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  • Most common names is useless

    My most common names are.....drumroll....wait for it....Smith, Murphy and O'Connor. A rogues gallery. Not terribly enlightening in my case.
    Why not expand the display to show the most common names after one hits the ICW button? Now that would be usefull.

  • #2
    Originally posted by nagten View Post
    [----] Why not expand the display to show the most common names after one hits the ICW button? Now that would be usefull.
    Yes, it could be dynamic (and thus more useful ).

    Also it could be made selectable. Let's say Smith is the most popular family name for someone, let her or him click on it and see all the Smiths, etc.

    Mr W

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nagten View Post
      My most common names are.....drumroll....wait for it....Smith, Murphy and O'Connor. A rogues gallery. Not terribly enlightening in my case. [----]
      If I got Smith, Murphy and O'Connor that would be extremely interesting !

      My most common names are not really useful anyway, as it just happened that I have got
      • members of my project (=my own family name);
      • members of some family who clearly went for phasing or chromosome mapping, as these are parents with many children and a grandchild;
      • members of an extremely privacy conscious family, as they hide everybody under just a single later in lieu of the family name (and of course no first name...).

      Mr W

      P.S.
      Except for my own family, the other two are very, very distant, but numerous matches.
      Last edited by dna; 30 December 2015, 12:54 AM.

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      • #4
        Well if your ancestors names have more consonants than vowels we could related on my Welsh side. I'm a proud Diddums. Apologies to Don Westlake.

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        • #5
          Mine are Johnson, Jones, and Williams. I've got a fairly extensive tree and the only one I have is Jones as a distant ancestor but with Welsh ancestry, I think Jones was more or less a given. My grandfather, from whom I got the confirmed Welsh ancestry from, doesn't actually have Jones listed though. His three are Smith, Johnson, and Miller.

          I'm managing my 100% Polish mother-in-law's account and her three are Johnson, Campbell, and Hernandez. Huh? Ya, not really helpful. 23andme's surname view gives her top 3 as Neumann, Braun, and Becker which I assume are German? Getting warmer...

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          • #6
            My 16 great-great-grandparents were Ashkenazic Jews. My family's top 3 "Most Common Surnames" as of today are:
            Mine: Cohen, Miller, Goldberg
            My mom's: Miller, Cohen, Smith
            My dad's: Cohen, Friedman, Miller

            No, not very illuminating, but that's okay.

            I believe I saw Levy or Levine in my dad's top 3 list a few months ago, and Epstein in my mom's, if I remember correctly.

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            • #7
              Common names and ethnicity

              The most common names feature can point towards a solid ancestral ethnic group or related groups. Example: Scandinavian. The common names among my matches: Brown, Smith, ERIKSSON. My dad: JENSEN, Baker, Wright. My mom: Brown, Smith, JOHANSSON. My dad's maternal grandmother was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants; my mom's paternal grandmother immigrated from Sweden.

              Now, usefulness of the ancestral names, as far as finding them in the family tree: Results from 23 and Me are much better. Example for my dad and me: Brazeau. We are descendants of the Brazeau family of Quebec, many of whom came to the American Midwest. For my mom: offhand, two common names I remember include West and Churchill (ancestral names of her mother).

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              • #8
                What surnames point toward

                I just checked 23 and Me. The results change slightly over time. Another common name I noticed for my mom's matches is Farmer. My mother is a descendant of the Farmer family, through her father. (My mother is 88 years old, her sister, 90.) I believe one of my matches and I have Farmer family 5th great-grandparents who were brother and sister.

                These common names on 23 an Me I've mentioned are not always the first on our list.

                If I just use the search feature I find even more related names. Example for my mother and me: Houston. These matches (no matter what DNA company results) are virtually always southern U.S. colonial descendants, usually through the Virginia colony. My mother's great-grandmother was a Houston and also a descendant of the Farmer family. I can remember my first results from FTDNA included a Houston fellow. He remains one of my closest matches.
                Last edited by mixedkid; 31 December 2015, 01:55 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dna View Post
                  Yes, it could be dynamic (and thus more useful ).
                  At some point after they introduced the Most Common Surnames thing, I noticed it was dynamic. It was like that only for a one day or so. I guess it caused too much load on their database server.

                  I am all Finnish and my top three match surnames are Smith (from USA), Andersson (Sweden and Åland) and Lahti (Finland and USA).

                  OK, Smith... Many Americans have some Finnish roots, although they often do not know it. It may be even as early as via New Sweden colony.

