Of Greek origin, meaning ‘woman from Lydia’, an area of Asia Minor. The name is borne in the Bible by a woman of Thyatira who was converted by St Paul and who entertained him in her house (Acts 16:14–15, 40). It has enjoyed steady popularity in the English-speaking world since the 17th century.
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.