The Forebears.io website was launched in June of 2012. I remember coming across it a couple of times in my searches and I am sure through other blog posts. I was trying to find a tool that was similar to the one FamilySearch uses in their Family Discovery Centers.
Although similar, it is not the same as what is used in the centers but I thought for my purpose it would show interesting information about surnames. Forebears also links users to other resources of information they may be looking for.
After a quick search of my surname Forebears shows me how common my name is in the world and approximately how many people in the world have my name.
I also appreciate the maps that show places in the world where my name is found the most. You can also change the time period that the map represents.
The maps are also interactive an allow you to drill down for more information. The above map shows where Trotters can be most easily found.
Drilling deeper I can see where in Utah my name is most common.
I also looked in Louisiana where my surname line is at a brick wall. The Parishes in the toe of the boot are where my ancestors once lived.
The Trotter surname is also common in northern England and Southern Scotland.
One of my branches in Louisiana is the surname Facundus. When I look at the map the only place in the United States where there is a cluster of these names in in the same place my ancestors lived. In this way this tool could be very valuable as in research and giving you educated guesses where else you might find information.