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Why are there so many of the same surnames? Why do some surnames go extinct? Why do we call surnames "last names?" Mr. Beat, who has a strange last name, answers these questions in this video. Oh, and Jabril helps out.
Check out his video here:
Music by Drew Gerber. Produced by Matt Beat. All images found in the public domain, used under fair use guidelines, or original content from Matt Beat.
Fair use photo credits:
Check out the book: What's in a Surname?: A Journey from Abercrombie to Zwicker
I’m Mr. Beat. Some people don’t believe me when I tell them that’s really my last name. Apparently it’s really rare. Only 422 other people living in the United States share my last name. Only 3,661 other people living in the entire world share my last name.
According to the website Forebears, not four bears, Forebears, Beat is the 111,426th most popular surname in the world. It’s most popular in Cameroon, believe it or not. By the way, surname, aka “family name” is a much more accurate way to describe it. A surname is basically the name passed down from generation to generation. It’s inaccurate to call it a “last name” everywhere because in many countries the surname is said first.
So why is my surname so rare? Hold up, the better question is why so many many people have the SAME last name. There are so many names to choose from, yet we have so many Johnsons. (I’m telling you, he should just change his surname to The Rock). Let’s look at Smith, the most popular last name in the United States. Here’s my friend Kevin Smith. No, not THAT Kevin Smith. No, not THAT Kevin Smith. No no no. Not that one! Yes, that Kevin Smith. Geez. So yeah, my friend’s name is so common that are 23 Kevin Smiths currently classified as “notable people” on Wikipedia. Odds are, there’s a Kevin Smith in the town you currently live in. Why is my friend’s name so common? First of all, Kevin was the 24th most popular boys name the year he was born, so that increased the number out there. But this video is about surnames. Smith is so common because many surnames came from what people did for a living. Smith is an occupational name, named after working with metal, and because metal work jobs historically have existed a lot of places and because the occupation has historically been so important, the name spread.
Ok, so that explains Smith, but what about Li or Gonzalez or Zhang or Nguyen or Hernandez? Huh Mr. Smarty Pants? Oops, wrong surname. I mean, huh Mr. Beat?
Well let’s take Nguyen. Between 30 to 40 percent of the entire country of Vietnam have the last name Nguyen. To put that in perspective, less than 1 percent of Americans have the last name Smith. Why Nguyen?
Well, for generations, Vietnam was just minding its own business, when China decides to be all imperialistic on them and take over. At the time of the beginning of Chinese imperialism, the Vietnamese did not have surnames. China literally gave them surnames so that it would be easier to keep track of them. They gave many of them Nguyen, a Chinese name. You saw this with other imperialist powers around the world. That’s why most Filipinos have Spanish names, for example. This can even be extended to slavery. Many African Americans have surnames from the owners of their slave ancestors. Well that’s pretty messed up. Geez.
In some cases, people changed their surnames so they wouldn’t get killed. In other cases, people changed their surname, because they weren’t particularly attached to the old one so they took the one of someone they admired. This also explains why there are so many Nguyens. Still, I feel like there is some important information missing here.
This video is a collaboration with Jabril who runs a channel called Jabrils.
He has run a simulator to demo, the effect of the evolution of last names.
And of course, has documented his progress in a video.
Be sure to check it out after you are done watching this!, I’m, Mr.
And some people don’t believe me when I tell them that’s really my last name., It's so rare, that only 422 other people living in the United States share my last name.
Other people living in the entire world share my last name.
According to the website Forebears, not four bears, Forebears, Beat is the 111,426th most popular surname in the world.
It’s most popular in Cameroon, believe it or not.
The way, surname, aka “family name” is a much more accurate way to describe it.
A surname is basically the name passed down from generation to generation.
It’s inaccurate to call it a “last name” everywhere.
Because in many countries, the surname is said, first., So.
Why is my surname so rare? Hold up.
The better question is why? So many many people have the SAME last name.
There are so many names to choose from, yet we have so many Johnsons.
