SNGF ~ How Many Surnames in Your Family Tree Database?

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I’m joining in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun blog meme hosted by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings.  This weeks challenge is:
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.

My main genealogy database is in RootsMagic 7.  I do use a number of programs but chose RootsMagic for this challenge because has my largest database currently.

To find out how many surnames are in my database I went to the Reports menu tab and selected List.  From that popup menu I chose Surname Statistics List.  The surname statistics list offers a number of sorting selections.  I chose to sort by surname frequency.

RootsMagic surname report

This produced a 78 page report and each page contained about 49 names.  I wasn’t going to sit and count them all!  This gives me an estimated number of surnames 3822.

My top 20 surnames are:


  • MCINROY 429 people from 1781 to 1998
  • UNKNOWN 420 people from 1741 to 1973
  • GARDINER 344 people from 1645 to 2010
  • GALLANT 304 people from 1712  to1996
  • HASLETT 298 people from  1712 to 2006
  • ANDERSON 290 people from 1620 to 2008
  • FERRIER 264 people from  1753 to 1982
  • ROBICHAUD 233 people from  1609 to 2012
  • SPITZ 232 people from 1657 to 1933
  • MCKEOWN 218 people from 1805 to 2010
  • HAZLETT 198 people from  1760 to 2009
  • MILLS 197 people from  1672 to 2014
  • MCCREA 196 people from  1725 to 2000
  • WILSON 189 people from  1678 to 1998
  • REID 189 people from  1838 to 1988
  • @@ 167 people from 1808 to 1985
  • WATSON 161 people from 1676 to 1981
  • HEATH 153 people from 1793 to 1993
  • BADGEROW 152 people from 1745 to 2006
  • HOWATT 143 people from 1763 to 1997

This was an interesting topic to look at.  First I’ve discovered that I have way to many “unknown” names for my liking.  These span a wide range of time.  Some of these are in my direct lines, however many are in distant cousin branches.  It’s on my to-do list to try and figure out who these people are.  I also see that at some point I’ve imported/merged a cousins database who used @@ symbols in the name field.  ARG!  I no longer import gedcoms into my master file, but I will have to go back and clean that up as well.

Kim Mills

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