World surname database

World surname database DEFAULT

This amazing database helps you find out how common your surname is in different parts of the world

Have you ever wondered where your name comes from?

The origins of our names are fascinating. There's so much history and heritage in every one - they hold stories of family connections, distant countries, ancestry.

It's a fascinating subject, and online database Forebears sheds light on 11 million of the world's surnames. The genealogy portal uses state and church records going back centuries to geographically index which names are most common, and where.

The resource allows users to enter their given surname and find out where names have the highest density, placement around the world, and notable figures who share or shared it.

The service also tells you how many other people have a said surname, and the country in which it's most prevalent.

Try it out here...

indy100 has contacted Forebears for more information.

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Internet Surname Database

The Internet Surname Database has over 49,000 last names with information on where a name comes from and what it means.

They also review Genealogy and Family Tree sites and Genealogy DNA tests.

“We are a family run web site, that has built up a database of surname origins over the last 20 years. The research was started by the founder of “Name Origin Research” Michael Brook and the requests for surname researches came in via mail order and off the page advertising. The business grew to a team of 5 researchers based in the Republic of Ireland, and ran for many years before the mail order market became much tougher and business became unprofitable. …Then in October 2006 we decided that rather than let the database fester, we would open it up to the world at large via this wonder fully medium we refer to as the world wide web. …


free surnamesInternet Surname DatabaseThe Internet Surname Database

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Links to Databases

National Archives Databases

National Archives Catalog
The National Archives Catalog contains online copies of some records that can be useful in genealogical research. The following topics have specific genealogical sources in the National Archives Catalog: African American history, court records, Federal employees, immigration, military records, and Native Americans records. See:

Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
Our searchable database containing electronic records.  The following topics have specific genealogical sources in AAD: Passenger lists of immigrants to the Port of New York and other ports 1834-1900, WWII Army enlistments, WWII POWs, Japanese-American internees, Korean War POWs and casualties, Vietnam War casualties, Social Security Administration death records, and more. See:

Other Websites with Searchable Databases

These links are provided for informational purposes only and do not imply endorsement of any organization or program by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy: 1719-1820
This website provides a searchable database for African-Americans from the Louisiana area.

Alabama African American Genealogy Research
A list of Alabama genealogy resources, including records and databases.

Across the Generations: Exploring U.S. History through Family Papers
Family papers contain a wealth of useful genealogical information, as well as providing a window onto evolving social conditions, on-going economic change, new political trends, and cultural shifts over time. This web exhibit was produced by the Sophia Smith Collection and the Bodman Family Foundation.
Search vital records, family surnames, and learn more about genealogical research methods.
Ancestry is a subscription database available free-of-charge from any NARA location nationwide. It offers searchable ancestor databases of over 600 million names, as well as specialized databases, including census images. is available to individual researchers by subscription.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online, 1841-1902
This website, which is a collaboration between the Brooklyn Public Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, makes over 70 years of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle available to the web-browsing public. Searchable by keyword, date, and content type, this archive includes an introduction to the paper's history as well as a timeline of important changes to the paper.

Colonial Connecticut Records, 1636-1776
Sponsored by the University of Connecticut Libraries, this site offers the Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776, searchable and indexed.

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Provides links to 200,000 online genealogy websites.

Ellis Island Database One-Step Search Tools
This site presents an overview of search forms to use, and assists searches of the Ellis Island immigration databases.

This genealogical resource from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints hosts 300 million names in two indexes, searchable by ancestor name, keyword, or custom search. The providers have not publicly stated whether this site will offer access to the entirety of their 2 billion name genealogical record repository.

Federal Township Plats of Illinois, 1804-1891
The passage of the Land Ordinance of 1785 created the rectangular survey system for the mapping and subsequent sale of the western public lands of the United States. In 1803, the first survey of lands began, which would later become the state of Illinois.

Provides searches of census and other data for Irish, British, and Scottish genealogical research.

