Explore the Family Name Mendoza

The meaning of Mendoza

1. Basque: habitational name from any of several places in the provinces of Araba/Álava and Biscay in the Basque Country (Spain) called Mendoza, named with Basque mendi ‘mountain’ + otz ‘cold’ + the definite article -a. 2. Jewish (Sephardic): adoption of the Iberian surname (see 1 above) at the moment of conversion to Roman Catholicism. After the return to Judaism (generations later), some descendants retained the name their families used as Catholics. History: The Mendozas were a powerful Spanish family which provided governors of Granada, as well as many soldiers, explorers, and churchmen, being particularly powerful and influential in Spanish America. The explorer Pedro de Mendoza (c.1487–1537) founded Buenos Aires in 1536. Some characteristic forenames: Spanish Jose, Juan, Manuel, Jesus, Carlos, Luis, Francisco, Miguel, Ramon, Pedro, Roberto, Jorge. Portuguese Anatolio, Godofredo, Anabela, Catarina, Ligia, Marcio, Paulo, Sil.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Mendoza in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname 'Mendoza' has grown significantly in popularity over a decade, moving from rank 134 in 2000 to rank 88 in 2010 - an impressive leap of 34.33 places. The count of individuals with the Mendoza surname also increased by 44.02% during this period, going from 168,567 in 2000 to 242,771 in 2010. Furthermore, the proportion per 100,000 people of the surname Mendoza rose by 31.7%, signifying its growing prevalence in the U.S.

Proportion per 100k62.4982.331.7%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Mendoza

Turning to ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals that the largest percentage of those bearing the Mendoza surname identify as Hispanic, constituting 89.97% in 2010, which marks a slight increase from 88.57% in 2000. Other ethnic identities associated with the Mendoza surname included Asian/Pacific Islander (4.91%), White (4.11%), two or more races (0.42%), Black (0.35%), and American Indian and Alaskan Native (0.24%) in 2010. It’s important to note that the representation of these ethnicities among the Mendozas saw a decline between 2000 and 2010, with the exception of the Hispanic group which showed a modest growth of 1.58%.

Asian/Pacific Islander5.2%4.91%-5.58%
Two or More Races0.64%0.42%-34.38%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.29%0.24%-17.24%

Mendoza ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Mendoza is Spanish & Portuguese, which comprises 35.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Indigenous American (31.2%) and British & Irish (8.9%). Additional ancestries include Filipino & Austronesian, French & German, Senegambian & Guinean, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Italian.

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Spanish & Portuguese35.4%
Indigenous American31.2%
British & Irish8.9%

Possible origins of the surname Mendoza

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Mendoza have recent ancestry locations all within Mexico.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Tamaulipas, Mexico65.90%
Puebla, Mexico65.90%
Nuevo Leon, Mexico65.90%
Nayarit, Mexico65.90%
Sinaloa, Mexico65.90%

What Mendoza haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Mendoza is Q-M3, which is predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Haplogroup Q-M3 is descended from haplogroup Q-M242. Other common haplogroups include R-P311 and I-SK1254, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Reyes, Cruz, Lopez, Flores, Jimenez, Garcia, Martinez, Castillo, Perez, Gonzales.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Mendoza surname are: A2, B2, D1. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

mendozaPaternal Haplogroup Origins Q-M242
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to The Ancient One

When two college students stumbled upon a human skull on the banks of the Columbia River, neither the students nor the police who responded to their 911 call could have imagined the archaeological significance of this rare discovery. The skull — along with about 300 other bone fragments found near Kennewick, Washington — belonged to a 9,000 year-old nomad who Native Americans have dubbed "The Ancient One." Based on skeletal clues, The Ancient One (also known as "Kennewick Man") likely swam, wielded a spear, and hunted coastal fauna for the greater part of his lifeInitial craniometric studies suggested he descended from ancient Japanese and Polynesian-like people and had little in common with living Native Americans. This claim — refuted by the Plateau tribes of the Pacific Northwest — became the center of a decades-long legal battle over the provenance of the remains. When The Ancient One's genome was finally sequenced in 2015, the evidence revealed he was genetically most similar to modern-day Native Americans. In fact, local tribes were found to be direct descendants of a population closely related to The Ancient One; in 2017, he finally received a proper Native American burial. This critical discovery helps illustrate a genetic continuity between ancient and modern-day Native Americans. Furthermore, his paternal line belonged to haplogroup Q-M3, the predominant lineage among Native Americans today.

Your maternal lineage may be linked to some of the first Americans

Though the Ice Age was beginning to retreat when your A2 ancestors first entered North America, there were still massive barriers blocking their way. Glaciers and inhospitable climate covered much of the continent, blocking entry into the interior. Nonetheless, researchers have found evidence that a wave of American founders migrated over 13,000 kilometers to reach southern Chile in only 2,000 years, a blink of an eye in the story of human migration! Their highway to the south was the coast of the Pacific, stocked with fish, diverse marine mammals, and other valuable resources in the rich kelp forests of the upper latitudes and in the abundant fresh-water rivers near the equator. Because of this rapid movement south, the A2 haplogroup and its diverse branches are found throughout North and South America.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Mendoza have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Mendoza" Surname 35.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Mendoza" Surname 34.8%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Mendoza" Surname 21.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Mendoza" Surname 14.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Mendoza?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Mendoza are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Spanish & Portuguese 56.3%

23andMe Users 57.2%