Saturday, November 16, 2013


The high degree of areal variation of the German surname system is now being made accessible 
by the German Surname Atlas project (Deutscher Familiennamenatlas), a cooperation between 
the universities of Freiburg and Mainz under the direction of Prof. Dr. Konrad Kunze in Freiburg 
and Prof. Dr. Damaris Nübling in Mainz. The project started in 2005 and runs till now.

The database consists of all fixed network telephone lines in the Federal Republic of Germany in the year 2005 as provided by the Deutsche Telekom AG. To come up with the approximate number of people who bear a specific name one multiplies the number of telephone lines by 2.9. In Germany, telephone lines are the only comprehensive and available data basis. They are arranged by postal code districts consisting of five digits each.

They usually do not create maps with a single name on it but rather maps which combine several names with the same characteristics by using so-called regular expressions. 

By courtesy of Professor Kunze, I could generate map localizing various possible spellings of my surname(s). The surname seems to be pretty rare (13 landlines): 5 for SchocHenmAier(s), 4 for SchocHenmEier(s), 2 for SchocKenmEier(s), 1 for SchocKenmAier and 1 for SchoKenmeier. By extrapolating, we'll get about 40 persons for the whole Germany(!).

As I can see, they are mixed up, but there is only one region where all surnames' versions are to be met. The postal code district is 562XX, where lie Koblenz and Urmitz. It's interesting to discover, because one of my relatives explained that we had taken our origin near to Heilbronn.