SNGF – How Many Surnames

Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings does a “challenge” every Saturday called, “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.”  I’ve never done a full blog post on one of his challenges, but this one caught my eye just because I
started to wonder about the answer to his question this week.  This week’s challenge was to find out how many different surnames are in your database and what the top one (or five or ten) are and then write a blog post about it.  So here it goes…..

First off, I used my RootsMagic database for this task.  While I use both RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic is my more up-to-date database because it is the one that I use for my active research.  To answer Randy’s question, I went into RootsMagic and went to the Reports menu, then went to Lists, scrolled down to the “Surnames Statistics” list.  I then chose “Frequency of Surnames” in the report options.

The resulting list actually surprised me.  I have 204 surnames in my database, making about a 5 page report!  I actually expected the list to be shorter since I only have a total of 816 individuals in my database.  I discovered that I have quite a few one person surnames, and quite a few people where apparently, early on in my research, I neglected to list their surname as unknown so they now show up as a one name person with their first name being their surname.  (One more item on my to do list – clean up those unknown surnames!)
My top five surnames with birth date ranges are:
WASHLER – 76 people from 2012 to 1851
LINK – 67 people from 2006 to 1561
LINCK – 38 people 1846 to 1430
WELTY – 34 people from 1968 to 1720
WARSTLER – 30 people 1914 to 1752
The earliest surname in my database is by far LINCK, dating back to 1430.  The next closest surnames are MUELLER, WUERSCHLER, and NEUWIRTH all dating to the early 1600’s.  (I didn’t count LINK in that one simply because it is a continuation of the LINCK surname.)
The most important thing that I discovered out of this exercise is that I have a lot of work to do on fixing those first names that should have a surname of UNK for “Unknown.”

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Family History Through the Alphabet – C for Christiana

For 26 posts I will be doing a personal family history journey through the alphabet, one letter at a time.  My personal challenge for this series is that I am going to try to match as many of the letters as I can to first names of my ancestors and research that individual’s life to write a full narrative of their life.  For those letters that I can’t match to an ancestor, the post will be either a) about a artifact or a location where an ancestor lived, or b) educational in nature.  Although the challenge is complete, Alona, the host, is encouraging others to participate anyway.  Additional information on the challenge, can be found at Take the ‘Family History Through the Alphabet’ Challenge

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Christiana Farver

As I started writing my next post for the Family History Through the Alphabet, I realized that March is Women’s History Month, so I completely trashed my original post about my great grandfather, Curtis Washler and instead, I will be telling you about my great grandmother, Christiana (Farver) Washler. (Great coincidence that both husband and wife had names starting with C!)

Great Grandma Washler was one of the very first of my ancestors that I “discovered” when I started doing genealogy.  There were probably quite a few reasons for that – we lived on the family farm at the time; she was the mother of my paternal grandfather; her grave was only a few miles from the house and very well marked, and the list could go on.  Even with all of that, I have to say that I actually knew very little about her.

Curtis and Christiana (Farver) Washler
Date Unknown

Christiana S. Farver (I still haven’t found out what the “S” stands for) was born on 21 August 18591.  She was the youngest child to Isaac and Mary Anne (Myers) Farver.  At the time of her birth, the Farvers were living in Concord Township in DeKalb County, Indiana.  By the time of the 1870 census, Christiana’s parents had moved the family to a farm in Jackson Township where Christiana would spend her childhood and the early part of her adutlhood2.

Unfortunately, at this point, I know little of Christiana’s childhood beyond her place of residence.  I know that in May of 1877 at the tender age of 17, Christiana married my great grandfather, Curtis Washler.3  After their marriage, Curtis and Christiana lived for a few years with Christiana’s parents, Issac and Mary Anne Farver on their farm in Jackson Township.  Sometime between the 1880 census and the 1900 census, Curtis and Christiana moved to Concord Township.4  As of yet, I have not found definitive proof of this, but according to family stories, the farm that Curtis and Christiana moved to was most likely the farm that is still in the Washler family today, and is the farm where I grew up.  One of my biggest “to do” items is to go back home and search for the land records to show when Curtis and Christiana bought that property.  (Unfortunately, DeKalb County is a “burned” county, so the search may not turn anything up.)  Based on census data, Curtis and Christiana stayed on the farm in Concord Township for several years until moving to neighboring Newville Township sometime before the 1920 census.

Christiana and Curtis had nine children in all.  Only seven of their children survived to adulthood.  Their children were:

Christiana, Curtis and their children

Leonora         b. 8 Mar 1878       d. 12 Jan 1879
John               b. 24 Feb 1879    d. 26 Jul 1948
Estella            b. 29 Mar 1881    d. 20 Jan 1971
Lillie               b. 18 Feb 1883    d. 24 Oct 1887
Cleveland       b. 15 Feb 1886     d. 27 Nov 1953
Louis              b Feb 1888           d. 14 Jul 1954
Ida                 b. 14 Jan 1890       d. 8 Dec 1987
Adrian            b. 14 Oct 1893      d. 15 Nov 1983
Donald           b. 10 Jun 1898       d. 11 Dec 1975
  (Donald was my grandfather)

Christiana died on 22 May 1935, four years before Curtis.  They are both buried in Riverview Cemetery near Newville, Indiana.

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1  I can’t say for sure that Christiana’s birthdate is the 21st, but this is referenced in a family genealogy, “Descendants of Heinrich Worschler,” compiled by Edwin L Wiley, Louiseville, OH.  August 1859 is confirmed by Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Concord, De Kalb, Indiana; Roll: T623_366; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 53.
2 Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census, Jackson, De Kalb, Indiana; Roll: M593_309; Page: 322A; Image: 161; Family History Library Film: 545808.
3“Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12596-44585-97?cc=1410397&wc=M94W-117:n76959793 : accessed 25 Feb 2014), De Kalb > 1872-1878 Volume 4 > image 231 of 295.
4 Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Concord, De Kalb, Indiana; Roll: T623_366; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 53.