Surname Studies: How They Can Help You Find Your Ancestors


Often, one of the first places people start looking when they begin their genealogy research is into their surnames. There seems to be a natural desire among beginning genealogists to discover more about their surnames, including their origins, and how many other people in the world share it. There is a common belief that those who share the same surname must surely also share a common ancestor somewhere. Of course, in reality, this is not always the case, especially with very common surnames. Plus, if you are only studying your surname, you are missing out on a lot of the rest of your family history. Your surname line is only one small part of it, and focusing solely on it cuts out your mother’s side of the family entirely, as well as your father’s mother’s side.
Still, there are genealogical benefits to studying surnames, enough that the practice can and should be a part of your genealogical adventure.  Just make sure it’s one part and not the only part, so you can have a complete picture of your entire family history...