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 want to know more about your last name then please read on.
After reading this review then please check out your family’s coat of arms.
SurnameDB Rating and Details
|Free to search
|49,352 Last Names
|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
|Offers great insight into your last name
|CHECK IT OUT ==>
This is a website that I stumbled upon while I was tracing my family history.
I am 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 adds a whole new level of wonder to my ancestry.
In this post, I show you what you can learn about your family history through the meaning of the last names.
Discussed in this post:
- About SurnameDB
- Finding Your Last Name
- Get A Surname Scroll
- Tools & Features
- Help & Support
- Pros & Cons
- Do I Recommend SurnameDB?
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 any more names have been any additions to the database since then.
Research has been ongoing for nearly 30 years, originally created way back in 1980.
How it all started!
The original business provided researchers 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 with an interest in their surname.
The business, based in the Republic of Ireland, ran for many years. However, as the mail-order market became tougher to compete 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.
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.
This meant that 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 expanded their database.
Due to the increase in names in 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?
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“, which also means 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.
Adds a whole new level!
It was great that I could prove the validity of this story.
I then added this little fact to my family history book.
My interest in other last names that appear in my family tree then grew.
So many of us research our ancestry, but do you even know the origin and meaning of your last name?
If not then check out this site today!
Finding Your Last Name
Finding out about your surname is simple to do on this website. You just enter your last name in the search box that appears on the home page.
Please note that there is no “Search” button to click on. When you enter your name just hit the Enter button on your keyboard.
Information about your surname will then be presented to you. As an example, below is 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 by 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 an 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 you can discover:
- Origin and meaning
- Country/countries of surname origin
- Alternate spellings
- Examples of records of interest
- Earliest proven record of a surname
- Descriptive group of your surname, i.e. locational, patronymic, occupational.
Underneath this lengthy text, you have the option to buy a surname scroll for your last name.
Beneath that, there are various ‘clickbait’ 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 of 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 includes the meaning and origin of your surname. And any alternative spellings of your name as well.
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 try to spell the surname differently. For me, this is a great way to uncover that elusive ancestor.
Ordering and delivery
It is extremely easy to order a scroll from this site. First, select the currency and quantity that you desire.
There are 6 currency options 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 order from, you will not have to pay for delivery.
Isn’t that great?
Also, please be aware that there is no frame included in the price. This is only for display purposes.
You can head on over to Amazon to find a suitable frame for your surname scroll.
Buying your scroll
When you enter your currency and quantity just hit the ‘Buy Now‘ button.
This will bring up the PayPal login page where you can buy your scroll. Then enter your email address with 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 your order and pay for your scroll(s) it then takes 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
The search feature is a very simple process that you can use to find the origin and meaning of your last name.
However, if you have 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 the last name that appears in your family tree. Or it can be that an elusive ancestor is difficult to find.
SDB Popularity ranking
The popularity ranking is the number of times people have searched a particular last name 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 will give you many facts such as the origin, meaning, alternate spellings, and earliest record of your name.
Statistics of Surname
Besides the history of your last name, there are some pretty interesting statistics as well.
The Statistics of Surname section is divided into 3 key results about your name.
1. Popularity of the Surname
This section shows you how many people share the same last name as you within the United States. The number is based on the 2010 census.
I quite like this feature, but it would be nice if this was relevant to your country.
For example, if you live in the United Kingdom then this won’t be of too much interest to you. But maybe it will.
2. Name Popularity
A pretty useful tool for you is to discover how popular your surname is within the United States. This though is only of interest if you do live in the U.S.
Here you see 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 you can choose from.
Either you choose:
- Rank – Number of people with the same name
- Frequency – Number of people with names compared to the population of the state.
3. Ethnicity Breakdown
The last section shows you the ethnic breakdown of your last name.
A pie chart is displayed that breaks down ethnicity into White or Other.
Full range of ethnicities:
- Native American
- Mixed Race
These results are 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, there may be some queries that you need an answer from someone at SurnameDB.
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 use 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.
As not many questions are answered on the FAQs page you will probably want to contact SurnameDB for help.
For that reason, you can use a form to send a query. This form can be found via clicking on the ‘Contact Us‘ link.
Just enter your name, email address (so that they can reply to you), and your message.
After you fill in all this information then just click on the Submit button.
You can also subscribe to the SurnameDB newsletter.
Once you sign up expect to receive fortnightly newsletters detailing the top family history and genealogy news and tips as well.
There is a sign-up form located either on the right of the website or down the bottom.
Just fill in your email address and click on the ‘Subscribe‘ button.
You can view previous newsletters to check out 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 please find their pages and follow them.
Pros & Cons
✔ Large collection of Western surnames
✔ Easy to use site
❌ May not find your last name
❌ Many ads
❌ Poor customer service
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 within the database, there is a really good chance that your last name will be in the database.
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 to show off your research then these are great to purchase and frame on your wall.
What I don’t like!
Not all surnames are featured …
Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that you will indeed find your last name on this site.
It appears 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 there has been no update in quite some time.
Many ads are onsite …
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 you navigate through the site that they may be a distraction. I too felt like that while I browsed the site, but once you get your head around it then it isn’t that bad really.
Poor customer service …
Recently I have become aware of a lack of support from this company. Despite giving advice on possible communication channels the company has failed to reply to the customer.
I feel that it is important to respond to any customer query in a timely manner, and this company has failed to do that.
So, do I recommend SurnameDB?
Yes, I do recommend SurnameDB. There may be some minor negatives about the site, but it can offer you some interesting insight into your name.
If you decide to check out this site then please come back and let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this post giving my SurnameDB Website Review. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
Please share with family and friends if you think this post will help others by using the social media buttons below.