How Do You Research Your Family's Surname?


Quick Answer

To research a surname, use Ancestory.com, FamilySearch, MyTrees.com, or one of numerous other resources on the Internet. All of these websites offer basic records searches for free, and some offer additional services for a fee. All of them allow users to connect with other family history researchers and users.

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Full Answer

Ancestry.com allows users to research surnames, offering the basic surname meaning, surname distribution across the United States, limited information concerning the surname in public records, and other services for free. For a fee, users can build a genealogy, link to the work of others and access more detailed records. The site also offers DNA testing that informs users about the origin of their families.

FamilySearch maintains a free database with more than 60 million names, which are submitted by users or are taken from printed records. The site indexes its records alongside events, family members, locations and contact information for the user who submits the record.

MyTrees.com is a similar, but it is a larger service. It offers 200 million names and is free to search. Users gain access to the full site by submitting a GEDCOM, which is a family tree file that users can create with free software, or by adding a document to their records.

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