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Always Learning – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Do you like to pick up tips and tricks from other researchers? I know I do! I especially like those surveys or challenges that cause me to look at my data in a different way. That’s one of the things I like about Randy Seaver’s “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” challenges. Not only does Randy challenge me to look at my data differently – but he often provides the instructions on how to do it.

That is especially true of last night’s challenge.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you’re using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us what the top 20  surnames are in your database and, if possible, how many entries.  How many different surnames are in your family tree?

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, in a status or comment on a Facebook post.

Since like Randy, I use RootsMagic 7 to manage my genealogy research, I simply have to follow his directions to figure out my top 20 surnames.

So within RootsMagic 7, I pulled down the REPORTS menu and clicked on LISTS for the type of report. Then I just scrolled down the right side of the window to locate the SURNAME STATISTICS LIST.

When the REPORT SETTINGS window opened, I needed to change the ‘Sort List by’ to ‘FREQUENCY OF SURNAME’.

With 53 pages of surnames, I have to admit I have a lot of different surnames in my project. My top 20 surnames include some surprises:

  • Crawford — 1128
  • Ricketts — 903
  • Foster — 400
  • Briles — 359
  • Curry — 339
  • _____ — 291
  • Wells — 277
  • Thompson — 258
  • Hammond — 214
  • Sellers — 185
  • Currey — 178
  • Mentzer — 168
  • Broyles — 140
  • Smith — 134
  • Burke — 124
  • Young — 112
  • Rush — 101
  • Allen — 100
  • Ralston — 89
  • Miller — 83

So, what were some of the surprises?
Well, the _____ and the blank surnames shouldn’t have surprised me, since I have a lot of spouses without a surname. I just didn’t expect them to show up in my Top 20.
What is really surprising is the FAN club surnames that made my Top 20. This would include SELLERS, YOUNG, ALLEN and MILLER. 
So, I wondered where the ancestral surnames of my 2nd great grandparents appeared on the list. So, here’s the list of those ancestral surnames and where they appear on the list:

  • Crawford — 1st
  • Foster — 3rd
  • Hammond — 9th
  • Ralston — 19th
  • Currey — 11th (withCURRY at  5th)
  • Burke – 15th
  • Hutchinson — 23rd 
  • Harding – 26th
  • Briles – 4th
  • Thompson — 8th
  • Ricketts — 2nd
  • Christy — 78th
  • Mentzer — 12th
  • Minnick — 77th
  • Wells — 7th
  • Crandall — 33rd

Thanks Randy for the challenge!