Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Surnames in Your Family Tree Database?

I always find it interesting when Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun has me analyzing the information I have in my family tree database.  It's never the kind of thing I think about doing otherwise.  This week's challenge:

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!!  Or 20!!!

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.

Well, I've never heard the term "genealogy management program" before (I just call them "family tree programs"), but I went for it.

I use Family Tree Maker on a PC.  I went to the Tools menu, then Family File Statistics, then Total Number of Different Surnames.

I have 1,952 different surnames in my database.  Randy's program gives a lot more information than mine, and apparently more easily, but I went through my indexed list of names and counted occurrences for surnames.  My top ten are:

1.  Gantt/Gaunt/Gauntt, 845 people
2.  Sellers/Söller, 604 people
3.  Allen, 135 people
4.  Mack/Mock, 132 people
5.  Fuller, 102 people
6.  Crawford, 66 people
7.  Dunstan, 64 people
8.  Eckman, 61 people
9.  Wickham, 52 people
10.  Smith, 50 people

I found it amusing that Smith, one of the most common names in the English-speaking world (maybe the most common?), barely made it into my top ten.  It's even more amusing because they aren't in my direct family.  They're part of my aunt's family, but I have her family in the same database as my own.  Three of the other names in the top ten are also not my family:  Fuller is the same aunt's family, Crawford is her sister's second husband's family, and Wickham is my half-sister's mother's family.  (Yes, I really am researching all those collateral relatives' lines.)  At least the top four are mine!

I have several individuals in my database with "Unknown" surnames, but I did not include that number in my count.  "Unknown" is not the surname for any of those people.  I also didn't do a screen capture of how FTM showed the output; it just wasn't that exciting.

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