The aim of this empirical study is to present and analyze the most frequent family names of two remote areas in Switzerland: the Entlebuch in Lucerne and Frutigen in Berne. On the one hand I present a general methodology of how typical surnames can be investigated. On the other hand I exemplify this methodology with the data of the aforementioned areas. The surnames are analyzed with respect to their etymology, the frequency of semantic types, their phonology and spelling as well as name formation. One of the sources of data is the fixed network telephone lines from 2002. A second source that provides a diachronic perspective is the so called Familiennamenbuch (book of family names) of Switzerland. It alphabetically lists surnames with citizenship in Switzerland, naming the communities and the year resp. the century in which the citizenship was granted. Information of both sources mapped together can show centers, “nests”, historical growth and geographical distribution of surnames. I found that the frequency of the five semantic types corresponds with the sociological conditions of rural areas: names based on the place of residence, patronyms and nicknames are the most frequent ones. The surnames reflect Alemannic phonology and spelling. The formation of the surnames shows common German patterns next to specific upper German respectively Alemannic ones.