Discovering the origin and meaning of your last name can add value to your genealogy research. This SurnameDB Review will show you what you can expect from this website.
While I discuss the site in this review I will be offering my unbiased opinion. If you feel that you can add to the opinions expressed here then please feel free to comment below.
If you are interested to know more about your last name then please read on.
After reading this review you may want to check out what your family’s coat of arms looks like.
SurnameDB Website Details:
|Free?||Free to search|
|Surnames||49,352 Last Names|
|Products||Colorful Scroll with Surname and Meaning|
|Tools & Features||Simple Search Form, Surname Index, Popularity Ranking, History of Surname, Statistics of Surname|
|Help & Support||FAQs, Contact Form, Newsletter, Facebook & Twitter|
|Where to Go||SurnameDB|
|Bottom Line||Offers great insight into your last name|
This is a website that I stumbled upon while I was tracing my family history.
I was fascinated to learn more about my ancestry and discover the origins and meanings of the many last names that were in my family tree.
This research added a whole new level of wonder about my ancestry.
In this post I want to show you what you can learn about your family history through the meaning of the last names that you will uncover.
Topics discussed in this post:
- About SurnameDB
- Finding Your Last Name
- Get A Surname Scroll
- Tools & Features
- Help & Support
- Pros & Cons
- Do I Recommend SurnameDB?
* Please share your opinion of SurnameDB below! *
I would love to hear from you.
This family run website is the result of research conducted by Michael Brook, who was the founder of “Name Origin Research”.
The site contains a database of nearly 50,000 surnames together with their meanings and origins.
To be exact the number is 49,352 last names. This number of surnames as far as I can find out was last updated in 2011.
So, I’m not really sure if anymore names have been added to the database since then.
Research carried out for this site has been ongoing for nearly 30 years, originally created way back in 1980.
How it all started!
The original business provided researches with details about last names via mail order and off the page advertising, i.e. this was before the Internet really took off.
From there the team grew to 5 researchers offering help to people interested in their surname.
The business, based in the Republic or Ireland, ran for many years. However, as the mail order market become tougher to compete in the business soon became unprofitable.
As a result the database of names was kept private, only for Michael to add to the collection every now and then.
A new dawn!
It wasn’t until October 2006 that this database was brought to the masses with the creation of a website where people could access the many names within the database.
The original site though was quickly set up and was fraught with bugs.
The creators of the website did not envision that it would be so popular.
Therefore, they had to go back to the drawing board and create a site that would be more friendly and easier to use.
As information is more accessible due to the widespread transfer of knowledge through the Internet they have been able to expand their database.
Due to the increase in names added to the database errors may have crept in.
For this reason the creators do allow you to step in and comment on whether anything needs to be corrected.
This sharing of knowledge will mean that all of us will profit from this valuable resource.
Why research your last name?
As I mentioned earlier in this review I stumbled upon this site because I was interested in the meaning and origin of my last name.
My father told me that my last name, Couch, was of Cornish origin with the word referring to someone of red hair.
The name “Couch” is also similar to the Welsh word “coch“, also meaning red. Wales is of interest here as it is fairly close to Cornwall, (although separated by the Bristol Channel).
Anyway, because I wanted to check whether this origin story was correct I arrived at SurnameDB.
It adds a whole new level!
It was great that I could prove the validity of this story.
I then added this little fact to the family history book that I was creating, all whilst researching my ancestry.
It wasn’t long before I wanted to know about other last names that appeared in my family tree.
So many of us are researching our ancestry, but do you even know the origin and meaning of your last name?
If not then you should check out this site!
Finding Your Last Name
Finding out about your surname is simple to do on this website. All you need to do is enter your last name in the search box that is found on the home page.
Please note that there is no “Search” button for you to click on. Therefore, once you have entered your name just hit the Enter button on your keyboard.
You will then be presented with information about your surname. As an example I have shown below the result of my search for my last name, Couch.
As you can see there is plenty of information and it does make for some interesting reading.
However, I do feel that this information could be presented in a much more user-friendly style, i.e. separated under different headings.