(I’m telling you, he should just change his surname to The Rock).
Look at Smith.
The most popular last name in the United States.
My friend Kevin, Smith., No, not THAT, Kevin, Smith., No, not THAT, Kevin, Smith., No, no no.
Not that one! Yes, that Kevin Smith.
Geez., So yeah.
My friend’s name is so common that are 23 Kevin Smiths currently classified as “notable people” on Wikipedia.
Odds are, there’s a Kevin Smith in the town you currently live in.
Why is my friend’s name.
So common? First of all, Kevin was the 24th most popular boys name the year he was born.
So that increased the number out.
This video is about surnames.
Smith is so common because many surnames came from what people did for a living.
Smith is an occupational name, named after working with metal.
And because metal work jobs, historically, have existed a lot of places.
And because the occupation has historically been so important, the name spread.
So that explains Smith.
But what about Li or Gonzalez or, Zhang or Nguyen or Hernandez? Huh Mr.
Smarty Pants? Oops, wrong surname.
I mean, huh Mr.
Beat? Well let’s take Nguyen.
Between 30 to 40 percent of the entire country of Vietnam have the last name Nguyen.
To put that in perspective, less than 1 percent of Americans have the last name Smith.
Why Nguyen? Well, for generations, Vietnam was just minding its own business, when China decides to be all imperialistic on them and take over.
At the time of the beginning of Chinese imperialism, the Vietnamese did not have surnames.
China literally gave them surnames so that it would be easier to keep track of them.
They gave many of them Nguyen, a Chinese name.
You saw this with other imperialist powers around the world.
That’s why most Filipinos have Spanish names, for example.
This can even be extended to slavery.
Many African Americans have surnames from the owners of their slave ancestors.
Well that’s pretty messed up.
In some cases, people changed their surnames so they wouldn’t get killed.
In other cases, people changed their surname, because they weren’t particularly attached to, the old, one so they took the one of someone they admired.
This also explains why there are so many Nguyens., Still, I feel like there is some important information missing here.
We have listed three reasons why there are so many people with the same last name: 1., the common occurrence of occupational surnames, 2.
people, getting surnames forced on them through imperialism, and 3.
people simply choosing surnames to change their identity.
So far I have left out a mathematical reason why the same last names are appearing a lot more and more.
It’s explained by what’s known as the Galton-Watson process.
The Galton-Watson process comes from two dudes named Francis Galton and Henry William Watson.
They looked at probability and random variables to help explain why some surnames became extinct.
China is a great example of a place where this has happened.
There are currently around 3100 surnames in China, compared with almost 12,000 recorded in the past.
Jabril has a simulation to demonstrate this.
Here's, a little sample., Jabril:, On, initialization, We generate our nation wide population based on an actual 2017 US, consensus We.
Then take 1% of the population & use that variable to sample from the pool of last names and every citizen randomly gets assigned one of these names.
Every timestep for this sim is 1 year, So at every year, a citizen gets to do 1 of 4 actions.
Propose to a mate, which is not always successful Move to another state, which they're entire family will move with them.
If they have one Have, a child, or the last action, do absolutely nothing and again.
A lot of these possibilities are based on real-world data.
Now, let's run.
This filthy sim Mr., Beat:, For, the rest of that demonstration I will put the link below for you to check out the full video.
Ok, back to the Galton-Watson process.
According to Galton and Watson’s model, over time.
Assuming family names are passed down from father to son, like they are in many cultures.
Eventually, most of these names will become extinct.
There often are not male descendants.
Holy, crap, I only have daughters!.
What shall I do?!?, Uh, yeah., I, really, don't.
Galton-Watson process is far from perfect, as there are variables.
It ignores, like the points I brought up earlier.
Other important thing is that, prior to the 1700s.
Most people around the world didn’t even have surnames, which makes following family trees before difficult.
The, bottom line, is, the top surnames today, continue to grow, while many surnames continue to steadily disappear.
What about you, James Smith? That’s, the most common name in the United States.