From the Open Directory Project, this site indexes over 6,600 genealogy sites on the Internet. They are categorized by subject and geographic region. Links to foreign-language sites are also included.
Offers tips on starting genealogical research, web links, and a 470 million-name searchable database.
Resources on this site include a list of over 70,000 links to genealogical resources on the Internet, news and articles on family history research, a guide to genealogical software, and a site to register your genealogy home page.
Includes a searchable database, family newsletters, books from societies and individuals, queries, announcement of new sites, and information for beginning researchers.

Illinois Veterans Databases
From the Illinois State Archives, these databases cover all veterans from Illinois who participated in America's wars from the War of 1812 to the Spanish-American War. Included on this site is the Database of the 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor, which is a list of burial places of military veterans buried in Illinois as of 1929.

History, Genealogy and Education
This site, maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) gives information about the Immigration and Naturalization (I&N) Historical Reference Library collection and services.

Local History & Genealogy Reading Room
The Library of Congress site provides several guides for genealogical research including Afro-American Genealogical Research and Sources for Research in Welsh Genealogy

Maps: Alabama Historical Map Index
This site is created and maintained by the Department of Geography, University of Alabama.

Maryland State Archives Census Indexes
Created and maintained by the Maryland state archives, this site allows searches of four different historical Maryland censuses.

National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
Provides resources for genealogists including an online catalog.

Notable Women Ancestors
The majority of the pages located at this site have been contributed by descendants or relatives of the women.

OMII Genealogy Project and Kidron Heritage Center
Information about a Swiss Mennonite and German Amish genealogy project, and access to three databases containing information about more than 425,000 persons.
The free genealogy site offers a world-wide surname searchable database.
Search Systems
Free searchable public records databases. City and county level databases include birth, death, marriage records.

Source List for Genealogy Research
Created and maintained by Don Dale at the University of Kansas, this site links to many resources for those interested in genealogy.

World War I Service Cards Database
Database of over 145,000 service cards of Army and Marine soldiers from Missouri between 1917 and 1919.

USGenWeb Project
Volunteers around the country provide resources and transcribed records for genealogical research for about every county and state of the United States.


The Largest Handwritten Family Tree in the World

How common is your last name?