                  Andersson was not originally a surname, but a patronymic, and Anders was a very common given name in Sweden, before surnames were taken into use there. Finland and Sweden are close neighbors, so no surprise here.

                  From my point of view, Lahti is a pretty random Finnish surname. Actually, if a same single person would not have two accounts (FTDNA and transferred) there would be other equal surnames (like Johnson and the most common Finnish surname, Korhonen).

                  My verdict for the Most Common Surnames feature is that it is next to useless.

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                  • #10
                    Most Common Surname

                    I have Smith, Wilson, and Thompson; my full brother has Smith, Taylor, and Johnson. We have a common surname, and it's not any of those. My great grandmother was a Thompson, but other than that none of those surnames are in my first 5 generations. Not very helpful, especially Smith.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 192971 View Post
                      At some point after they introduced the Most Common Surnames thing, I noticed it was dynamic. It was like that only for a one day or so. I guess it caused too much load on their database server.

                      I am all Finnish and my top three match surnames are Smith (from USA), Andersson (Sweden and Åland) and Lahti (Finland and USA).

                      OK, Smith... Many Americans have some Finnish roots, although they often do not know it. It may be even as early as via New Sweden colony.

                      Andersson was not originally a surname, but a patronymic, and Anders was a very common given name in Sweden, before surnames were taken into use there. Finland and Sweden are close neighbors, so no surprise here.

                      From my point of view, Lahti is a pretty random Finnish surname. Actually, if a same single person would not have two accounts (FTDNA and transferred) there would be other equal surnames (like Johnson and the most common Finnish surname, Korhonen).

                      My verdict for the Most Common Surnames feature is that it is next to useless.
                      My most common surnames are Smith, Williams and Jones. Very common on many trees and not related to me.

                      I found your post interesting as I have an Anders (the Finn) who arrived in 1643 or so in New Sweden. Died there in 1673.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by keigh View Post
                        I found your post interesting as I have an Anders (the Finn) who arrived in 1643 or so in New Sweden. Died there in 1673.
                        I googled that ancestor of yours and find out that his children got Cock (Cox) as their surname. I found 10 American FF matches who have Cox in their surname list. At least some of them are due to an English immigrant, however, and some have more recent Finnish ancestors, but still I believe there is a signal. Around 30 cM Shared cM value seem to be normal for these matches, telling that the relatedness is really remote, as it should, if it is really via the Forest Finns of Sweden and then New Sweden colony.

                        Do you have any Finnish FF matches? Matches with Cox in their surname list you surely must have, but connecting them to Finnish matches would be nice, right?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 192971 View Post
                          I googled that ancestor of yours and find out that his children got Cock (Cox) as their surname. I found 10 American FF matches who have Cox in their surname list. At least some of them are due to an English immigrant, however, and some have more recent Finnish ancestors, but still I believe there is a signal. Around 30 cM Shared cM value seem to be normal for these matches, telling that the relatedness is really remote, as it should, if it is really via the Forest Finns of Sweden and then New Sweden colony.

                          Do you have any Finnish FF matches? Matches with Cox in their surname list you surely must have, but connecting them to Finnish matches would be nice, right?
                          Not sure how to find matches from Finland exactly, especially since my known match to someone from Finland/Sweden goes so far back. Anders daughter, Anna Andersdotter, married a Swede who came over in 1648, Nils Larsson. Nils ended up with the surname of Frande, which then became Friend. I followed a paper trail back through the Friends to Nils and his father in law, Anders.

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                          • #14
                            Even more useless because so many women are listed with husbands' surnames. Smith is my match list's "most common surname". Of the 12 Smith matches seven are women with a different birth name. If they're determined to waste that space they should count by state or country address.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by keigh View Post
                              Not sure how to find matches from Finland exactly, especially since my known match to someone from Finland/Sweden goes so far back.
                              Besides the obvious search with country name(s), you could do an Ancestral Surname search for very often used Finnish surname endings -inen, -anen, -onen, -unen, -änen or -önen (copy from here). Also -ää- or -äi- in any part of surname or place name should be good marker of Finnish ancestry of a match.

                              Order the resulted lists by Shared cM, in ascending order, so the most distant matches come first. Look especially for matches below 45 cM.

                              A found match may actually be Swedish, or even better, Norwegian (Finnish ancestor names via Forest Finns, probably). Swedish matches will probably have many ancestor surnames ending with -sson, but such names occur in Finland and Norway, too.

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