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Surname Lists and Registers

Surname lists (a.k.a. surname registers) allow you to link your name and e-mail address with those surnames you are researching. Sometimes you may indicate information about locality and time frame; other times you just list your surnames. The largest and best known of the surname lists is the Roots Surname List (RSL).

The RSL now contains over 200,000 surnames submitted by some 20,000 genealogists! Each surname is listed with associated dates and locations, and contact information for the submitter. For a list with over 200,000 names, a search engine is a must, and the folks at Rootsweb have created not one, but several RSL search sites...you can search the entire RSL, or you can search only the monthly updates. You may, of course, also submit your own information! Details are given as to formatting procedures, submitter info, etc.

What does the RSL look like? The following is a surname extract:

Stites   1595   now   ENG>LongIsland,NY>Essex,NJ>OH>MI,USA colinc
Stites   1595   now   ENG>NY>NJ>PA>MD>DE>MO>OH,USA anitak
Stites   1676   1893   LongIsland,NY>NJ>OH>PA>MI,USA rickb
Stites   1760   now   NY>NC?>TN>MO,USA eswanger
Stites   1776   1838   SummersetCo,NJ>Summerfield,NJ,USA whebil
Stites   1800   ----   DEU>LA,USA rwspahn
Stites   1803   1888   Clearfield,PA>Stephenson,IL,USA genyo
Stites   1817   1963   SCT>Basco,IL>Bernadotte,IL>Galesburg,IL,USA sirons
Stites   c1800   now   NJ,USA ath
Stites   c1860   1860   ColesCo,IL,USA babbs

The first column shows the surname, the second and third columns show a beginning and ending time period, and the last column shows migration (location) information. The last word on each line is the user codename linked to an e-mail address (it doesn't show up on this lesson) so you can contact the submitter.

There are other sites where you can submit a list of names you are researching; the most popular are the USGenWEB, CanadaGenWEB, WorldGenWEB sites. Most of the member GenWeb sites have a researcher's surname list; others just have a query section. There are too many GenWeb sites to mention here...to post a query or list your surnames (if available), check with GenWeb site featuring a location in which you are interested.

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