Carolyn L. Braun (

How common are you ? It’s all in the name …

Years ago, when the internet was relatively new, I found a list of the most common names in the United States. At that time, my last name (by marriage – Braun) was relatively high on the list – meaning it was relatively common. Recently, I found an article that features a link where you can actually search by name – far easier than reading through a list of several thousand names. I immediately started searching.

According to this list, Braun is now ranked #1,102 or, in another measure, there are about 12 Brauns for every 100,000 people in the United States.  I should note that Braun is actually the german language version of Brown. Next I checked for Brown. The Brown name ranks #4 with 487 Browns per 100,000 and therefore is very common.

Next I checked the other ancestral name on the Braun side of the family – Becker. (I am just using our parents last names.) It turns out that Becker is far more common than Braun. It ranks #357 with about 30 Beckers for every 100,000 U. S. residents.

That’s a brief look at the paternal side of the family.

Next I tried my side of the family – the surnames for my parents. The names are Fadden and Olene.

Fadden – which is the Americanized version of McFadden, McFadyen, McPhaidin,  ranks #18,286  or .5 (1/2 person) Fadden for every 100,000. The name Olene is not ranked – because the search does not rank those names for which there are less than 100 occurrences. However, Olene was originally ‘Olin’ when they immigrated from Sweden but was subsequently spelled differently. A search for Olin shows that is its ranked #7950 or 1.41 for every 100,000 people.

So, with a very basic first analysis, my husband’s family surnames are far more common than those on my side of the family. However, you can also carry this to the next generation back – the grandparent’s names. At least one of those names on my side of the family – Moody – ranks #519 or 22 out of every 100,000 – and is fairly common.

Of course, you could take this even further and find similar listings for the names in their country of origin. I haven’t found those lists … yet.

If you want to have some fun you can search this list HERE.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will return.

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