What do the surnames in your tree mean? Where did they originate and how have they changed over time? Are they unusual, or common? Are there clues to the past hidden in their meanings?
Taking the time to carefully research both common and unusual surnames in your family tree can open new doors in your genealogy research. If you’re interested in discovering the meaning of a surname, or are hoping to connect with others who are researching a specific last name, we’ve created a simple new search tool to help.
You can find the tool on this page or in our navigation bar. Just type a surname in the search box to scan a variety of research pages for origins, meanings, and migrations of the last name you are looking for. Try entering a location or other terms, along with the name, to narrow your results if too many come up.
Below are a few of the resources we included in our new search tool. When you are done giving it a try you may like to visit these sites individually for more options and results.
–If you’re interested in a site that provides in-depth surname research options and connections we highly recommend the Guild of One-Name Studies.
—RootsWeb is a free site that has a very helpful surname database. It’s a good place to connect with others and find surname migration information.
—Genealogy.com’s surname forums also provide a good place to open a dialogue with other researchers and, although they are a subscription site, use of these forums is free.
Of course, there are many other excellent websites for conducting surname research. Check out some of the other wonderful resources in our list of 50 Free Genealogy Sites.
Image: Mary Rogers Rinehart, bet 1920 and 1932, Library of Congress