The Basque Branch offers customized lectures, classes, and workshops
- Search techniques and tips
- Reading Old-World documents (paleography)
- Deciphering foreign-language documents
- Heraldry: blazons and composition
- Finding ancestral homes from your home
- Mapping tools
We also offer reserch trips to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City
In the Basque Country many people can recite their 8 surnames by heart. Your 8 surnames are those derived from 3 generations of your family tree (not including yourself.)
To figure out yours, supply the surnames for the following people in your family:
1. Father's father:
2. Mother's father:
3. Father's mother:
4. Mother's mother:
5. Father's father's mother:
6. Mother's father's mother:
7. Father's mother'smother:
8. Mother's mother's mother:
If you go back just 10 generations, you will find up to 1,022 ancestors from whom you have received DNA and who have passed on a possible 512 surnames.
In many cases, though, because of marriages between distant (and sometimes not-so-distant) cousins, we experience what is known as pedigree collapse, This means that our actual number of different ancestors may actually be fewer than expected in a given number of generations.
Traditional Basque homes or baserriak were often named after an identifying characteristic.
Often this was location. "in front of the bridge" Zubiaur, or " The high house" Goikoetxea, etc.
When the use of surnames became commonplace, the inhabitants of a baserri took the house name as their surname. In later centuries that surname was inherited regardless of where one lived.
Because of the traditional inheritance system, most descendants of a given surname lived in houses other than their ancestral baserria.
By tracing your family lines you can discover the cradle of your family names.