Welcome to Surname Finder, online since 1998, providing easy access to free and commercial resources for 1,731,359 surnames. On each surname specific "finder" page, you can search a variety of online databases all pre-programmed with your surname.
Browse Our Surname Search Pages
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Common Surnames: Adams, Alexander, Allen, Anderson, Bailey, Baker, Barnes, Bell, Bennett, Brooks, Brown, Bryant, Butler, Campbell, Carter, Clark, Coleman, Collins, Cook, Cooper, Cox, Davis, Diaz, Edwards, Evans, Flores, Foster, Garcia, Gonzales, Gonzalez, Gray, Green, Griffin, Hall, Harris, Hayes, Henderson, Hernandez, Hill, Howard, Hughes, Jackson, James, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Kelly, King, Lee, Lewis, Long, Lopez, Martin, Martinez, Miller, Mitchell, Moore, Morgan, Morris, Murphy, Nelson, Parker, Patterson, Perez, Perry, Peterson, Phillips, Powell, Price, Ramirez, Reed, Richardson, Rivera, Roberts, Robinson, Rodriguez, Rogers, Ross, Russell, Sanchez, Sanders, Scott, Simmons, Smith, Stewart, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Torres, Turner, Walker, Ward, Washington, Watson, White, Williams, Wilson, Wood, Wright, Young.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently published distribution files from the 1990 census, and we have included a ranking of the Top 5,000 Surnames on our site!
You'll find a helpful table of contents at the top of the Surname Finder pages to quickly access the section you're most interested in. We also revised/replaced several non-working, obsolete links.
We have added a DNA Studies section to the surname checklists, and cataloged over 400 surname study web sites and blogs.
There is now a Family Photos section on the surname checklists, providing pre-programmed links to some great collections.
The Surname Finder pages are now setup to function as "checklists." They print out nicely, and can be used to check off the items as you visit them.
Online Surname Search Strategies
One size does not fit all when it comes to doing genealogical research online. Searching for "Smith" is quite a different matter than searching for "Smithberger." What works well for one surname will not necessarily work well for another, yet I continue to witness frustrated genealogists attempting to use the same search strategy for their surnames of interest. It is no wonder that they often end up with far too much information to sift through, or perhaps none at all.
Anatomy of a Surname
A surname, or family name, can be defined as a legal identification tag which is transmitted by family members from generation to generation. The use of a surname is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Surnames were adopted in order to legally distinguish two individuals with the same given name. By surname, we mean a fixed name by which that particular individual is known.
Same Surname Marriages
Some same-surname marriages are the result of relatives marrying each other. These relatives may be relatives by birth or marriage. It is not unheard of in some areas, during some time periods, for first or second cousins to marry. Individuals who are this closely related are more likely to share a surname than those who are more distantly related.
Relearning the Spelling of Your Surnames
One of my greatest challenges in my early genealogy research was locating a great-great-grandfather in the 1850 census records of Caswell County, NC. You see, I knew my great-grandmother's name was Caroline Alice Whitfield. This was evident from her marriage license and other documents. I searched, census page by census page, for other Whitfields in the 1840 and 1860 censuses, but could find no evidence of her father. It finally dawned on me that there may have been a spelling variation on the surname.
This database is a dictionary of English and Welsh surnames. It describes the origin of each surname, indicating from where and from what the surname is derived. It also provides information on variant spellings, pronunciations, and other related names. Surname dictionaries can be a big help in doing research, as they provide information on where our family names came from and what other families we might be related to.
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