Genealogy information abounds for free via Google and other search engines, and I have made some great discoveries searching there. So genealogists have a lot out there for free that they can make use of easily.
American family names
To check further into the origins and different spellings of your surname, see “Dictionary of American Family Names” by Patrick Hanks. This three-volume set was published in 2003 by Oxford University Press and is fairly expensive, so it’s not found in most genealogy collections. In the metro Atlanta area, it’s at the Woodruff Library at Emory University, the Kenan Research Center Library at the Atlanta History Center, and at Georgia State University. Check worldcat.org for other locations. It is the source for name origins and surname spelling variations on ancestry.com.
Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or gagensociety.org.