Geogen Surname Mapping is a website created by Christoph Stöpel that graphically displays the current geographical distribution of surnames in Germany based on telephone book data. This tool may help in identifying the origins of a particular surname or in locating living relations in the old country.
I entered a few of my German surnames to see if there were still individuals living in Germany with those names. “Bernthal” and its German forms of “Bärenthal” and “Baerenthal” did not produce any hits. “Berenthal,” perhaps another variant form, did return ten entries; however, none were located near our family’s origins in Bärenthal, Tuttlingen, Baden-Württemberg and Roßtal, Fürth, Bavaria.
“Veitengruber,” another family surname, was more successful returning 92 entries. The largest concentration was in Landkreis Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen, Bavaria with twenty-two phonebook listings. Interestingly, this is the area from where my second great-grandmother and her family originated.
The Geogen website can be visited here: Geogen Surname Mapping.