This interesting and unusual surname is of Spanish origin, and is locational from two places so called, in Mexico and Argentina. The placenames were derived from the Spanish "alto", high and "mira", sight, view, and may mean "view from a height"; the name may have been given by the Spanish invaders when they looked down on the place from a hill or a mountain. The placenames probably date back to the early 16th Century when the Spanish conquered these two countries; Mexico between 1519 - 1521, and Argentina in 1553. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek word, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is now very common in both Mexico and Argentina and it is also found in the southern states of America, such as Texas and California. Among the sample recordings in Mexico are the christening of Teresa Santana Altamirano on December 27th 1630 at Acultzingo, San Juan Bautista, Veracruz, and of Joseph Ursula Aguayo Altamirano on December 28th 1650 at Nochistlan, Zacatecas. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Santana Teresa Altamirano (christening), which was dated December 27th 1630, Acultzingo, San Juan, Bautista, Veracruz, Mexico, during the reign of King Philip 1V of Spain, 1621 - 1665. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.