For this challenge, I searched for two surnames: Oswalt and Oswald. Why? Well, when doing my research into my Oswalt ancestors, I frequently find their last name spelled both ways (and a few others, as well), and since my last name still gets misspelled, it is not that hard for me to remember. I suspect, but don't have definite proof, that the Oswalt and Oswald surnames have a similar origin. So, to get an idea where the Oswalt/Oswald surname might be distributed around the world, I did two searches. (I do not know how to do save a screen shot, so I'm going to have to present the information verbally.)
When I typed in the results for Oswalt, the countries with the highest distribution were:
For the Oswald surname, the countries with the highest distribution results were:
In the United States, the Oswalt surname was distributed the most primarily among these states (i.e., the darkest colored states. Most of the states were a turquoise color) :
In the United States, the Oswald surname was distributed the most primarily among these states:
Again, like for the Oswalt surname, many of the states in the U. S. were a turquoise color.
I then decided to search for the distribution of each surname in the state of Michigan. For the Oswalt surname, the highest distribution (turquoise colored) of the surname were in these counties in no particular numerical order:
For the Oswald surname, the highest distribution (dark blue colored) of the surname were in these Michigan counties (again, in alphabetical order):
Many more counties were colored in a turquoise or green color, especially the highest counties listed for the Oswalt surname.
So, as you can see, the possibility that that the two surnames might have the same origin is possible when one looks at the European countries where the surnames were distributed. Both surnames appear to be distributed similarly as well, and it wouldn't surprise me if there was a common origin. I suspect, though, that there are several Oswalt/Oswald branches in the United States, and that any common origin might be several centuries in the past. Of course, I could be wrong, but only further research will be able to determine if this is case. At the same time, researchers have to be careful not to rely only on one surname distribution map, and there is still the possibility that both surnames have unique origins.
So, what do you think? Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
32nd Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy - Coming Soon Looking For My German Ancestors, Part 11 - Coming Soon More on my WW1 Veteran Ancestors- Veteran's Day ? Genealogy and History Thoughts Columns 20, 21 and 22 - ? Irene Havens, Part 7 - ? Trippstadt, Germany death records, Part Two - ?