There are a great many consideration relevant to surname research when you first begin looking at the wider picture of surnames or looking specifically at a particular surname.
The image above is from my presentation Pursuing Surnames. It does look quite faint, but beneath the image I list the various elements. We talk about some of these in the new Pharos Course, Researching Ancestors in Continental Europe (750). You can download a clearer image HERE. The relevance to your surname will vary depending on the origins of the surname.
- Foundlings and illegitimacy
- Naming conventions – Given name and surnames (Iberian Countries)
- Religion practiced
- History of the Country
- Connections to other European Countries and European Empires
Individuals might take name of another family member, a step father or an alias. Or there might be influences of other factors, such as a Detto in the case of Italian surnames. The alphabet is also potentially different. In Italy, there are fewer letter and the letters of I and J are interchangeable, but how interchangeable? Below is the surname distribution maps for both SAIA and SAJA surnames, created with Gens.info – You can see the most common surname of the two, why is that?