Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Surname Frequency

Randy Seaver posted the latest SNGF post, and I really couldn't resist this one. Right up my alley.

1)  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!

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.

So I use Roots Magic 6 now, so I just followed Randy's instructions. It was incredibly simple. Roots Magic has a report view for Surname Statistics with a few different options. I went with Frequency of Surnames. According to the list I got, I have 820 surnames total.
My top ten:

  1. Jensen (355, earliest was from 1590, latest was from 2010)
  2. Hansen (311, earliest was from 1630, latest was from 2010)
  3. Nielsen (220, earliest was from 1545, latest was from 1998)
  4. Pedersen (201, earliest was from 1500, latest was from 2008)
  5. Bordewich (the only non-Danish name on this list) (139, earliest was 1800, latest was 2011)
  6. Christensen (84, earliest was 1602, latest was 1989)
  7. Larsen (75, earliest was 1812, latest was 1991)
  8. Andersen (69, earliest was 1700, latest was 1971)
  9. Sørensen (67, earliest was 1690, latest was 1979)
  10. Kristensen (65, earliest was 1874, latest was 1959)

And the next five:

  • Madsen
  • unknown
  • Solberg
  • Thomsen
  • Pedersdatter

  • All of which are Danish as well, except for the unknown surnames.

    Bordewich made the top ten only because I have such extensive information on that line. Johan Petter and his children were incredibly prolific. We ended up all over the place. Though there are a few variations on the name.

    I expected Christensen to place first when I originally decided to do this post, but was shocked to see it didn't even place third. After a little thinking, I realized why. I did a name list for a word picture a few years back, and Christiansen turned out to be the largest name in the picture because there were so many, but I only used the names of my direct ancestors in that list, which very much changes the number of names. Since tis list includes everyone, that means other names placed well above it.

    I thought it might be interesting to do a combined list of the related names, and see if that changes the order at all, because some families, the names shifted depending on a lot of factors, including male/female. After some tinkering and adjustment, I came up with this list:

    1. Jensen (405)
    2. Hansen (326)
    3. Pedersen (294)
    4. Nielsen (249)
    5. Christensen (199)
    6. Bordewich (154)
    7. Sørensen (100)
    8. Andersen (95)
    9. Larsen (81)
    10. Madsen (50)

    That's with all variants of the name included. I removed all the unknown surnames from this list, which would have been in the tenth position with 71 people. The numbers go quickly down from fifty. Most have less than ten. I went with the most common name to sort them under, though some joint names had both included on my list several times. The most difficult were the Gabriel/Howells line, where the name switched from first to last with each generation, so both were surnames at different generations. I just included both in my count for Gabriel and Howells variants, but that didn't even reach forty total for the whole line.

    An interesting exercise. I'm not shocked to see that the Danes (and Scandinavians in general) had the highest counts, as that is where most of my success has come, on those lines. I might have to do this again in a few years, to see if that has changed at all.


    Post a Comment

    About this blog

    This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
    Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
    Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

    Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.