Sunday, March 24, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun ~ How Many Surnames?

I have been busy and have not been able to blog much recently, but Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun was an interesting and fun task.

1) Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2) Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3) Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries. If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5! Or 10!

I use Family Tree Maker for Mac 2.

I have 4,530 individuals in my database. At the Plan Workspace there is a section that includes facts about the tree and when I look at "More" Statistical Information About File", it tells me I have 777 surnames. However, I estimate fewer unique surnames, because quite a few are unknown.

When I run a Surname Report, sorting by surname count, the top surnames are as follows (not including Last Name Unknown, which would be at the top):

Surname   Count    Male   Female   Earliest   Most Recent

Chapin         100       50       50          1591          1858
Pyle              87       58       29           1594          2008
McAlpin        72       41       31           1781          1931
Stanton         72       31       41           1617          1790
Copeland       71       38      33            1603          1938
Greeley         70       37      33            1617          1932
Lowell           62       33      29            1571          1897
May              60       33      27            1590          1800
Smith            56       36      20            1601          1887
Adsit             53       36      16            1652          1897

Pretty evenly divided between paternal ancestral families (Chapin, Pyle, McAlpin, Stanton, Adsit) and maternal ancestral families (Copeland, Greeley, Lowell, May, and most of the Smiths).


  1. I have noticed you've been busy. Good things I hope. Otherwise, my heart is with you. That's a great list. I took a peak at my list. Turns out my maiden name and my mother's maiden name is not in my top five! I'll have to post about this some day.

    1. Devon, I just have a variety of other things going on, family and volunteering, all good, just taking up time.

      It would have been fun to first guess what names I thought would have appeared in this list before generating it. Most of these family names are from published genealogies (all but Smith), and likely have fewer primary sources than they should. Thanks for reading and commenting.