The Website That Tells You Where Your Surname Comes From

If you’ve ever been curious about where your last name comes from, wonder no longer! Forebears will tell you where your name originated, where it’s most common throughout the world and it’s past iterations.

It will even show you transliterations of your name. In Latin, I am Matt Hopakinsa, which is almost exactly what my friends call me when they’re wasted.

You can also gain some pretty interesting insights; did you know that the most common surname in the world is Wang? 76,546,675 people have it; a little factoid that could come in handy during some pub trivia, perhaps?

Australia’s most common surnames are Smith, Jones, Williams, Brown and Wilson. Smith is the 117th most popular surname in the world, I could spend hours on this page.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the data is the history of your name. To give you an idea, here’s what it says about mine.

“This surname is derived from the name of an ancestor. ‘the son of Robert,’ from nick. Hob or Hobbe, and diminutive Hob-kin; compare Watkin, Wilkin, or Tompkin. Hopkin is a sharpened form. v. Hoppe. &c.”

Then it shows you previous iterations of your name, the first of mine is “Nicholas Hobekyn, Cambridgeshire 1273. Hundred Rolls.” Makes sense, I guess, except for the Hundred Rolls part. Were my ancestors’ fiends for bread rolls? A hundred of them. That’s heaps of rolls.

We evolved from ducks.

After getting some hefty press coverage, the page crashed on Wednesday afternoon, probably when every Wang on the planet had to check that their name was really the most common, or whether they were being screwed with.

Have fun! I hope you didn’t have anything important to do today.