Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: 1940 U.S. Census Last Name Numbers

Time, once again, for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver!

Here is this week’s challenge, all about our family names in the 1940 census:

1)  How many people in your country had your four grandparents exact last names at birth in the 1940 U.S. Census?  [Note, if you’re playing and not in the U.S., pick an appropriate database in your country.]  What about your spouse’s grandparents last names at birth?

2)  List each last name at birth and the number of persons in the 1940 U.S. Census [or other database] using an exact surname match.  I suggest using FamilySearch because it is free, but you can use another website (the results should be the same!) if you wish.

3)  Have you performed a “one-name search” for any of those last names and added them to do family tree?
My surname numbers are all over the place!
Sabo – 10,580 people
Kucharik – 2,922 people
Scerbak – 832 people
Adams – 260,595 people
Coleman – 119, 770 people
Why five surnames? My paternal grandfather was born Kucharik, but the family socially adopted the surname of Sabo between 1910 and 1920.
Not surprisingly, my three Eastern European surnames – Sabo, Kucharik and Scerbak – have way, way smaller population numbers than my maternal surnames – Adams and Coleman – which are colonial New England.
On my husband’s side of the family, there is a much smaller range in numbers:
Stufflebean – 870
Brasher – 18,253
Sturgell – 3,919
Nation – 5,314
Again, no surprise as the Stufflebeans are few and far between. However, I also looked for STUFFLEBEAM, too, as all are descended from one common ancestor in the Palatinate area of today’s Germany.
Because both variations of the name showed 870 people, I went digging. The FamilySearch website has both Stufflebean and Stufflebeam in the same group of 870 people. I also found Stophelstreet and Stufflestreet in this same group, so the person count isn’t exactly accurate.
I have researched several of these surnames in depth. Kucharik translates to Cook and Sabo to Tailor. Not everyone with those surnames has a common ancestor, so I’ve only worked on my branch of the family.
On my husband’s side, the same can be said for the Brasher, Sturgell and Nation families, where there are many unrelated branches of the name tree.
Stufflebean, originally Stoppelbein, is the only family tree in which all known people with the name trace back to one common ancestor. By the way, Stoppelbein in German means “stubble leg.”
Thanks, Randy, this was easy and fun. I wasn’t surprised by any of my numbers.

One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: 1940 U.S. Census Last Name Numbers”

  1. I, too, found that some slight variations to the spelling were showing up in the “exact” search. I clicked on some, and it was from a researcher adding a correction, either correctly or not. Adams and Coleman are certainly common names.

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