name SMITH rank 1 Number of people 2,442,977 People Per 100,000 population 828.19 year 2010 White percent 70.90% Black percent 23.11% Hispanic percent 2.40% Asian percent 0.50% name JOHNSON rank 2 Number of people 1,932,812 People Per 100,000 population 655.24 year 2010 White percent 58.97% Black percent 34.63% Hispanic percent 2.36% Asian percent 0.54% name WILLIAMS rank 3 Number of people 1,625,252 People Per 100,000 population 550.97 year 2010 White percent 45.75% Black percent 47.68% Hispanic percent 2.49% Asian percent 0.46% name BROWN rank 4 Number of people 1,437,026 People Per 100,000 population 487.16 year 2010 White percent 57.95% Black percent 35.60% Hispanic percent 2.52% Asian percent 0.51% name JONES rank 5 Number of people 1,425,470 People Per 100,000 population 483.24 year 2010 White percent 55.19% Black percent 38.48% Hispanic percent 2.29% Asian percent 0.44% name GARCIA rank 6 Number of people 1,166,120 People Per 100,000 population 395.32 year 2010 White percent 5.38% Black percent 0.45% Hispanic percent 92.03% Asian percent 1.41% name MILLER rank 7 Number of people 1,161,437 People Per 100,000 population 393.74 year 2010 White percent 84.11% Black percent 10.76% Hispanic percent 2.17% Asian percent 0.54% name DAVIS rank 8 Number of people 1,116,357 People Per 100,000 population 378.45 year 2010 White percent 62.20% Black percent 31.60% Hispanic percent 2.44% Asian percent 0.49% name RODRIGUEZ rank 9 Number of people 1,094,924 People Per 100,000 population 371.19 year 2010 White percent 4.75% Black percent 0.54% Hispanic percent 93.77% Asian percent 0.57% name MARTINEZ rank 10 Number of people 1,060,159 People Per 100,000 population 359.40 year 2010 White percent 5.28% Black percent 0.49% Hispanic percent 92.91% Asian percent 0.60% name HERNANDEZ rank 11 Number of people 1,043,281 People Per 100,000 population 353.68 year 2010 White percent 3.79% Black percent 0.36% Hispanic percent 94.89% Asian percent 0.60% name LOPEZ rank 12 Number of people 874,523 People Per 100,000 population 296.47 year 2010 White percent 4.86% Black percent 0.57% Hispanic percent 92.92% Asian percent 1.02% name GONZALEZ rank 13 Number of people 841,025 People Per 100,000 population 285.11 year 2010 White percent 4.03% Black percent 0.35% Hispanic percent 94.97% Asian percent 0.38% name WILSON rank 14 Number of people 801,882 People Per 100,000 population 271.84 year 2010 White percent 67.36% Black percent 25.99% Hispanic percent 2.61% Asian percent 0.60% name ANDERSON rank 15 Number of people 784,404 People Per 100,000 population 265.92 year 2010 White percent 75.17% Black percent 18.93% Hispanic percent 2.44% Asian percent 0.61% name THOMAS rank 16 Number of people 756,142 People Per 100,000 population 256.34 year 2010 White percent 52.63% Black percent 38.75% Hispanic percent 2.54% Asian percent 2.44% name TAYLOR rank 17 Number of people 751,209 People Per 100,000 population 254.67 year 2010 White percent 65.38% Black percent 28.42% Hispanic percent 2.46% Asian percent 0.56% name MOORE rank 18 Number of people 724,374 People Per 100,000 population 245.57 year 2010 White percent 66.41% Black percent 27.74% Hispanic percent 2.34% Asian percent 0.48% name JACKSON rank 19 Number of people 708,099 People Per 100,000 population 240.05 year 2010 White percent 39.89% Black percent 53.04% Hispanic percent 2.50% Asian percent 0.39% name MARTIN rank 20 Number of people 702,625 People Per 100,000 population 238.19 year 2010 White percent 74.80% Black percent 15.76% Hispanic percent 5.56% Asian percent 0.90% name LEE rank 21 Number of people 693,023 People Per 100,000 population 234.94 year 2010 White percent 35.95% Black percent 16.33% Hispanic percent 1.89% Asian percent 42.22% name PEREZ rank 22 Number of people 681,645 People Per 100,000 population 231.08 year 2010 White percent 4.96% Black percent 0.45% Hispanic percent 92.95% Asian percent 1.17% name THOMPSON rank 23 Number of people 664,644 People Per 100,000 population 225.32 year 2010 White percent 69.78% Black percent 23.57% Hispanic percent 2.49% Asian percent 0.57% name WHITE rank 24 Number of people 660,491 People Per 100,000 population 223.91 year 2010 White percent 65.51% Black percent 28.17% Hispanic percent 2.38% Asian percent 0.49% name HARRIS rank 25 Number of people 624,252 People Per 100,000 population 211.63 year 2010 White percent 51.40% Black percent 42.39% Hispanic percent 2.26% Asian