Find your ancestors by last name

Last name research is an important part of genealogy

But I used my Ancestry DNA test results to help place my origins in this region for further researching. You can also narrow the name search even further by clicking on the country, like the US, and Forebears will show you how your surname ranks in each state! I hope they eventually add a feature to show surnames by county! Pretty cool! Some of the different spellings may be completely new to you. You may not have thought about some of the variations when you wrote your list, so be sure to add them now.

It might be hard to wrap your brain around the idea that a last name so common to you and your family for so long may not actually be the original name or spelling of that name. Many people find this to be the case in their own searches and it is more common than you may think. If the last name was a difficult name to pronounce or spell, then it is also possible that the family changed the name slightly to make it easier for them to live in a new country and fit in. I can identify two different surnames in my family tree where the families broke away from the long-standing spelling of their last name.

In both cases, my ancestors were the ones who made the change and took on a new variation of their last name. Keep a list of possible ways to spell each name and also keep a list of all of the different ways the name is actually spelled on documents and letters.

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The misspellings are important, too! Sometimes an incorrectly spelled name may get repeated by a well-meaning relative or friend and show up on another document incorrectly. Variations and misspellings can be used in newspaper or census searches, and city directory searches.

When you hit a road block, this is the time to think about using some of those other surnames in search engines and genealogy sites. Read my post on how to search for family in online newspapers!

Here’s How to Find Your Ancestors Without Their Full Names

Censuses are especially common places to find misspellings. With the influx of the numerous and varied immigrants in early America, the census workers may have had a lot of trouble understanding all of the different linguistic accents they came across in their work.

How to Find the Nationality of Last Names

Their intentions may have been good but the names and ages collected may not have been completely accurate. Often, immigrants would live in areas where they shared language, religion, and customs with others. An alternative to the high-end genealogical resources offered by Ancestry.

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The April 2, , release by the U. National Archives and Records Administration of the U. If you were hoping to plumb the records for details on your family, keep in mind that the initial release of the data will be a challenge to search.

Research Ancestors (Genealogy)

As the National Archives' census FAQ indicates, until professional and amateur genealogists have indexed the names and other data collected by that census, the only way to find specific entries will be by the "enumeration district" where a given person lived at the time. The National Archives offers tips for researching the census data , but what if you don't know much about your family's past?

Anyone who has dug into their family history online knows how frustrating and time-consuming the process can be. Sites such as the popular Ancestry.

Last Name Meaning & Origins | GenealogyBank

In addition to census data, the service lets you search records for births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and baptisms in the U. Also searchable are immigration records, military records, and government archives. But keep in mind you can't do much searching until you sign up for a day trial of the paid service, which entails supplying your credit card information. Start by entering your name and age and choosing which family to search: your father's, your mother's, or someone else's.

When you click the Get Started button, you open a form for entering information about the first limb of your family tree, probably your mother or father. The first two branches of your family tree appear on the right side of the window. After you enter the information and click "Search the records" you're prompted to provide an e-mail address before viewing the search results. A username and password are sent to that address. Sign in to the account to view the new branch of the family tree. Hover over an entry on the tree to see options for viewing the person's profile, editing the information, or searching the records.

If you choose the record-search option, you'll see the search results, but you won't be able to view the record itself. So before you can drill below the first level of Ancestry. This is my uphill battle, trying to find out why my Great Grandfather changed his name and lied about where he was born. Huge mystery, one that I feel like I am running out of options. It must have been a big secret to lie to your wife and children and take that secret to the grave. That it the hardest! My great grandfather did change his name, but at least he stayed around so we know about him. Never have figured out why the change.

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I have seen some official documents for her, but we dont know what her stage name was, so unable to find any media records. How interesting! You might want to try a google image search for her to see if you find any matches. They might give clues to her stage name. My Aunt was born in in Canada.

National Archives Catalog Guide for Genealogists and Family Historians

Gma and Aunt came to the states in the mids after Gma married my Gpa. Aunt was adopted by my Gpa. Gma, Aunt and Gpa have all since passed away. Any thoughts or idea on where to look? I can find my Gma in the Canadian Census but no mention of a child and she still had her maiden name. Maybe check immigration records for the aunt to see if a birth name was given.

Also, are there collateral relations still living you can interview? You may need to seek them out. If you are able, search the Canandian birth records for a 5 year old girl with her first name in the right location. Best of luck! Thanks for sharing! Falkner changed his last name to Fortner. The name that was used on his obituary was B. Name changes and missing parents are so challenging!

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My grandmother, mother and aunt who lived with them all their lives all support this fact. To complicate matters, GGM also always stated that her father was not a Williams her maiden name but a Lloyd and that he was adopted by the Williams family when he was young. Lloyd and mother unknown!

Information provided by his adult son. An ancestor was Josiah he enlisted in the civil war and was listed as Joseph S. After he came home some listing was Joe Sire, which is a slurred Josiah.

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