13    Dec 201322 comments

Surnames: Different countries, different traditions

Surnames or family names are the part of a person’s name that is passed down through families, or given according to law or custom. Many cultures have different customs for how names are passed from generation to generation.

Surnames originate from the relatively "recent" medieval custom of bynames, or names given to differentiate people.

Continue reading "Surnames: Different countries, different traditions" »

11    Sep 20135 comments

Poll: Would you change your name?

Names - surname and given - are essential to family history research.

A surname passes through many generations connecting family members with that common surname. Many people are also named after deceased relatives to honor those individuals.

Names can be rare or even banned. For some, even a stranger’s opinion influences the name of a newborn.

Generally, names are given to us, but people are beginning to adopt new names, both given and surnames.

What does this mean for family history?

Will it be more difficult to trace name changes and links to ancestors, or will it make research more exciting?

What do you think? If you could change your name easily, would you?


29    Apr 20136 comments

Meshing surnames: A new wedding trend?

It’s not uncommon for people to change their given names or surnames, but a new trend is becoming popular among married couples in both the US and the UK.

Michael Pugh and Rebecca Griffin, who married nearly three years ago, are an example of this latest trend in the UK called "meshing,” where married couples fuse their surnames.

The couple took part of Michael’s surname “Pu” with part of Rebecca’s surname “Ffin.” Now they are the Puffins.

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14    Mar 20126 comments

Poll: How many surnames on your tree?

Surnames (or family names) are a meaningful inheritance bequeathed to us by our ancestors. Our family trees are a rich melting pot of family names covering diverse cultures and ethnicities.

Have you ever counted how many different surnames are on your tree? We invite you to answer the following poll:


6    May 20111 comment

What’s In Aa Surname? Getting to the Bottom of the First Name in the Phone Book

As genealogy and family history buffs, we often become obsessed with small facts about surnames. That’s why a recent article from New Zealand caught my attention.

The writer spoke to Michelle A'a about the pros and cons of being the first person in the phone book.

There was obviously the novelty of being able to tell people you’re the first person in the phone book, but then there was the downside of constant calls from people looking for Alcoholics Anonymous.

This got me thinking. What’s the first surname in other countries around the world?

Continue reading "What’s In Aa Surname? Getting to the Bottom of the First Name in the Phone Book" »

24    Sep 20104 comments

Names: How do you say that?

Is your family name unusual?

Do people have trouble saying or spelling it? 

If so, you might enjoy this post that appeared earlier this month in the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.

They look at your name, stammer, and ask "how do you say that?" What do you do? 

Do you patiently spell it several times? Will you, as I often do, spell it out as in "D as in David, A as in Apple, R as in Robert".........

Do you break the name down into syllables for the other person? Do you give up and say, "Call me by my first name!"

People look at DARDASHTI and their eyes glaze over. "Is that two Ds and two As?" asks the person on the phone or in a store. I usually break it into three syllables: Dar-dash-ti. For TALALAY, strangers usually put the accent on the wrong syllable, and say Tah-LAY-lee, instead of TAH-lah-lie. To confuse matters, one family branch uses TALALAY in English, but pronounces it Tah-la-lay.

Click here to read the complete post by genealogist Schelly Talalay Dardashti at the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.

15    Sep 20100 comments

What do the Top 10 Twitter Surnames in Australia tell us?

We recently ran a blog post, here on the MyHeritage Blog, about the top ten Australian surnames.

That blogpost got me thinking - would those top ten surnames be the same if we revisited the list in 10 years?

The question kept bothering me so I decided to see if I could answer it. Rather than do the same old research, though, I thought I'd do something a little more fun (and interesting) and see what the top ten Australian surnames on Twitter were.

Continue reading "What do the Top 10 Twitter Surnames in Australia tell us?" »

23    Aug 20100 comments

Top Ten Australian Surnames

Whilst Australia awaits the outcome of the national election, Welsh-born Julia Gillard’s surname may give a little insight into her character.  Gillard is an ancient name of Norman 11th century origins.  According to some sources, it came from the Norman name Willard.  This name is derived from the Germanic roots “will” meaning desire, and “heard” meaning strong or hard. 

Tony Abbot’s ancient surname is generally of early English origins, predating the Anglo-Saxons and Normans.  It was usually an occupational name for a person employed by an abbot, or perhaps a nickname for one who was thought to conduct himself like an abbot. 

Could you be related to the next Prime Minister of Australia?  How common is the name Gillard or Abbot in Australia?  You might be surprised!  Find out below, along with the 10 most common surnames in Australia.

Continue reading "Top Ten Australian Surnames" »

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