Of disputed origin. It has been in use since the 17th century. It is now generally taken as a feminine equivalent of Andreas, and this probably represents its actual origin. However, it was not in use in the Middle Ages, and the suggestion has also been made that it represents a coinage in English from the Greek vocabulary word andreia ‘manliness, virility’.
Spanish (Hernández) and Jewish (Sephardic): patronymic from the personal name Hernando (see Fernando). This surname also became established in southern Italy, mainly in Naples and Palermo, since the period of Spanish dominance there, and as a result of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century, many of whom moved to Italy.