Roberts or Rabbits – Surnames that seem to Dominate an Era

There are certain family trees where surnames like Roberts are not just common; they are so numerous it becomes difficult to understand why.  It is as if some surnames are genetically linked to people who are predisposed to wanting both many children in their families and biologically intent on producing several male offspring who have the same predisposition.

I purposely forced myself to write about this before researching it further. I can understand a generation or more of people picking a specific first name, but these folks have no control over their last names. Unless someone feels intent on being disassociated from a family.

A common theme for me is eventually coming to a family surname where the population of that one family is not just large; it seems to dominate the countryside. It is hard to fathom how anyone cannot marry outside of these large families when they seem to take over a specific area between two generations that one must remind one’s self that it is likely only three generations may be alive during that time period at any given moment.

I can understand that as North America was being settled having large families was not just a novelty to embrace, but a survival instinct to the farming communities that prospered because fertility seemed at the center of their universe. One has to take into account that birth did not always mean everyone made it to maturity. Medicine was nothing like we have in our modern times.

Today someone having a large family seems the basis for a sitcom or reality-show made for television. Most people I know would consider it irresponsible to make a large family one could not sustain on one’s salary. Although that is the difference between now and then, that a great many people born today only survive because medicine allows most to persevere when illness might have claimed them before.

The topic seems as large as some of the family surnames I have come across that seem to dominate an era. I am sure there is some book out there that explains the social, economic, and genealogical reasons why some surnames were more prevalent to thrive than others.  However, from my perspective it just adds another layer of confusion on top of the documentation necessary to prove the individuals I am trying to substantiate; especially when there are two people a generation before and a generation after with the same first and last names aligned with them.

Not only does one surname seem to explode upon an era, but the lack of creativity in naming someone adds a special flavor of frustration to making one’s case for yet another “John” named after their father, grandfather and great grandfather. It reminds me of the movie called "Troy", where the narrator says, "I lived in the time of Achilles". Instead replace "Achilles" with "Roberts" for me this past few days. Please!