percent 0.47% name SANCHEZ rank 26 Number of people 612,752 People Per 100,000 population 207.73 year 2010 White percent 4.98% Black percent 0.45% Hispanic percent 92.99% Asian percent 0.96% name CLARK rank 27 Number of people 562,679 People Per 100,000 population 190.75 year 2010 White percent 74.65% Black percent 19.02% Hispanic percent 2.58% Asian percent 0.54% name RAMIREZ rank 28 Number of people 557,423 People Per 100,000 population 188.97 year 2010 White percent 3.89% Black percent 0.31% Hispanic percent 94.48% Asian percent 0.93% name LEWIS rank 29 Number of people 531,781 People Per 100,000 population 180.28 year 2010 White percent 58.23% Black percent 34.84% Hispanic percent 2.58% Asian percent 0.56% name ROBINSON rank 30 Number of people 529,821 People Per 100,000 population 179.61 year 2010 White percent 48.70% Black percent 44.93% Hispanic percent 2.61% Asian percent 0.46% name WALKER rank 31 Number of people 523,129 People Per 100,000 population 177.34 year 2010 White percent 58.66% Black percent 35.05% Hispanic percent 2.41% Asian percent 0.45% name YOUNG rank 32 Number of people 484,447 People Per 100,000 population 164.23 year 2010 White percent 66.26% Black percent 24.67% Hispanic percent 2.58% Asian percent 3.03% name ALLEN rank 33 Number of people 482,607 People Per 100,000 population 163.61 year 2010 White percent 67.59% Black percent 26.17% Hispanic percent 2.47% Asian percent 0.54% name KING rank 34 Number of people 465,422 People Per 100,000 population 157.78 year 2010 White percent 70.16% Black percent 22.76% Hispanic percent 2.55% Asian percent 1.23% name WRIGHT rank 35 Number of people 458,980 People Per 100,000 population 155.60 year 2010 White percent 65.80% Black percent 28.23% Hispanic percent 2.36% Asian percent 0.51% name SCOTT rank 36 Number of people 439,530 People Per 100,000 population 149.00 year 2010 White percent 60.21% Black percent 32.92% Hispanic percent 2.58% Asian percent 0.51% name TORRES rank 37 Number of people 437,813 People Per 100,000 population 148.42 year 2010 White percent 5.35% Black percent 0.57% Hispanic percent 92.16% Asian percent 1.43% name NGUYEN rank 38 Number of people 437,645 People Per 100,000 population 148.36 year 2010 White percent 0.95% Black percent 0.12% Hispanic percent 0.63% Asian percent 96.45% name HILL rank 39 Number of people 434,827 People Per 100,000 population 147.41 year 2010 White percent 64.36% Black percent 29.12% Hispanic percent 2.51% Asian percent 0.53% name FLORES rank 40 Number of people 433,969 People Per 100,000 population 147.12 year 2010 White percent 4.87% Black percent 0.42% Hispanic percent 91.94% Asian percent 2.08% name GREEN rank 41 Number of people 430,182 People Per 100,000 population 145.83 year 2010 White percent 56.84% Black percent 36.97% Hispanic percent 2.64% Asian percent 0.44% name ADAMS rank 42 Number of people 427,865 People Per 100,000 population 145.05 year 2010 White percent 74.02% Black percent 19.90% Hispanic percent 2.57% Asian percent 0.56% name NELSON rank 43 Number of people 424,958 People Per 100,000 population 144.06 year 2010 White percent 77.66% Black percent 15.97% Hispanic percent 2.55% Asian percent 0.67% name BAKER rank 44 Number of people 419,586 People Per 100,000 population 142.24 year 2010 White percent 79.83% Black percent 14.44% Hispanic percent 2.28% Asian percent 0.56% name HALL rank 45 Number of people 407,076 People Per 100,000 population 138.00 year 2010 White percent 72.65% Black percent 21.59% Hispanic percent 2.25% Asian percent 0.64% name RIVERA rank 46 Number of people 391,114 People Per 100,000 population 132.59 year 2010 White percent 5.40% Black percent 0.95% Hispanic percent 91.06% Asian percent 2.04% name CAMPBELL rank 47 Number of people 386,157 People Per 100,000 population 130.91 year 2010 White percent 73.66% Black percent 20.47% Hispanic percent 2.49% Asian percent 0.53% name MITCHELL rank 48 Number of people 384,486 People Per 100,000 population 130.34 year 2010 White percent 61.02% Black percent 32.50% Hispanic percent 2.47% Asian percent 0.48% name CARTER rank 49 Number of people 376,966 People Per 100,000 population 127.79 year 2010 White percent 58.20% Black percent 35.59% Hispanic percent 2.34% Asian percent 0.45% name ROBERTS rank 50 Number of people 376,774 People Per 100,000 population 127.73 year 2010 White percent 77.27% Black percent 16.72% Hispanic percent 2.40% Asian percent 0.61%

