|Available in||English, Dutch French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish|
|Founded||20 June 2012|
|Headquarters||Bački Monoštor, Serbia|
Forebears is a genealogy website that catalogues online genealogy sources by locality, but is primarily known for its surname mapping feature. It is the 7th most visited genealogy website by visitor numbers and is based in Serbia.
The main service of the website is a facility displaying the distribution of given names and surnames, their meaning and demographic statistics relating to their bearers. Initially geospatial data was available from the 1881 United Kingdom census, showing the distribution of surnames by county. This was supplemented in April 2013, when data from the 1901 Ireland census was added. In September 2014 Forebears launched the first global surname mapping facility, covering 227 states and territories. Prior to the launch the largest mapping facility had been Public Profiler, a project headed by the University College London's Paul Longley, which covers 26 sovereign states. Since, periodic updates have been made to the facility. It currently covers 236 states and territories, over 27 million surnames and is extrapolated from a database of over 4 billion people. In 2019 data for over 28 million given names was added.
The geospatial data is provided in the form of an interactive map and table form. It shows name distribution at the continental, national and up to four levels of depth in administrative subdivisions within nations. For example distribution can be viewed within South Africa at the provincial, district and local level.
The service contains over 172,000 descriptions of surnames, in eight languages. Most are produced from third party sources, while others are submitted by website visitors or produced in-house.
In February 2019 demographic details were added for surnames and later given names. These cover four dimensions in various countries: average salary, political affiliation, religion and height.
The data is used heavily by genealogists (particularly genetic genealogists) and referenced by around 100 members of The Guild of One-Name Studies. Name distribution data from Forebears has been referenced in over 70 published academic papers. It is often cited on Twitter and 4chan in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or mass shooting in an attempt to identify the ethnicity of the suspect.
Forebears categorizes online genealogical resources in similar way to Cyndi's List. The key differentiation between the two is Cyndi's List categorises resources by region, while Forebears is more focused on locality, specifically ancient parishes in the British Isles. It primarily indexes parish records.
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