Saturday, April 2, 2011

Surname Saturday - ?

For Surname Saturday I may end up with more than one post today. I would like to start by discussing the pesky surname "?".

Admit it, you all have relatives with this surname. Maybe they go by aliases in your family files, like "unk", or "unknown" or even "surname unknown", but they all belong to the ? family!

Today I compiled a list of every surname in my files. Both from many years of full time researching and from some fortunate and some unfortunate "name collecting" databases merges early on (10 or so years ago, its a long story for another post!) I have a very large database.

My database currently has 822, 037 individuals. As my work on it continues it actually gets smaller. My goal is to get it below the 800,000 mark soon. It gets smaller because I merge duplicates and delete irrelevant people, usually people who were imported years ago with names like Living Smith and no other information.

According to my surname list compiled today I have 10,251 people with the surname "?".

There are of course some people who I simply can't find the surnames of, but I am betting a good number of these ?'s are the result of me not taking the time I would take if it was a clients project to figure out who they were.

So for a good part of my Saturday, I am going to work on this list and see if I can reduce it, and find proper surnames for all the "?" surname individuals.

Anyone else care to join me on my mission to reduce the "?" genealogy out there?