And most of my viewers are American, but I guarantee you I, just freaked some James Smiths out just now So.
Where do you think YOUR, surname, ranks?, Well, I’ve posted some links below to find out how common or uncommon, your surname, is., And, a reminder that this video is a collaboration with Jabril, who runs a channel called Jabrils.
An excellent channel.
He has a video.
He posted at the same time as this one Where.
He explains a simulator.
He built to demo how last names evolve.
While you're over there, be sure to subscribe for other addictive, content.
He is a master, ok, Thank you so much for watching.
One of the most common is through the parental shared name. As with a lot of traditions, most people share their last name with their father who got their father's name upon birth. This means the scenario where you share the last name with a cousin is via your father's brother's children.Why do so many people have the same last name but not related? ›
How do unrelated people share the same last name? The more common or generic the surname – think occupations, common objects, physical characteristics, and so on – the less likely it is that the people who share it are related. Such names may have been given to people in the past without them sharing blood lines.What are the odds of someone having the same last name as you? ›
According to the 1990 US Census, the chance of two randomly selected people in the US having the same last name is 0.0697%. The chance of two randomly selected women having the same first name is 0.3098%. The chance of two randomly selected males having the same first name is 0.8080%.Why is my last name so common? ›
Family names are most commonly derived from places, occupations, and associations. The profession of a person was the most common reason for someone to have a surname, so it is no surprise to see Smith at the top of the most common last name lists in both the USA and the UK.Is everyone with the same last name somehow related? ›
Surnames in families change more frequently than most people realize. Two people can share a surname and have no biological relationship to each other. Common surnames, such as Smith and Jones, can have multiple independent founders.What is the most common last name in the world? ›
Yet there's no doubt about which surname is the most popular in the world: Wang. More than 106 million people have the surname Wang, a Mandarin term for prince or king. It's not too surprising that the top surname is Chinese, as China has the world's largest population.What are rare last names? ›
Once again, the most popular names for babies born in the United States are Liam and Olivia—Liam has topped the list for six years in a row, and Olivia has been the top choice for new parents for four years.What is the divorce rate related to keeping a maiden name? ›
Those who do not are the minority. The divorce rate related to keeping a maiden name is high. 73% of divorce cases happen due to a perceived lack of commitment. Other causes of divorce include; infidelity, financial problems, health concerns, and poor communication.Why do babies take dad's last name? ›
This is a doctrine based on the patriarchal assumption that a father's surname would deepen the family institution or provide children with more financial security later in life. Or, it is the easiest way to ensure the family name's legacy.
It's true that patrilineal baby-naming dominates in America. Researchers have found that heterosexual married couples give the baby the father's name more than 95% of the time.Why is my last name so rare? ›
There are a number of reasons why you might have a rare surname. Names linked to niche professions that no longer exist, migration, colloquialisms and even entire families being wiped out during war could contribute to your family name being less common than others. Then again, it could simply be destiny.What was Jesus last name? ›
Jesus is sometimes referred to as Jesus Christ, and some people assume that Christ is Jesus' last name. But Christ is actually a title, not a last name. So if Christ isn't a last name, what was Jesus' last name? The answer is Jesus didn't have a formal last name or surname like we do today.What is the #1 used last name? ›
Our last names are an enduring spoken tradition, and they can often tell us something important about where we came from. The most common surname in the United States is Smith. Actually, the most common surname in just about every English-speaking country is Smith.How closely is everyone related? ›
Biologists estimate that any two people on Earth share 999 out of every 1,000 DNA bases, the “letters” of the genetic code. Within the human population, all genetic variations—the inheritable differences in our physical appearance, health, and personality—add up to just 0.1 percent of about 3 billion bases.Who are we all related to? ›
Basic math tells us that all humans share ancestors. But you'll be amazed at how recently those shared ancestors lived. Thanks to genetic data in the 21st century, we're even discovering that we really are all descended from one mother.Where did slaves get their last names from? ›
If their parents were married, they would take their father's surname. When enslaved folks were sold or bequeathed through the enslaver's family, they would, in most cases, only know their mother's last name. But some would choose a new surname entirely.What is the most common girl name? ›
Have you ever wondered what the most common name in the world is? Rather you're adding a new addition to the family or just curious; a name is an identity, and its meaning is important. The most common name in the world is Wang, meaning king, and is the last name of an estimated 92.8 million people on China's mainland.
