Unusual Surnames in the Family Tree

Smith? Jones? Williams? Adams? Miller? There are plenty of those to go around in everyone’s family tree. Finding records pertaining to “your” Williams bunch can literally be like finding a needle in a haystack. I know, as I’ve spent over twenty years searching out my husband’s Williams family.

On the other hand, it can be just as difficult finding records about family members with more unusual surnames because of the exact opposite problem – fewer people leave fewer records. The plus side here is that when you do find such a record, odds are good that it pertains to your own family in some way.

One of the best ploys to discover distant cousins in the rare surname category is to share information online, so here are the  most unusual surnames to be found in the Sabo-Adams and Stufflebean-Sturgell family trees, with the earliest known ancestor and place of residence:

ASTLE – Loyalist James Astle of Schenectady, NY and Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada and Loyalist James Astle of New Carlisle, Quebec, Canada. DNA testing shows the two were related, but we don’t know how. No records for the second James have been found in the colonies, but he was born about 1753 and served as a British soldier from 1771-1783. The first James married in 1776. The Astle name is pretty much non-existent in colonial  America except for these men.

DULWORTH – John Dulworth, born in the 1760’s, likely in Germany, and married in Knox County, Tennessee. He died before 1820, probably in Cumberland County, Tennessee. Aliens dropped him off in the middle of Tennessee by 1794.

HALUSKA – Andrew Haluska, born about 1787, probably in Ruska Nova Ves, Slovakia.

KACSENYAK – John Kacsenyak, born about 1798, married in 1824 in Vysna Sebastova, Slovakia.

PATORAI/PATORAY – This name is almost unique to Udol, Slovakia even in European records. Andrew Patorai, born about 1780.

SAYWARD – Henry Sayward died about 1679 probably in York, Maine

SCRIPTURE – Samuel Scripture, born about 1650, Groton, Massachusetts. Most of the Scriptures in the U.S. appear to be descended from Samuel.

STUFFLEBEAN/STOPPELBEIN – Hans Valentin Stoppelbein, born 1634, Langenlonsheim, Germany. Most Stufflebeans in the U.S. today are descended from John Stufflebean, the Revolutionary War pensioner. Stufflebeam is a variant of the name.

TARBOX – John Tarbox of Ippollitts, Hertfordshire, England and Lynn, Massachusetts, where he died in 1674. As with the Scriptures, the Tarboxes in the U.S. all appear to be descendants of this one man.

WOOSLEY – Thomas Woosley died about 1795 in Halifax County, Virginia. Although many have tried to make the Owsley family one and the same, the Woosley family is a different family. I would love to learn more about Thomas’s origins.

What rare or unusual surnames are found in your family tree?

I am always looking for new cousins. If you are related to any of these families, please leave a comment.


3 thoughts on “Unusual Surnames in the Family Tree”

  1. Whenever I’m trying out a new database and want to narrow down results, I use my grandmother’s maiden name Adsit. I believe that they all descend from one 17th century immigrant to Connecticut.

  2. what an interesting variety of names!! I’m half Polish – maiden name Basinski, but also have Ratowska, Maslowska, and Tomicka (feminine versions of Ratowski, Maslowski, and Tomicki)…but even on my English side I have Spong, Ferdinando, Perryman, and Flower (some are collateral names)…but I also have some Smiths, Taylors, and Coxes…

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