Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Surnames?

As posted by Randy Seaver over at his Genea-Musings blog:

"It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

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, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

NOTE:  If you can't figure out how to do this in your GMP, use the Help button and search for "count persons" then follow directions."

I use Family Tree Maker 2011.  I had to go to the Help files to find out how to do this.  (I didn't even know it could be done!)  I had to try a couple of different keywords in the Index search, but finally under "Reports" I found "Surname Report."  Bingo!  Once I read over the directions, it was clear this was just what I needed.

So I went back to FTM, clicked on "Publish" and a list of publication options (reports) available came up.  I went down the list to  "Person Reports" and there I found what I was looking for:  "Surname Report."  I double-clicked that and under "Options" I chose for "All Individuals" to be included, to  "Sort by surname count," and "Show divider between surnames."  (This last choice was a just a personal one - the results would have been the same either way. 

Voila!  There was my report! 

The reports lists:  surname, total number in database, total number of males with that name, total number of females with that name, along with the earliest and most recent years of birth of those with a particular surname.

3)  I have a total of 647 surnames and 3,640 individuals in my database.  The top 10 surnames, along birth year ranges, are as follows:

  • Tapley:  339 persons, from 1691-1994
  • Powell:  158 persons, from 1715-1963
  • Hubbard:  152 persons, from 1601-1893
  • Drake:  127 persons, from 1647-1967
  • Price:  127 persons, from 1680-1956
  • Ranney:  119 persons, from 1661-1951
  • MNU (Maiden Name Unknown):  71 persons, from 1730-1936
  • Wheeler:  70 persons, from 1807-1959
  • Claxton:  64 persons, from 1836-1974
  • Page:  52 persons, from 1758-1919

and an optional #11 if you don't count MNU:
  •  Schwalls, 51 persons, 1837-1950
This was a great exercise!  I actually am quite surprised by the results.  Several of my actual lines, such as Drake, Ranney, Page, and Schwalls, are lower on the list than related-by-marriage-only names such as Powell, Price, and Wheeler.  Very eye-opening.

Thanks, Randy, for a fun (and enlightening) time on a Saturday night!

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