Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Show Us Your Surname Distribution Maps

It's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun! 

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

1) Where did families with your surname reside in the USA (in 1840, 1880 or 1920) or England/Wales (in 1891)?

2)  Go to the FREE Ancestry.con Surname Distribution Map page ( to find out.

3)  Tell us what you learned from this page, and show us some maps, in your own blog post, on a Facebook status or a Google+ Stream post.

Here's mine:

For my SEAVER surname, I learned that:

*  Seaver Name Meaning

English: from the medieval personal name Sefare, a continuation of an unattested Old English female name, S?faru, composed of the elements s? ‘sea’ + faru ‘journey’. This name has also been established in Ireland since the early 17th century.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

In the USA in 1840, the surname distribution map shows:

In the 1840 U.S. census, Massachusetts has the highest number of Seaver families, with New York, Vermont and New Hampshire next. 

From the 1880 U.S. Census records:

In the 1880 U.S. census, the heaviest concentration of Seaver families was in New York and Massachusetts.

From the 1920 U.S. Census records:

By 1920, there were Seaver families in all but 6 U.S. states, with the heaviest concentration in New York and Massachusetts.  However, the number of families with this surname is significantly reduced for some reason.

For England and Wales in the 1891 census:

In the 1891 England and Wales census, the heaviest concentration of Seaver families is in London, and the next highest is in Surrey and Sussex.  

There are other information items below the maps, including:

*   Family Origin - the New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 collection finds 19 immigrants from England, 5 from Ireland and 5 from Great Britain.  [Perhaps this is only for 1851 to 1891?  I don't know!]

*  Family Immigration over the years 1851-1891

*  Average Life Expectancy (from the SSDI) - the chart didn't show up for me

*  Family Occupations - top 6 occupations for the general public and Seaver folks from 1880 U.S. census data.

*  Civil War Service Records - There were 140 Union soldiers and 20 Confederate soldiers in the records

*  Message Board - the Seaver message board on Rootsweb has 114 messages on 85 threads.

I showed you mine - now please show us yours!

The URL for this post is:

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


GeneGinny said...

This SNGF wasn't much fun using my SOMMARSTROM surname. There are NONE in the 1840 or 1880 US Censuses or in England, Wales or Scotland. The map for US 1920 Census only shows California shaded, with 3 color codes all equal to 1! In fact, there should have been 3 Sommarstrom families in California and 1 in Oregon at the time of the 1920 US Census. Guess only one census taker spelled the name right!

Mel said...

This was an interesting exercise, Randy!

Wendy Grant Walter said...

My blog post is at

It took me awhile to figure out that I had to 'print screen' to get the map images. When I tried copying and pasting them into Blogger, I only got one state at a time, or a bunch of states superimposed over the others.

Fun project!

Pam Carter said...

Lots of Carters!

Jo Henn said...

I've been seeing folks having fun with your Saturday night games for awhile but as a beginning family historian, most of the ones since I found you have been over my head. I was excited with this week's because I thought I could join in on the fun this time as this one I could do! Hah. Not so fast. I can't figure out how to get the map images to Blogger. I've been trying for a hour. Ah well. It was fun for me to see anyway.