Ancestry.com and Surnames

Ever seen those little teasers provided by Ancestry.com, promising to tell you all about the meaning of your surname? Well, most of the information I found on my maiden name, Herrick, was interesting and potentially useful. Results show immigration and life expectancy, both of which include charts. The occupation link leads to a table from the 1880 U.S. Census, comparing the Herrick professions with the general public. The Civil War service records option gave me the number of those who served with my surname, and whether they were Union or Confederate. Of course, you could go from there to all military records. The catch is you need to be a subscriber, or in a public library in the state to get free access. Speaking of a tease, when I clicked on the family origin link, one of the places noted was “Dovrita”. There was no explanation of this…when I clicked on the name, I was taken to New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957. Any clicking beyond that was futile. This place is not defined anywhere that I could think of, including gazetteers, encyclopedias, dictionaries or even online. So I remain mystified. When you have a few extra minutes, go to www.ancestry.com and scroll to the bottom of the page for “Surname Meanings”. And if anyone can tell me about “Dovrita”, I’ll bake them a cake!

Emily Schroeder

About Emily Schroeder

Greetings to everyone who’s into genealogy! I’m Emily Schroeder, and I’ve been at Maine State Library since 1980. My latest incarnation has transformed me into the genealogy specialist, which means I get to visit other libraries and do genealogy workshops, have classes onsite, teach adult ed., write newsletters, join genealogy groups, and generally try to keep myself “in the know”. I’m hoping that through this blog we can share ideas, review resources and databases, and maybe introduce something new to readers in the genealogy field. You can always e-mail me at: emily.schroeder@maine.gov.