Ladies, do you like your surname?

Here’s another little bit of useless information that I found interesting.  It is the loss of surnames.  You probably don’t ever think about this, but it was in an article sent to me years ago by a fellow genealogy friend and I thought it was worth passing on.

Your surname may not last through time.

Only 20% of the surnames in use exist after 13 generations.  Ninety percent of all family names from the 1700s are now exterminated.  Each time two persons married a surname was lost.  This happened more often when families had many children.  In 1874, the Social Security Dept. had 1,286,556 different surnames on file, of which 448,663 were single occurrences.  I wonder what that number is today.


New Denyer Family Information

I just found out with a lot of help from a wonderful lady in England why the Denyer males in my late husband’s family had the name Freeman, either first or middle.  It made no sense to me.  I just listed it in my data base and went on to other ancestors.  Then I saw a message on my Cornwall list that Janie, in England, was from Cornwall and offered to do research there.  I couldn’t wait to contact her.  I do not have access to International resources so this was an offer I couldn’t resist.


I told her what information I had, not asking about Freeman, just looking for more info on my husband’s family.  She responded the very next day with the Freeman source. I was astonished.   The name came from my husband’s grandfather, Freeman Wm. Valentine Denyer’s grandmother, Mary Anne FREEMAN.  This wasn’t all.  She listed 3 links to information on the birth date and place of Mary Anne’s daughter, Amelia, Freeman’s mother, which I didn’t have and the misspelling of her last name.  I had Penglaze and it is Polglase which may be why I hadn’t found the information earlier.    She said the Cornwall language, including names, is often misspelled or mispronounced.


Needless to say, I was thrilled.  I emailed all the Denyers and passed on the good news.  I know my husband didn’t know, or cared, why he had that middle name, nor do my son or grandson, who have the same middle name.  To my knowledge no one in the family, now deceased, had ever questioned the source of that unusual first name.


Further research linked Mary Anne to her husband, the marriage date, her husband’s occupation, coalminer, and her parents.


I love doing genealogy and the people who pursue it.  They are, without exception, generous to a fault, and eager to share information and pictures when available.  I have made many friends in far away places in this quest and offer my help whenever asked.  It just so happens that today is my late husband’s birthday.  He would have been 86.

Freeman William Valentine Denyer b 14 Feb 1857


James Freeman Denyer 1972

Important Genealogy tip

Today’s message is for those of you who are beginning the search for your ancestors.


One important thing you must not forget to do.  When you find information or are listing what you know, make a note of where it came from.  If it’s from a book copy the title page, from a film enter the film #, from a relative, make note of the name, from an online reference, note the source.  And include the date that you got the info.  I didn’t do this when I started and later on had to try to find the source, and sometimes couldn’t.   Trust me, sometime down the road you will have to prove your information, so the source becomes important.  It only takes a second or two and you will be glad you did it.


I want everyone to enjoy the satisfaction, wonder, delight, frustration and addiction that I have.  So get started and join the addicts.


Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions.  If I don’t know the answer, I will do my best to find it for you.  Everyone helps everyone else.  So, don’t be shy.  And check out my CD for beginning genealogists.  It has valuable information you won’t find elsewhere.

Happy hunting.



New Social Security Application Restriction

For all you genealogists out there, I just heard this.  If you order a Social Security application for your ancestor in hopes of finding his parents’ names on it you will be disappointed.  The government, under the Freedom of Information Act, (FOIA), decided to extend the restriction of parents’ names to 100 years.  In other words the parents have to have died 100 years before the birth of the applicant.


This restriction was originally imposed for applicants born after 1940 to protect the identity of persons who could be still living.  The new restriction was extended without any announcement.  The cost of this application is currently $29.  So without confirmation of this restriction you could be wasting your money.


It would be wise to contact the Social Security Administration or your local office for  advice.  There was no phone number or email address listed for this office.


Social Security Administration
OEO FOIA Workgroup
300 N. Greene Street
P.O. Box 33022
Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3022