I have been building my family tree on Ancestry.com for many years now. Part of this process involves researching your surname, or last name. Many people have common names, such as Smith, Jones, and White. But, there are many unique names out there, too.

My last name, Wakenight, is an excellent example of rare surnames. I was able to trace it back to Daniel Wakenight (1792 to 1866). Daniel is my great-great-great-great-grandfather, but that is where my research stopped. I was unable to find any “Wakenights” before that time or any documentation that tied Daniel to Martin.

Some family trees have hinted that our name is of German origin. They say that our ancestor, Martin Weidknecht, came to America in 1732. Most Englishmen could not speak or write German, so they wrote the name as it sounded. In other words, the name became Americanized.

This issue got me thinking about how many people have the surname, Wakenight. I wondered if there was a way to get in touch with other Wakenights. Was there a place that we could all connect to share information about the family name? I thought that there might be someone in our family who knew where our name originated.

I had an idea! On Facebook, I created a group entitled “Wakenight Family – Across the World.” I explained that the purpose of the group is to connect Wakenight relatives to others. The goal is to be able to share family information and create a link to distant relatives.

I then went to the website, AdobeSpark.com, where I created a free Facebook photograph for my group. The site is very user-friendly, merely select a picture and add text. I downloaded the file to my computer, then uploaded it to Facebook to set as my group’s cover picture.

The last process was to invite other Wakenights to join the group. On the Facebook search bar, I typed in “Wakenight.” Everyone with that last name appeared in the results column. Next, I created and sent the following message:

Hope you can check out the new Facebook group, Wakenight Family – Across the World at:


Within an hour I had received three replies from people interested in joining the group. As more people respond, our membership will increase. It comes down to “spreading the word” through Facebook.

Even though my interests are in the Wakenight surname, you can create a group of your own. Can you imagine how many members you would have if your name were Smith, Jones or White?

I hope you enjoyed this article, and it gave you some ideas on creating a group on Facebook. If you have a question or suggestion, please leave me a reply in the Comments Section of this page.