If though you are fascinated about your last name, and names that appear in your family tree, I feel that you will be more than willing to read the results of your search.
Beneath the heading of the results page you will see a SDB Popularity ranking followed by a number, 3649 in this example.
This rank is based on how many times the surname has been searched for within the past year.
Within all the details about your last name you will discover various things that you did not even know.
What can you discover:
- Origin and meaning
- Country/countries of surname origin
- Alternate spellings
- Examples of interesting records
- Earliest proven record of surname
- Descriptive group of your surname, i.e. locational, patronymic, occupational.
Underneath this lengthy text there is the option for you to buy a surname scroll for your last name. I’ll discuss that in the next section.
Beneath that there are various ‘click bait’ articles, and an option for you to comment as well.
You may wish to comment if you find the information of interest to you and want to let the owners of the site know.
Or, you can comment if you feel that there is a correction to be made with the presented facts about your surname.
There is another way that you can search for your surname. You may wish to try this method if you are not sure of the spelling for the name.
Within the Surname Index you can find a surname meaning using the A to Z index.
There are nearly 50,000 surnames for you to choose from.
Nearly everything from Aaron right through to Zywicki.
Get A Surname Scroll!
Researching your ancestry can be an exciting hobby. You just don’t know who you will discover and what you will find out about them.
The same can be said about your surname. And if you feel like me then you will too want to show off your heritage.
With that said you may want to buy a unique product that is available from the website. It is also exclusive to the site.
The colorful surname scroll is beautifully produced with information about your last name printed in an old world calligraphic font.
Scroll Product Details:
- Size – Standard A4 size (8.3 x 11.7 inches)
- Price – $25 (USD), €18 (EUR), £15 (GBP), $27 (CAD), $28 (AUD), $30 (NZD)
- Delivery – Free!
- Receive – Within 5 working days
- Frame Not Included!
What’s On The Scroll?
Practically everything that you see on the site.
This will be the meaning and origin of your surname as I have mentioned before, as well as alternative spellings of your name.
These variations of your name are very handy to you while you research your genealogy.
Why is that?
Well, if you cannot find records about your ancestors then why not spell the surname differently. For me this has been a great way to find that elusive ancestor of mine.
Ordering and delivery
Ordering your unique scroll is easy to do. Firstly, you will need to select your currency and quantity that you desire.
There are 6 currency options for you to choose from. So, if you are in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., or any European country that uses the Euro then you’re in luck.
Please note that it doesn’t matter where in the world that you are ordering the scroll from, you will not have to pay for delivery.
Isn’t that great?
Also, please be aware that a frame is not included in the price. This is only for display purposes.
Therefore, you may wish to head on over to Amazon to find a suitable frame for your surname scroll.
Buying your scroll
Once you have entered your currency and quantity you then just hit the ‘Buy Now‘ button.
This will then bring up the PayPal Log in page where you can buy your scroll. You just enter your email address followed by your PayPal password, and then continue the buying process.
Please do not worry if you do not have a PayPal account. There is an option for you to pay either by Debit or Credit Card.
Delivery of your scroll
Once you have ordered and paid for your scroll(s) it will then take 5 working days for your scroll to be printed and dispatched to you.
As this company is based in the Republic of Ireland it may take up to a week to two weeks for your scroll to arrive.
If you are in Great Britain then it will typically take 3-4 days to arrive. Anywhere in Europe up to a week, and for the rest of the world then expect to wait 10-14 days.
Tools & Features
Simple Search Form
I have already discussed how you can search for your surname above. It is a very simple process for you to find the origin and meaning of your last name.
However, if you are having difficulty finding your name then you may want to try the following option.
The database of nearly 50,000 surnames is also accessible by using an A to Z index.
This is very useful to use as you may not know the spelling of a last name that appears in your family tree, or you may have had difficulty finding an elusive ancestor.
SDB Popularity ranking
This number as I mentioned above is the number of times that your last name has been searched for on the site within the past year.
