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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The study began in 1978 as an offshoot from my family tree investigations. The original pupose was to collect and assess all occurences of Bootle BMD and Census entries, in oder to overcome the 'brickwall' in my male ancestor Bootle line at Ormskirk, Lancashire, around the year 1730. A second objective was to plot the spread of Bootle families from the time of the first parish registers to present day. This showed the derivation of the name from the Bootle placename near Liverpool.

Variant names

Variants in the 13th and 14th centuries were Botyll, Botylle and Bootill, but it appears that the regularisation of the Bootle placename created a stability in the spelling of the surname. None of the early variant survived in the later population lists of the UK. More recent spelling variations have not been included in the study and only the one name is registed with the Guild.

Name origin

Bootle is derived from an Old English word ' Booth' meaning dwelling. Whilst the Bootle surname is not listed in 'The Origin of English Surnames' by P.H. Reaney, the name Booth is described as of Scandinavian origin ( along with many other Lancashire placenames ).

Historical occurrences of the name

Baines ' History of lancashire and other County History Volumes describe the families of Sir Thomas Bootle, Earl of Skelmersdale, with homes in Lathom House and Ormskirk. There are family memorials still to be seen in the Ormskirk parish Church.

Name frequency

In 1978 the number of Bootle families was estimated as about 230, by laborious counting of names in each of the UK telephone directories and factoring by the number of telephone subscibers. More accurate figures for the years 1881 and 1901 are now available from online surname profilers. eg., Thes indicate a frequency of around 7 to 9 per million of the UK population.

Distribution of the name

The distribution of Bootle families at the 1881 Census is clearly shown in tablea and maps by the Stephen Archer Surname Atlas. The highest concentration is in South Lancashire, clustered around the Bootle placename in Liverpool. The highest local frequency is in Wigan ( my home town ) in 1881. I have made a detailed study of the Bootle families of Wigan, with considerable assistance by the late Joseph Bootle and Bernard Molloy, who specialise in the Catholic Church records.


I have a full collection of the Bootle entries in the BMD Index from the GRO. also the 1881 Census data set, the 1841 and 1891 Census of Lancashire. I have 'All Bootle' spreadsheets, which list BMD Census and Directory details. Outside of the UK I have a list of Bootle families, from Telephone directories and electoral registers, compiled by 'Burkes Peerage'. My family tree studies are described in 11 notebooks, which are currently being digitised into a searchable Microsoft Word document.


I am adminstrator of the Bootle Surname DNA project at FamilyTreeDNA. My Y-Chromosome DNA analysis is intended to extend my male ancestorial line study into earlier periods, before surnames. MySNP and 67-Marker + Advanced test results show me to be R1b1c9* by the current nomenclature ( soon to be called R1b2g* ) I am amongst the 17 people publicly recorded with DYS425=0 in this haplotype. My male ancestor is therefore thought to have first entered the UK via Frisia.