Latin form of Berenice, influenced from an early date by association with the Church Latin phrase vera icon ‘true image’, of which this form is an anagram. The legend of the saint who wiped Christ's face on the way to Calvary and found an image of his face imprinted on the towel seems to have been invented to account for this derivation. Use of the name in modern times may to some extent be influenced by the flowering plant so called from the personal name.
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.