Surnames and More

surnames What is the first thing most people do when they locate a directory, phone book, or any alphabetical listing of names, is check if their family name is listed. They will look for their own name or a maiden name for the ladies, however those into the family history research, could have quite a list of surnames to check.

Using the online site “American Last Names” you can learn a little bit about just about any surname found in America. The site presents several different methods to look up about a certain family name. There are also links for given names, popular first names, middle names, and popular baby names.

Just to view the top ten surnames based on numbers it is the first list showing. Smith leads the list with 2,376,206 people in the 2000 US Federal Census with that family name. The tenth name in rank is Wilson with 783,051 having that name. With each listing of a name there is an explanation of its origin, homeland, various spellings, and it meaning.

If you wanted to view the top 100 surnames, click on the listing under ‘popularity order’. Or check out the 100,003 name in rank which is “Finnell”. Of course you will want to check your family set of names. In the upper left corner are alphabetical listing, just narrow down the spelling for your surname. Once you locate it, you see its rank for 1990 and 2000 census and the number of people in 2000 with that name. Click on the name for any additional details.

There is a section to the left of presidential names, ‘cool names’ and the pilgrim’s names. With the baby names tab you can see how popular certain baby given names were at specific time periods. For example, in the year 1900 the most popular boy’s name was ‘John’ and for girls it was ‘Mary’. Click on a certain given name and see on a graph how the name varied in its popular use over the decades. In finding a certain name just following the listing to the next set using the arrow. View the listing of given names by states, there can be quite a difference from one state and another and most so between regions, such as the northwest and southern states. It can be quite interesting to see the change of favorable names for the years.

If you have a surname that you can not find, use the ‘uncategorized’ listing of surnames, it might be located there.

Start checking, see what you can find.

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