The select surnames website
Welcome to the select surnames website.
What’s in a name? More than you might think. Each surname carries an individual history that has been shaped by all the forebears of that name. In palmistry, the left hand usually tells you what you are born with, the right hand what you made on your life. So too with family genealogy. Word origin and DNA will provide a starting point. But the history and events over time can give these names their distinctive characteristics and traits.
In fact each name may have a distinct narrative that extends back through the mists of time to its early formulation. We can follow where the name came from (sometimes from more than one location) and where the name migrated to over time, as well as the many incidents and events along the way.
This site contains narratives for more than 1,000 select surnames in the English-speaking world. There are to be found here names of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish origin. And the list also includes additional names of Germanic, Dutch, French, Huguenot, Jewish, and Scandinavian origin.
Please type in here the surname in which you are interested.
For your guidance the following Select Surnames are to be found on this site.
Coverage of each surname includes:
- a discussion on the origin of the name
- the internet resources on the name available (including family histories)
- early history of the name at its origin and the main family lines
- migratory patterns, how and when
- the history of the name in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere
- famous bearers of the name
- numbers today in the UK, America and elsewhere
- plus a miscellany section providing a number of stories and accounts over the years.
Some Background on These Surnames
First, some lists and numbers.
The Top 300 Surnames ranks the 300 most common surnames in the English-speaking world. They are ranked according to their approximate total family numbers today – in the UK, America, and elsewhere (primarily in Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
The Top Ten Surnames provides a regional slant – the top ten in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, America, Canada, Jewish in America, German in America, African American in America, Hispanic in America, as well as the top ten in Australia and New Zealand.
These surnames have not been around forever. Surname History provides a brief account of their origin and development in England.
We invite from our readers in our Reader Feedback section:
- any comments and suggestions on the site and on the surnames shown.
- any family histories that you might care to share.
- any additions to the internet resource listings on particular surnames.
- and any suggestions as to new surnames to be covered.