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.”