de SEPÚLVEDA, Provincia de Segovia, España

SEPÚLVEDA de la Sierra, Provincia de Soria, España

There is another village called SEPÚLVEDA, north of SORIA in Spain

SEPÚLVEDA, Provincia de Salamanca, España

There is another village called SEPÚLVEDA, south-west of Salamanca in Spain
SEPÚLVEDA (Salamanca)

Jewish origin not proven

Some people believe that people bearing the SEPÚLVEDA surname might have a Jewish origin.
Although this might be plausible (many Jews - and others - indeed took name of towns as surnames in medieval times), this information has not been proven so far. Some web sites, such as, catalog this surname as of Jewish origin. After contacting the source of the information in this case (Dr. Moshe Nes-El in Israel), he could not confirm the sources of his own information.
Another source of confusion might be with the first SEPÚLVEDA settler in Chile, Don Antonio de SEPÚLVEDA LEIVA. His last name LEIVA (of ancient and noble spanish origin) had sometimes been mistaken with the familiar Jewish surname LEVI. As surnames were not fixed at the time, Don Antonio could be referred to as 'de SEPÚLVEDA LEIVA' or 'de LEIVA SEPÚLVEDA' or 'de LEIVA y SEPÚLVEDA' or 'de LEIVA de SEPÚLVEDA', etc. One can easily then construct a surname such as 'LEVI de SEPÚLVEDA', ie. a LEVI from the town of SEPÚLVEDA.
Records from the town of SEPÚLVEDA mention that Jews were expelled from the town in 1468, well before the expulsion from Spain declared on March 31st, 1492 by the Catholic Kings.
Many SEPÚLVEDAs stayed in Spain after that date, including the famous theologian Juan GINÉS de SEPÚLVEDA, who could hardly be of Jewish origin.
In conclusion, we believe this origin is possible although no facts prove it, and most certainly as with other non-Jewish families, originated from the name of the town of SEPÚLVEDA.
If you have comments or suggestions, email me at
Last update on 12.01.2003