Surname Toolkit

Surname Toolkit

Finding names is at the heart of genealogy. Use these resources to learn more about surnames.

Web Sites

American Name Society

Behind the Name

Cyndi’s List: Surnames, Family Associations and Family Newsletters Index

Danish Naming Traditions

Distribution of Surnames in Great Britain

German Surnames—Meanings and Origins

Italian Naming Traditions and their Ramifications

Old Irish-Gaelic Surnames

The Origin of Czech Surnames


A Dictionary of English Surnames by Percy H. Reaney (Oxford Paperback Reference)

A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames by Lars Menk (Avotaynu)

Discovering Surnames: Their Origins and Meanings by J.W. Freeman (Shire Publications)

Genealogist’s Guide to the Various Spellings of Irish Names by Michael C. O’Laughlin (Irish Genealogical Foundation)

Hispanic Surnames and Family History by Lyman D. Platt (Genealogical Publishing Co.)

The Scottish Macs in Scotland and N. Ireland by James B. Johnston (Irish Genealogical Foundation)

Scottish Surnames by David Dorward (Interlink Publishing Group)

Trace Your Roots with DNA by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner (Rodale)

 A version of this article originally appeared in the May 2008 Family Tree Magazine

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