"Have you ever wondered about the meaning of your last name or where your family surname came from? What your ancestors did, how they looked or where they lived? Surname meanings can sometimes tell a story about your family, one handed down for hundreds of years. By tracing the possible origin of your last name, you can learn more about the medieval ancestors who first bore the surname and, ultimately, handed it down to you" from About.com
If you go to About.com there is surname & its meaning section. Unfortunately you will find a very limited list of surnames and their meanings. But if you are lucky your surname (s) may be there. I looked up all my surnames I have and not find one that was on their list. I did find where you can make a request to find out about your surname- Request a Surname Meaning - one more item on my TO DO List.
Behind the Name the etymology and history of surnames - another website to check out Surname meanings and gather more information about the origins of surnames. Again I was not too lucky.
...and yes! Ancestry.com also has a surname area (free) - Learn about the Family History of Your Surname "What's in a Name?"
"Here's some of the interesting facts you'll find about your family name:
Name meaning and history. Where your family lived and migrated in the US and the UK. Where they immigrated to and from. Life expectancy. Civil War. Occupations. You may even find others who have posted information about your family or who would like to contact you. Just enter your last name above to get started.---
I typed in my SHEERAR line in Ancestry.com. No meaning of the name listed. However, there are 462 Historical Documents & Family Trees with Sheerar 147 Census and Voter Lists 8 Immigration Records 89 Birth, Marriage, and Deaths 194 Member Family Trees and 24 Military Records. Under the Name Distribution in the states it shows 3 families were in New York and two were in Pennsylvania. I guess all three in New York are mine, I wonder about the Pennsylvania families.... more to do! The message forum shows NO threads or inquiries with the name SHEERAR, so I will start the first one.
... and there is always Wikipedia - "A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of 'family name'. In the western hemisphere, it is a commonly synonymous with 'last name' and is usually placed at the end of a person's given name. In Spain and most Hispanophone and Lusophone countries, two last names (or surname's) are used. In Hungary, along with China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and in many other East Asian countries, the family name is placed before a person's given name. The western style of having both a family name (surname) and a given name (forename or Christian name) is far from universal. In many countries it is common for ordinary people to have only one name or mononym. " (This is an extensive article, and very thorough. This is really very interesting and gives alot of fascinating information about surnames or the lack of them... and alot of history in various parts of the world on surnames. It does have an area to search on a specific surname. ...... but worth checking it out)
.............and I am sure if you "Google" surnames and their meanings you will probably find many other resources. Good Luck
posted by Sandra Gardner Benward