There’s something really difficult about asking your parents about their lives. Like trying to find out who they were or what they were into when they were your age. Or why you don’t share that many physical similarities. Or why you’ve got ‘ADOPTED’ tattooed on your forearm. All really difficult questions to ask. One of the questions that’s also rather difficult, is where does your last name come from? That’s mainly because no one really knows. Your last name, more often than not, can only be tracked back a few generations before it gets messy. More than that, though, is the fact that families are really complex, so people lose ties. So it’s a good thing that sites like ForeBears exist.
Umm, Where’s That?
It’s not a perfect website by any means, but it does offer you a chance to identify where in the world your last name originates, and where it is in the highest density. And, all for free. So, in the name of research, I decided to run my last name through the database to understand more about my family history.
The first thing you see when you search your last name is that it looks for the exact match of the name, as well as any variations. In the case of my last name, ‘Salha’, there are exact matches to be found. Apparently there are 23,401 incidences of my last name in the world, and it’s most prevalent in Niger. Which is a big surprise! Am I actually from Niger? Where the hell is Niger? In terms of density of the surname it all leads back to Lebanon, the country I actually call home.
When you click onto the next page you can take a look at a table which breaks down the incidences of your last name across all countries. There’s also a handy map so you can finally figure out where Uzbekistan is. Handy. Shout out to my Malaysian relatives! If I book a flight to KL can I stay with you guys? Come on, we’re all Salhas!
To keep the non-stop fun going, we also tried to locate where the Simpsons are from. No surprise that the highest prevalence is in the USA, but the highest density appears to be Jamaica. We always knew Homer was a rasta! Actually, the name originates in England and refers to the son of Simon. You can read more here.
So, give it a go, and let us know if you uncover something strange. We’re going to go ask our parents about our actual family history. Why are there so many Salhas in Niger?
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