If you’ve wondered where your surname comes from, you can find out for free on the Forebears website.

This “quirky” site originated from a UK geographers’ project. Type in your name and learn where it is most prevalent and where it originated:

The most common surnames in the United States? SMITH, JONES and WILLIAMS.

The most common surname in the world? WANG. Almost 77 million people in China are named Wang. That makes Murphy and Kelly look like a genealogical walk in the park.

The Forebears website also provides a handy guide to databases, websites, publications and finding aids by country. Here are links to two:



Happy browsing!


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