The Basque Branch offers customized lectures, classes, and workshops

  • Salt Lake Research TripSearch 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

Photos of Basque Genealogy Series at Ontario, Oregon Basque Center





Do you know your 8 Surnames?

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:

How many ancestors do you have?

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.

Ancestral Homes

EguzkiloreaTraditional 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.