There is a list of names that are extinct. It includes Bread, Spinster, Chips, Rummage, Pussett, Temples, Wellbelove, Hatman and Bytheseashore. Know anyone with those names – hardly. Other names with just a few individuals include Fernsby, Rushlands, Berrycloth, Dankworth, Birdwhistle, Relish and Tumbler.What is the most unused names? ›
- Destry: Meaning “horse keeper” or “war horse”.
- Dakarai: This African baby name means “happiness”.
- Jetaime: Inspired by the heartwarming French phrase, this unique name means “I love you”.
- Demelza: Yep, from Poldark fame. ...
- Kailani: A stunning example of a combination name.
The longest personal name is 747 characters long, and belongs to Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff Sr. (b.What is the #1 girl name in America? ›
Here are the top girl names according to the Social Security Administration: Olivia. Emma. Charlotte.What is the #1 name? ›
The most popular baby names 2022 in the US are led by Olivia in the top spot for girls and Liam as the #1 name for boys.What do you call a married woman who keeps her maiden name? ›
“Mrs.” is the proper title for a married woman whether she has taken her spouse's last name or not. This was not always the case–you used to only use Mrs. if you were taking your husband's first and last name– but times have changed!Is it common for a wife to keep her last name? ›
Retaining identity. Among the 20% to 30% of women who don't follow tradition, the most common practice is keeping their own surname, followed by hyphenation, making a hybrid name or, even more rarely, coming up with a totally new shared name, Carr said.Who files for divorce most often? ›
Wives are the ones who most often file for divorce at 66 percent on average. That figure has soared to nearly 75 percent in some years.Why is a babies first word dad? ›
But why Dada first? When mothers are the primary attachment, babies are still quite fused to them well into their first year of life. The first separation they see from themself is to their father. Dada is usually the first person they identify outside of the mother and baby bond.Why do I call my dad by his first name? ›
Some children call their parents by their first name because a casual, friend-like relationship exists. They want a less formal relationship.
You don't even have to give the baby the last name of either parent if you don't want to, and the child doesn't have to have the father's last name to be considered "legitimate." (Learn more about the legitimacy of children born to unmarried parents.) The procedure for naming a baby is simple.How can a man tell if a child is his? ›
A DNA paternity test is nearly 100% accurate at determining whether a man is another person's biological father. DNA tests can use cheek swabs or blood tests. You must have the test done in a medical setting if you need results for legal reasons. Prenatal paternity tests can determine fatherhood during pregnancy.Whose last name does baby take if parents are not married? ›
In the United States, no federal laws govern the last name of a child born to unmarried parents. Parents are generally free to choose any last name they wish for their child.Can I give my baby whatever last name I want? ›
In California, as in many states, parents are free to give their child whatever last name they choose, including the mother's surname, father's surname or a completely different surname altogether. If an unmarried woman gives birth, she is free to make this decision by herself.Can I have no last name? ›
Nevertheless — as a person is normally called and known by something — a person will always have a name of some kind. It's possible to have a single name — that is — a first name only, and no surname (although the single name could still consist of more than one word or name).What is the rarest name in the US? ›
Drake: 494 babies born in 2021 were given the first name Drake. Edwin: This is the more common spelling of the name, as in 2021, 913 babies were named Edwin while 13 were named Edwyn. Forrest: Gump trumps Whitaker with 763 babies being given the name Forrest in 2021, while 359 have their name spelled with just one 'r'.What language did Jesus speak? ›
Aramaic is best known as the language Jesus spoke. It is a Semitic language originating in the middle Euphrates. In 800-600 BC it spread from there to Syria and Mesopotamia. The oldest preserved inscriptions are from this period and written in Old Aramaic.What was Jesus Christs middle name? ›
Jesus Harold Christ. There are other notable theories, though. The most popular competing theory is that his middle name is Harold.What was Jesus's mother's full name? ›
Mary, also called St. Mary or the Virgin Mary, (flourished beginning of the Christian era), the mother of Jesus, venerated in the Christian church since the apostolic age and a favourite subject in Western art, music, and literature.What is the 2 most popular last name? ›
Today, some people don't even have middle names, some prefer to be called by their middle name, and some never even use theirs. But just be grateful that we don't trace our lineage back with multiple cognomina like some aristocratic families used to and end up with 38 names.What are the 4 types of last names? ›
Hereditary names categories
Yet even today hereditary names tend to fall into one of four categories: patronymic (named from the father), occupational, nickname or place name.
