Where did your father’s last name, GINEBRA, originate? Where did your mother’s last name, SANTANA, originate?  Please 800 words.

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The name “Ginebra” has both Spanish and Celtic origins.  The English translations of the Spanish “ginebra” can mean “gin,” “confusion,” “bedlam,” or “uproar.”  A less literal but common translation for the word “ginebra” when used as a name is “white.”  A direct translation of “white” into Spanish is “blanco,” but when “Ginebra” is used as a name in Spanish culture, it generally means “white.”  There are localities in the Philippines (former Spanish colony) and in Columbia that are called Ginebra.  In addition, the city of Geneva, Switzerland, translates to the Spanish Ginebra.  Families who named their baby girls “Ginebra” were probably not intending it to refer to the alcoholic beverage gin, but to the association of “white” to purity and, possibly, to the light complexion of the baby’s skin.  Ergo, the looser translation meaning “white” is the more salient one.  All of that, however, is oriented towards the feminine use of the name Ginebra for female babies, variations of translations also including “Jennifer,” “Genevieve,” and others.  It can also refer to “Juniper,” as in the plant.  The surname Ginebra, however, also has Spanish origins, as immigration records associated with that last name indicate.

The Celtic or Gaelic origins of the word “ginebra” also mean “white,” but more specifically mean “white as foam.”  As with the Spanish origins of the name, the Celtic usage was for baby girls.  Its use as a surname can denote Celtic ancestry.

Santana” is considerably more clear-cut than“Ginebra” from a genealogical perspective.  Its origins as a surname lie in Spanish and Portuguese history.  It can also have Italian origins, but the overwhelming majority of those with that surname are of Spanish ancestry.  Just as with the biblical application of the name “Ginebra” in terms of the association of white with purity, the name “Santana” similarly derives from the notion of purity, as it literally means “Saint Anne” or, more loosely, simply “holy” or “saintly.”  The very deep roots of Christianity and, especially, Catholicism among those of Spanish heritage would explain the common roots of both “Santana” and “Ginebra.” 

While, as noted, the name "Ginebra" has Celtic as well as Spanish origins, the fact that both names provided -- Ginebra and Santana -- have Spanish origins strongly suggests that the name in the student's question refers to the Spanish meaning.  

In addition to the sources the links to which are provided below, here is another link specific to the origins of the name “Santana”:

https://www.houseofnames.com/santana-family-crest/Spanish

Sources:

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