A listener asked if there is a good way to find all of the surname variants. I was interested in this question as well, since I’m always adding to my own personal list, and I was curious as to whether or not my list was getting close to being complete (…is “complete” actually a word in the geneaverse?).
Geoff Rasmussen was the person who came up with two brilliant tips. The first is at www.mytrees.com. Just under “Find YOUR ancestors NOW!” and above the entry boxes for first name and last name is a link for “Name Variants.” A box will pop open and all you have to do is enter in the surname of interest. Easy peasy.
I typed in Cottrell and I was shocked to find how incomplete my own list is. If you really want to see a long list, try typing in Cole. I’m not sure how I’ll manage to incorporate all of these into my full-scale research efforts, but I’m going to try.
The second tool is at Family Search Labs. To get there you go to the main labs.familysearch.org page, scroll down the page and click on Standard Finder. Click on the Name tab and enter the name of interest. There is even a drop down box in which you can choose locales of interest. I’d recommend checking all of those different locales, since in my case some provided more variants than others.
These are two great tools to add to the genealogy research toolbox!!
What surnames are you researching? Are you surprised by how many variants come up — or how few (you lucky dog, you)?