Video about Surname Extinction

+10 votes

As the childless only son of an only son, I found this interesting:

A female friend of mine had two daughters, and her husband wanted another child in hopes of producing a son.  He said he didn't want the family name to die out.  My friend gently reminded her husband that his name was Sanchez.  laugh

in The Tree House by Living Tardy G2G6 Pilot (776k points)

2 Answers

+6 votes
Thanks Herbert,

I vaguely remember reading an article claiming that on a small isolated island, eventually everyone would have the same surname,  but this video provides more insight into the concept.    My husband is named Sneegas..... we certainly didn't do our part in preserving the name and his only brother had one son who only had daughters..... Oh well,  no one can ever pronounce it anyway.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (477k points)
edited by Peggy McReynolds
In countries where surnames have been used for over a thousand years, such as China and Korea, one can already see that many surnames have died out. In China, something like 200 surnames account for 97% of the population. In Korea, it's even more extreme -- 3 surnames make up 50% of the population. In Thailand, where surnames only became mandatory a hundred years ago, most families have unique surnames. I asked a couple Thai people, and they confirmed that if they encounter anyone with their same surname, that person is virtually certain to be a close cousin (say, third cousins or closer).

Anyway, YDNA way predates surnames. It's all arbitrary anyway.
Sweden should be like Thailand, then, since we abandoned the patronymic system only about 100-150 years ago.

However, there seems to be a difference in that the same surname was adopted by people independently in many different places, so you are a lot less likely to be cousins, even if you have the same surname. This goes not only for the -son names (frozen patronymics) but also for common names like Brodin or Lindström (and all those nature-based Swedish surnames). Even a fairly uncommon name like my own Ekeblad was adopted independently by about ten different families in the second half of the 19th century.
Interesting....... do you have any insight into why your family adopted the name Ekeblad?   Has your genealogy research uncovered what the name was before?
Oh, Peggy, before that it was just patronymics. We kept them that long in Sweden. Before my great grandfather Johannes Pettersson, who adopted the surname Ekeblad, it was Petter Andreasson, son of Andreas Svensson, son of Sven Persson, son of Per Larsson, son of Lars Svensson, son of Sven Larsson (born about 1655) - that's the male line, but most of my tree is like that, except for the smiths and charcoal makers who tended to have family names at an early time.

Three of five brothers Pettersson surviving to adult age left the family farm in Eklanda to become teachers (or salesmen) - they jointly adopted the name Ekeblad as an association with theit village of origin. And, I suspect, as a tongue-in-cheek to the expired noble family of the same name - there was a brief window in time when names of expired noble families were not as strongly protected as earlier and later.

So, as a Swedish genealogist I'm somehow not expecting family names to last forever and ever - but I also find the notion of family names going extinct somewhat alien. They can be picked up again. The rules at present in Sweden are fairly severe, but people do change surnames. And invent new ones (that have to pass the tests).
+5 votes
While it’s not likely that the Shepherd/Sheppard name (universally) will die out anytime soon, in my family of cousins there were lots of Shepherd/Sheppard sons to start out, but after about four generations it will except for one cousin in Texas who had a son. All of my first cousins had daughters, excepting the Texas cousin,  and so did I. Among my second cousins, all of those lines end in daughters. The carrying on of my great-grandfather’s surname depends solely on one individual of his many descendants.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)

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