A common goal for many family researchers is to find out where an immigrant ancestor came from. It is usually easy to discover what country someone was from, but pinpointing the county, town or city of origin can be challenging. To help narrow down the possibilities there are some surname mapping tools on the Internet. When using these sites, you should keep in mind that there is the chance that your ancestor did not live in a place where his/her surname was common. Also, some databases obtain their information from modern telephone listings, not historical directories. However, my experience leads me to believe that most European families remain in a geographic area for generations, so the information can still be helpful. Below is a list of some surname mapping sites:
An online surname tool that plots 330 million surnames in 26 countries, showing the origins of the names and where families have moved to. It is a free website, but you do have register with providing an email address.
Germany and Austria
This Maps out both German and Austrian surnames by using telephone directories.
This gives the number and location of households of a surname in Ireland during the time period of 1848-64.
A surname database that shows the areas of Italy where a surname is found. The information comes from Italian phone directories.
Maps show where in the current Czech Republic a surname appears.
A cross-sectional map will show you the distribution of a surname in Poland.
L’encyclopedie des noms de Familles