Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- How Many Surnames in Your Family Tree Database?

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

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

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

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!!  Or 20!!!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on Facebook, or in Google Plus Stream post.

NOTE:  If you can't figure out how to do this in your GMP (Genealogy Management Program), use the Help button and search for "count persons" then follow directions.  

Here's mine:

I'm going to use RootsMagic 7 because that's where I'm doing my current additions, deletions and editing and is my most up-to-date collection.  In RootsMagic 7, go to Reports, then Lists and scroll down to "Surname Statistics List."  I then chose "Frequency of Surnames" from the list presented.


That took about 20 seconds and I have a 156 page list!  I didn't count every one of them - there are 156 pages with 39 names per page.  That's a grand total of about 6,060 surnames in my database with 45,030 persons.  The top 20 are, with birth date ranges:

*  SEAVER - 4,955 persons, from 1608 to 2015

*  [unknown] - 1,284 persons, from 787 to 2013
*  BUCK - 747 persons, from 1577 to 1997

*  SMITH - 698 persons, from 1526 to 2013
* VAUX - 488 persons, from 1620 to 2012
*  FITZ RANDOLPH - 479 persons, from 1565 to 1884
*  DILL - 449 persons, from 1629 to 2014
*  SEVER - 417 persons, from 1673 to 2014
*  NEWTON - 325 persons, from 1600 to 2008
*  CHAMPLIN - 302 persons, from 1618 to 1917

*  RICHMAN - 299 persons, from 1598 to 1985
*  CULVER - 268 persons, from 1700 to 2010
*  BRESEE - 255 persons, from 1650 to 1900
*  BROWN - 227 persons, from 1580 to 2000
*  CARRINGER - 205 persons, from 1758 to 2015

*  McKNEW - 203 persons, from 1640 to 2007
*  WHITE - 202 persons, from 1570 to 2003
*  HAWKINS - 196 persons, from 1570 to 1975
*  CLARK - 181 persons, from 1561 to 2008
*  KEMP - 178 persons, from 1678 to 2012

I didn't see a way to get a count on first names - can anyone figure this out in RootsMagic 7, or in another program?  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at


Unknown said...

Thanks for the challenge Randy, mine is up here:

Lois Willis said...

Here's mine
I use Legacy, so I was also able to get my top 10 given names.

Janice M. Sellers said...

Here's mine:

Family Tree Maker does not appear to be as robust as the programs y'all use.

Lynn David said...

Currently, I am changing over to a new computer; so I got this from my tree on GeneaNet. I have 2639 surnames representing 12682 individuals; and these are my top 15 surnames. Most of the surnames are those of Indiana families into which someone in my family married and thus part are cousins. However, two families, SIEVERS (SIEWERS) and MEMERING, were cousins from two generations back in Esterwegen, Germany, and migrated to the same county in Indiana (my Esterwegen family was named OLDIGES). Thanks to these families I end up related to a great number of other Germanic and Alsatian families in Knox County, Indiana. Only those surnames with asterisks (*) on the numbers are in my pedigree. But even the surname I now carry, RECKER, is not one which continues in my pedigree in Germany. My immigrant ancestor took the name of the farm onto which he was born, not that of his father (REMME), as is the general rule in that part of Niedersachsen (the real RECKERs are half-cousins via their shared mother named HACKMANN).

HALTER - 151
RECKER - 151*
RUPPEL - 114
LANE - 108
WETZEL - 107*
FREY - 106

Laura said...

For Given names, using RootsMagic, I created a Custom report using the Given names(s) field and sorted it on that field. I made note of any name that had more than one page in the report in a word processor program. I then created a Group. Given name(s) contains [given name+space] or [Given name]. Given name with the space returns the name as the first name only and without the space returns the name as either first or middle name. Enter the first given name. and click OK. I entered the result count for the name in the word processor. Then, I selected Unmark Group and selected Everyone in the Group. Open Mark Group and change the name. Repeat for each name. Then, I sorted the names by the count in the text file. The whole process didn't take very much time.
My top ten, first or middle name:
William -742
John -728
Martha or George-195

Jim A. said...

Thanks for the challenge! I use Family Tree Maker and had not used the surname report before, so I learned something new. I used the “publish” menu and created a surname report.

I have 6,783 people, with 1,880 surnames. The top ten are Axtell (943); Derse (124); Dodd (104); Rudolf/Rudolph (88); Smith (73); Day (67); Wheeler (53); Condit (51); Lindley (49); Bollenbacher (42). I also have 70 females with no last name, and I’m always pleased to find the maiden surnames.

My tree is a work in progress, of course, so these numbers are very likely to change.

D. Taylor said...

I use Family Tree Maker 3 for Mac.

For my main family tree, which has 4,451 people: I went to Publish Reports – Person Reports - Surname Report and exported it to a CSV file.
I opened the CSV File, deleted the header lines, then sorted the names to remove the spaces, the bottom name’s row number was the total count – 919 names.
Back to the Surname Report and click the box that says, Sort by Surname Count
The top five names in my tree are:
Mannin 411
Raidt - 183
Brown - 133
Krafve - 120
Bryant - 107
It was really a surprise to me, I thought Mannin & Brown would be top with Bryant & Fugate following closely.

Best regards,
Don Taylor
Check out my blog:
Follow me on Twitter: @dt_genea