surname search
Image from Wikipedia

I recently found this article from Vice’s Motherboard site about a website called Forebears. Forebears is a resource for people to search for genealogical records. It is essentially an aggregate site for documents and records from various other sites with some noteworthy features.

On the homepage, there is a search bar where one can look for a range of records on births, marriages, deaths, wills, and more by the town, region or country where the record was made. The site will list a few relevant results that will redirect to another website where the appropriate database can be searched to complete the query. For example, if I want to look at marriage records in Massachusetts I will get a list of relevant records. I can select the Massachusetts Marriage Index from 1901-1970, and I will be redirected to Ancestry.com where that particular database lives.

Another feature of the site, and the one that interested me the most, is the surname search function. Just type in your family name and Forebears will show you on a heatmap of where people with your same last name live on the globe. Some of the statistics that the site includes are the global popularity of the surname, the country with the most people with that surname, and the country with the highest density of people with that surname. My family name, Soroker, is most prevalent in Israel followed by the United States and Russia. This isn’t surprising, since my father was born in the USSR and immigrated to Israel with his family when he was a child. Still, it’s a fun tool that shows where you may have distant relatives you didn’t know about or where there are people that just share the last name as you.

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