History of Surname
When you first search for your surname within the database you are presented with the history of the name.
This as mentioned earlier will give you many facts such as the origin, meaning, alternate spellings, and earliest record of your name.
Statistics of Surname
Besides discovering the history of your last name you can also find some pretty interesting statistics as well.
This section of the site is divided into 3 key results about your name.
1. Popularity of the Surname
This section will show how many people share the same last name as you within the United States. This is based on the 2010 census.
I quite like this feature, but it would be nice if this relevant to your country.
For example, if you live in the United Kingdom then this won’t be of too much interest to you.
2. Name Popularity
A pretty useful tool for you is discovering how popular your surname is within the United States, (interesting if you do in fact live in the U.S.)
Here you are presented with a U.S. map with all the states color coded depending on how many people share the same last name as you.
There are two options for you to choose from to be displayed.
Either you choose:
- Rank – Number of people with same name
- Frequency – Number of people with name compared to population of state.
3. Ethnicity Breakdown
The last section will show you the ethnicity breakdown of your last name.
You will be presented with a pie chart that breaks down ethnicity into White or Other.
Full range of ethnicities:
- Native American
- Mixed Race
These results are again based on the U.S. 2010 Census Records.
I’m sorry to disappoint any of you, but as far as I am aware this app is no longer available.
I tried to search for it on my own smartphone but did not get any results.
If any of you know otherwise then please comment below and I will correct this.
Help & Support
The site is pretty easy to search and navigate around. However, you may have some queries that you need answering or problems that you need fixing.
For this reason there are several ways that you can get help and support from the staff at SurnameDB.
This section of the site offers only 3 questions. I feel that more could be added here to make it more helpful to visitors of the site.
Questions relate to:
- What is the ‘SDB Popularity ranking’?
- Can I user your research text in my blog or book?
- How long will it take for my Surname Scroll to arrive?
Incidentally, you may like to know that you CAN use what you find on the site for either your blog or book. However, you will need to provide a link back to the page where you found the information.
Once you have filled in all this information just click on the ‘Submit‘ button.
If you find this website of interest then you may also like to subscribe to the SurnameDB newsletter.
Once you sign up expect to receive fortnightly newsletters detailing top family history and genealogy news and tips as well.
The sign up form can be found either on the right of the website, or down the bottom.
You just need to fill in your email address and click on the ‘Subscribe‘ button.
You can view previous newsletters to check our whether you want to join or not.
Genealogy news and tips are frequently placed on their social media accounts. These posts and tweets come from other helpful genealogy sites.
If you are on Facebook or Twitter then why not find their pages and follow them.
Pros & Cons
✔ Large collection of Western surnames
✔ Easy to use site
✔ Help and support offered
❌ May not find your last name
❌ Many ads
Do I Recommend SurnameDB?
If you are like me then you will want to know much more about ancestry than just names, dates and places.
Discovering the origin and meaning of your surname can add much more interest to your research.
After all do you know what your last name actually means?
With nearly 50,000 surnames contained within the database there is a really good chance that you will find your last name.
But why stop there when you can discover information as to other names in your family tree.
I also really like the surname scrolls that you can buy from the site. If you like showing off your research then these are great to purchase and frame on your wall.
What I don’t like!
Not all surnames featured …
Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that you will indeed find your last name on this site.
It seems that the database was last updated back many years ago in 2011.
Whether this is good or bad news I’m not sure. The reason for this is that whose to say that not all surnames have been researched.
And maybe that is why the collection hasn’t been updated in quite some time.
Many ads on site …
As pointed out in the ‘About Us‘ page of the site there are ads on the site.
These ads help pay towards the operating costs of the site. So, you can understand why they are there.
After all this is a FREE site so the inclusion of ads on the site is understandable.
You may feel while navigating through the site that they may feel distracting. I too felt like that while I was researching the site, but once you get your head around it then it isn’t that bad really.
So, do I recommend SurnameDB?
Yes, I definitely do recommend SurnameDB.
There may be some minor negatives about the site, but it can offer you some interesting insight into your name.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
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