The "Search" function is not perfect. To find a particular surname category out of the hundreds or thousands, browsing though Category:Surnames becomes less appealing as the database grows. We have brought in the two-letter extended index to contents; but if even that is likely to produce a very long list of pages try this:

  •, then you should see a box with "Display pages with prefix:"; if (as is likely) you've seen enough "Z" categories, replace the Z by whatever initial group of letters you like and hit Enter; if the resulting list is too long for comfort, add another letter to the group in the box and try again. This search is not restricted to surnames, but a very large proportion of our categories are surnames, and along the way you may see categories of a form such as Cowan in Newfoundland which may be of great interest and which you may not have found otherwise.

(The same trick works for other namespaces - just change the final "14" to another number. We may repeat this hint in other places relating to other namespaces that produce long hitlists.)

See also Help:Surname.