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.

 

Magnificent Obsession

MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION

I have been searching for my ancestors for almost 20 years. I wish I had started before then. People who do not seek their heritage wonder why those who do are so intent on their search. I never wonder why I do it. The search is compelling. Why did my ancestors live where they lived? What happened to them? Were they famous? Am I related to Royalty? In my case, no. At least I haven’t found any Royalty in my family. But I did find a multitude of Royals in my granddaughter-in-law’s ancestors when I did her family tree. She has a rich heritage to pass on to her son as he grows.

But what is it that lures us into the past, years beyond years, wishing we could be there, wishing we could talk to them, wishing we could ask questions? We are haunted by our ancestors. They are in our souls. We want to know more, plain and simple.

I just recently discovered why my late husband’s middle name was Freeman. His father did not have that name, but his grandfather did. It turns out that his great-great grandmother’s name was Mary Anne Freeman. She lived in Deptford, England and her father was James Freeman, the same as my husband’s first and middle names. Now I wish that I had learned this many years ago when I visited England. I was within driving distance to Deptford and could have seen their homeland.

The question is what will happen to my research when I die. Who will continue the search and record all the links? Will anyone else in the family care as much as I do? Probably not.

However, if they pursue it or not, I have benefited from and enjoyed the search and the discoveries I have made. I have connected with my ancestors and felt their joys and sorrows. I just wish I had the time, money and energy to continue the travel to other places and possibly find more of them.

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

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