Considering the fame of this old Spanish surnames, it comes as something of a surprise to find that researchers over the centuries are unsure of its original meaning. It is generally accepted as being religious, and probably a name given to particular followers of a prophet. The name probably translates as 'the servant (of the lord)' and was originally a development of the Latin (Roman) 'Serviens' through the later Spanish 'Servanto'. However there is also a legitimate claim that some nameholders at least have descended from people who were called 'ciervo' meaning 'the stag'. If this is so then 'ciervo' was a medieval nickname for either a fast mover or a man who in every respect was a 'Don Juan', but perhaps the two mean the same in anycase! The coat of arms granted in Andalusia Spain, has two gold stags palewise on a blue field, which gives strong credence to the origin being 'the stag'. The early surname recordings taken from Spanish records include Luisa de Cervantes, the daughter of Rodrigo de cervantes, born at Alcara de Henares, Madrid, on August 25th 1546, whilst rather later Juan Cervantes and his wife Antonio (nee Roldan), were recorded at Villa Arrobledo, Albacete, on May 16th 1809, during the Napoleonic Wars. In California there is the recording of Maria Cervantes, the daughter of Emeritio cervantes, born at San Gabriel, Los Angelos, on February 10th 1906. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andres de Cortinas Cervantes, which was dated September 12th 1546, born at Alcara de Henares, Madrid, during the reign of KIng Charles 1 of Spain, reigned 1516 - 1556. 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.