Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Surname Distributions!

Hey, genealogy fans - it's Saturday Night, and time for some Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music...), is:

1) Find out the geographical distribution of your surname - in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file - you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.

2) Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.

Here's mine (without editing the images):

I went to the Public Profiler site and entered "Seaver" in the Surname field, and saw a world map:

There is a handy list on the right with the top five countries, in persons per million with the surname.

You can "mouse over" the countries and click on a country - I chose the USA:

Then you can click on a state or province on the USA map - I chose California:

The colors on the map correspond to a range of "low" to "high" surname frequencies based on frequency per million (FPM) people. However, the "high" range for one surname does not necessarily mean it has the same FPM as another surname with a "high" FPM.

Read the "Frequently Asked Questions" page to understand the maps, and to determine the 26 countries for which this site has surname distributions.

The site provides lists of about ten top countries, top regions and top cities for the surname. For the "Seaver" surname, the top paces are:

* Top Country = Ireland (FPM = 24)

* Top Region = South Taranaki District, New Zealand (FPM = 259.24)

* Top Locality = Saginaw, Michigan, USA

Isn't that a neat web site? What uses can you find for a surname distribution map like these?


GrannyPam said...

This was a controlled experiment for me, and the error rate of the suggested tool is high:

Jane said...

I used a specific tool for Dutch surnames.

Mel said...

I used the website you provided. This was fun! I found my surname most prominent in the region of France where my ancestors came from.

Off to try more surnames!

Mavis said...

Very interesting and fun exercise. The distribution of my Jones surname and Hosch surname was not exactly how I had expected it to come out.

TCasteel said...

ALthough it is Sunday morning - I still enjoyed the Saturday Night fun! Thank you, Theresa Casteel - Tangled Trees

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I almost skipped this as I knew where my surname would show up. It occurred to me today, to once again try and solve my Camfield/Comveldt problem. Maybe I did. Then again maybe not!

Carol said...

Got to it a bit late, 24 hour late, give or take. Neat site, I will be visiting it again.

Thank for this challenge.