Sunday, February 15, 2015

5 Online Surname Origin Research Resources

5 Online Surname Origin Research Resources


5 Online Surname Origin Research Resources for your family history research

Learning the origin of your ancestral surnames can often provide relevant clues as to where you should be looking for your ancestors.

Surname research can be interesting and enlightening when the origins are found. Locations and occupations often come to light through surname research.

Use these five online resources to begin researching your family surname.

1. Guild of One-Name Studies
The worldwide center for one-name studies. You may search their collection as well as join a study.

2. The Internet Surname Database
A database containing over 40,000 surnames and can provide detailed history about a surname. 
"This most interesting surname is of Old French origin, and is a locational name from "Briencun", a place in Normandy."1
3. Ancestry Surname Origins
This resource provides detailed surname origin information as well as distribution maps. You may also find links to information within Ancestry's collections.

4. Forebears
A surname meaning and distribution database containing over 11 million surnames.


This surname resource is provided by The Irish Times and provides a distribution map as well as histories, if available.

Do you have any go-to surname research resources?


Please share them if you do. I am also looking to expand my surname book collection. If you have any recommendations, I welcome those as well.

Visit my surnames page for a complete list of surnames I seek here.

1. Surname Database: Brimson Last Name Origin,, 2/13/2015.

2. Gillpin Surname Meaning, Origins & Distribution | Family Name,, 2/13/2015

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