- Step 1: Count the letters Count the letters in the surname. If the name is less than 4 letters, like Wu or Li, it may be of Chinese origin.
- Step 2: Look at the ending Look at the ending. If the name ends in "-icz" or "-ski" the name is most likely Polish.
- TIP: If the name is also the name of a city or landmark in a country, like Ashby named after Ashby Castle, then that is probably the country of origin.
- Step 3: Look at the beginning Look at the beginning of the name. Most Irish surnames start with "Mc" or "O'" like McCauley and O'Brien.
- Step 4: Check for a vowel Check for a vowel on the end of the name. Most Italian surnames end in a vowel.
- Step 5: See if there is a "-berg" See if there is a "-berg" or "-berger" at the end of the name. These names, like Niederberger, are of German origin. Now get investigating!
- FACT: As of the 2000 census, Smith was the most popular surname in America.
You Will Need
- Surname to investigate
- Spelling and counting skills