The surnames of Andhra Kshatriyas were created or formed during the 12th, 13th and 14th Centuries (AD). Prior to that, there were only Gotras (clans) but no surnames. Marriage alliances were being made between persons of different Gotras but not with persons of the same Gotras. At the time of formation of surnames, the villages where persons were residing generally became their surnames.
From the data collected by Sri Buddharaju Varahala Raju, there were 109 surnames for Andhra Kshatriyas. 80 surnames were based on village names; 20 were based on Chivalry names; 1 based on nature and 8 based on other ways. It did not include Kshatriya Raju surnames of Karnataka. For some families the names of their famous and prominent ancestors became their surnames. For example – Bhupathi Raju, Rudra Raju, Tirumala Raju etc.
Gotra (clan), Vamsam means heredity. The Vamsams are of two types:
1 . Janma Vamsam (based on Birth)
2 . Vidya Vamsam (based on Education)
Those Kshatriyas who were educated under certain Sages (Rishis) became their Vamsiyas. They belong to the respective Vidya Vamsams. Sage Apastamba wrote a book named Apastamba Sutramulu incorporating the traditions of persons wearing the sacred thread (Dvija). All the traditions and ceremonies of Rajus are based on these sutras.
The Rajus of Northern Circars belong to these Four Gotras:
1 . Vasistha
2 . Dhananjaya
3 . Kasyapa
4 . Kaundinya
The Rajus of Vijayanagaram have these additional Gotras:
1 . Atreya
2 . Pasupati
3 . Viswamitra
They have marriage alliances with the persons belonging to the other Gotras. As Vasistha was the guru of both Koundinya and Vasistha Gotras, he is considered as the Pithru (Father) of both of them and so there were no marriage alliances between these two Gotras. However, for the last few centuries they discarded this tradition.
Most surnames in Andhra Pradesh come from the family’s town of origin so some of the surnames are found in other Andhra communities. Some of the Kshatriya names are actually the same but due to regional pronunciation differences they are spelt differently.