Last night my wife and I went to Pittsburgh to visit a friend from our church in the hospital in Pittsburgh. She seldom gets to go with me, so afterward we got some dinner and then went to the Carnegie Public Library (main facility). As is my usual practice in the few times I’ve been there, I headed to the third floor’s PA/genealogical room where I then just browsed titles (and their index sections) for common names on our family tree.
I discovered this book Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700 compiled by Frank R. Holmes (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore) apparently published in 1923 and then reprinted in 1989.
Page after page is filled with alphabetical entries of last names and then, if known, the origin of that name, and the earliest American people in New England with that name.
page, FAMILY HEADING
name origin (any foreign words are italicized)
earliest family members with that name
For instance, my own MIX family is listed thus:
p. clxv (165), MIX/MEEKS
From mixe, an ancient territory of France.
THOMAS, resident of New Haven, Conn., 1643.
WILLIAM, brother of preceding, at New Haven, Conn., before 1650.
I have known about Thomas for almost three decades and discovered William about 10 years later. But in the 40 years I’ve been listening, gathering, researching, and reading about the various branches, I have NEVER run across a resource that went into the origin of the different family names! I LOVE this book!
I looked up (via google) the Mixe area in France and it apparently was on the western coast towards the Pyrenees and Spain. That’s all I have for now, I hope to someday unravel this British family with a French based name that immigrated to the New Haven colony 375 years ago. But meanwhile, over the course of several posts, I’ll share what I gleaned about the few families I got to follow in the half hour I had access to this amazing book.