Ten examples of prohibited baby names reportedly include King, Queen, Jesus Christ, III, Santa Claus, Majesty, Adolf Hitler, Messiah, the symbol @ and 1069. Other names that can be rejected from birth certificates are names that reference trademarked brands, according to usbirthcertificates.com.What names went extinct? ›
Yes, you definitely can. Also, if you get married one day, think of the trouble she will save by not having to change all of her IDs. Or your IDs. I have read, though, that it's bad luck for people with the same initials to marry.Why do some people use 2 last names? ›
In Spain and Spanish American countries, except Argentina, each person has two surnames. Traditionally, the first surname is paternal and comes from the father, while the second surname is maternal and comes from the mother.Can you marry someone with the same last name but not related? ›
Can a man marry a woman with the same last name? Of course they can, so long as they didn't both inherit the name from the same father. Many people have the same name. Some names are incredibly common and it doesn't mean the people with those names are actually closely related.What is the most rare surname? ›
Some couples simply keep their different surnames, while others may agree to one partner legally changing their name, but keeping their given surname for professional reasons. A less popular, but growing alternative is to create your own last name, one for the both partners to take on as their own.When you marry someone with 2 last names do you take both? ›
Every state has its own rules on what you can and can't do regarding name changes after marriage. In most states, you have the option to take your spouse's last name, hyphenate your last name, use two last names without a hyphen, or move your maiden name to your middle name and take your spouse's last name.Do cousins share the same last name? ›
Not always. If the cousins have fathers that are brothers then they will have the same surname but if they are related from a brother and sister or 2 sisters then they will have different last names unless the mothers of said cousins are not married, which in that case the cousins would have the same last name.How do Mexican surnames work? ›
Mexican names follow Spanish naming customs: [personal name(s)] [father's paternal family name] [mother's paternal family name]. For example, Hector GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (male) and Camila GUTIERREZ GARCIA (female). The 'personal name' (or 'given name') is chosen at birth as the individual's personal identifier.Why do Mexicans have 2 last names? ›
The two surnames names are ancestral, with the father's family name followed by the mother's family name. In Colombia, for example, “Ernesto Escobar Vega” uses two surnames (“Escobar Vega ”) as his legal name, with “Escobar” coming from his father and “Vega” coming from his mother.Is it illegal to marry the same last name in Korea? ›
Rules restricting marriage
In Korea, a child inherits his or her father's surname. Traditionally, men and women who have the same surnames and "ancestral homes", called dongseong dongbon (Hangul: 동성동본, Hanja: 同姓同本), are not permitted to marry.
You might be surprised by what your surname can reveal about your family's origins. Surnames provide an enormous amount of information and are fundamental in family research. Not only do they reveal the identities of your ancestors, but can also tell you details about their lives.Who is the couple with the same first and last name? ›
The couple appeared on the "Today Show" in 2009. Magic was in the air when Kelly Hildebrandt met Kelly Hildebrandt back in 2009. The two, who share both a first and last name, met on Facebook and married less than a year later.