Database world surname

Search for Meanings & Distribution of 31 Million Surnames

Thus John 'the tailor', who was son of Peter 'the Bald' and grandson of Henry 'of the green' passed his distinguishing name (Tailor) to his children, even though none of them may have been tailors. Hundreds of years later this tells you that someone with the surname, Tailor or Taylor, had a ancestor on their paternal line who practiced that profession.

The earliest surnames in Western Europe grew out of existing methods of distinguishing people. Thus, a noble ruling from Savoy may have been known as Umberto de Savoy, a blacksmith may have been known as John le Smith and a bald man may be known as William the Bald; much in the same way we refer to people in similar ways today, such as John the Gob or Rachel the Bean Counter. These names were not necessarily hereditary, but were dictated by circumstance. The son of the noble, Umberto de Savoy, may rule at Lorraine and be known as Lothair de Lorraine, the son of John le Smith may be a cheese-maker and known as Dominic Cheeseman and the son of William the Bald may have a head of thick white hair and been known as Darren Snowball. Surnames only arose when families decided they were going to stick to a 'pseudo-surname''. This change occurred at different periods in different regions. For example, surnames were largely adopted between the 11th and 16th centuries in England, between the 16th and 19th centuries in Wales and between the 11th and 19th centuries in Scotland. Each family has to be taken on a case by case basis. Though it is not possible to prove the origin of most surnames, it is possible to make educated guesses in some cases.

A surname's origin is influenced by the progenitor's social class and the culture they lived in. Those of higher social status often took surnames that are uncommon today; whereas people of lower social status often took what are today common surnames. It is also clear that people of lower social status had less control over their surnames, no doubt handed to them by aldermen, lords and other authorities. Thus we find numerous insulting surnames, such as Dullard, meaning a hard and conceited man.

Patronymic Surnames

The majority of surnames are derived from the name of a male ancestor. These evolved from pre-existing non-permanent naming customs whereby an individual was identified by reference to a male ancestor or ancestors. Some example are: Bedo ap Batho ap Heylin (Welsh: Bedo, son of Batho, son of Heylin), which would become Bedo Batho; Lars Andersen (Scandianvian), Andrew MacDonald (Scottish: Andrew son of Donald) and Henry fil. Grimbald (English: Henry son of Grimbald). Such names are essentially the name of the father, sometimes with a suffix or prefix to denote the name as a patronym. For example, Armenian patronyms typically end in -ian, Polish patronyms end in -ski and Irish patronyms begin with Fitz-.

Patronymic surnames are indistinguishable from clan surnames, which may be assumed by subjects of a clan leader.

Occupational Surnames

Surnames derived from the occupation of an ancestor are also common, with Smith being the most common surname in the UK. This category of surnames is divided into two groups: standard occupations and titular occupations, such as Stewart, derived from an ancient clan title in Scotland.

Topographical Surnames

Topographical surnames can be derived from features of a landscape (Hill, Ford) or from place names (London, Aston, Eaton, Molyneux). Those surnames derived from place names were initially adopted by families that held land. However, later such adoptions of surnames derived from place names occurred when people moved from one place to another.

Descriptive Surnames

Descriptive surnames are less common, partly as they were often derived from unflattering characteristics such as: stupidity, girth, baldness and sometimes outright insults like Blackinthemouth. Many of these surnames have disappeared. There is on the other hand good survival of surnames derived from positive or neutral characteristics; Trow & Triggs (meaning trustworthy), Young, White and Good.

Matronymic Surnames

Matronymic surnames are derived from the name of a female ancestor (usually the mother) and are uncommon in most parts of the world. Such names may arise due to illegitimate or posthumous births and occur amongst nobility when the mother was higher ranked than her spouse or 'bit on the side'.

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