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About the study

The Dangerfield surname can be found in most English speaking countries of the world. Its roots are in England where it is a moderately rare surname. The name is thought to be Norman in origin and is likely derived from the place name Angerville.

Variant names

The spelling of modern day surnames must be viewed as the result of a process of evolutionary change. Filtered thru language, dialect, transcription and interpretation, names would often change to such a degree as to be almost unrecognizable when compared with their historical antecedents. The Dangerfield surname illustrates this point. The 13th century spelling was most often represented as De Angervil(le). By the 14th and 15th century the preposition had become fused and the spelling was frequently expressed as Daungervil. By the 16th century Daungervil had become Daungerfield. With the introduction of Parish records (1538) the spelling appeared in its modern form, Dangerfield. Transcriptions would occasionally add an "€œe"€ to the end, or invert the i and the e, but these variations were not consistently expressed, and likely represent transcription errors.

The first IGI record of the Daingerfield variant can be found in 1564 in Thornbury Gloucestershire. Evidence of the variant taking hold begins in 1601 with the birth of RICHARD DAINGERFIELD in Kings Stanley Gloucestershire. Between 1601 and 1650 39 occurrences of the Daingerfield variant can be found in England of which 25 areto be found in Kings Stanly and neighboring Leonard Stanley. The remaining four occur in Thornbury. By the late 19th century this variant had disappeared in England but is still to be found in America where it appeared in Virginia as early as the 17th century.

Name origin

There would appear to be consensus within the literature concerning the origin of the Dangerfield surname. William Arthur suggests the surname is:

'French, A corruption of D'Angerville, that is, from Angerville, a town in the province of Orleans, France.'€

In a similar vein the Dictionary of American Family Names describes the origin as:

'English (of Norman origin): habitational name, with fused preposition d(e), for someone from any of the various places in northern France called Angerville, from the Old Norse personal name Ásgeirr (from áss '€˜god'€™ + geirr '€˜spear'€™) + Old French ville '€˜settlement'€™, '€˜village'€™. In England the surname is now found chiefly in the West Midlands.'€

Name frequency

The 1881 census for England and Wales lists 847 individuals with the surname while the 1901 census totals 948 individuals.

Distribution of the name

The distribution of the surname appears in most English speaking countries including Canada, Australia, New Zeeland South Africa as well as the United Kingdom. The surname exhibits a marked concentration that has been relatively consistent thru time. Historically Gloucestershire has been heartland of the surname. By the early 17th century London had become a secondary focus for the name and by the early 18th century the West Midlands had also become a third significant center of the surname. A fourth minor focus could be found in Wiltshire as early as the beginning of the 17 century.Maps showing the distribution in England can be viewed at the Dangerfield One Name Study.


Over a twenty year period the study has collected in excess of 12,000 records covering Census, IGI, Civil Registration and many other data sources. The IGI and Census indexes can be viewed at the one name study web site. These records are linked to maps for several regions. This utility enables the viewer to 'track' families in particular areas from as early as the mid 16th century, to the late 19th century.


The Dangerfield One Name Study DNA study is now underway. If you are a male Dangerfield or know of someone who is, we would welcome participation in this important initiative.The goals of the study will be three fold.

  • to determine if the Surname has multiple or single origins.
  • to determine if the several major focal points of the surname are connected
  • to establish genetic links between individuals

An examination of the surname distribution suggests that Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom is the point of origin of the surname. Are the secondary locations of the West Midlands, Wiltshire and London genetically linked to the suspected heartland of the surname?

A significant issue concerns the origin of the West Midland family complex. Recently evidence has been developed by several researchers that demonstrate the earliest Dangerfields in Darlaston were most certainly Dashfields. Did subsequent in migration add to the diversity of the Dangerfield origins in that area? Were the Dashfields originally Dangerfields?

The question of the origins of populations in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America will potentially be addressed. It is known for example that Dangerfields were among the earliest settlers in Virginia. Early Virginians bore both the Daingerfield and Dangerfield surname variants. Daingerfield was a common spelling in Gloucestershire. Can these two populations be shown to be related?

DNA Heritage is the agency thru which the study is being coordinated. In order to participate an individual should be a male whose line of decent is thru male Dangerfield ancestors.

If you would be interested in participating in the study or be kept informed of the study developments contact the Webmaster thru the link to the left.

To learn more about the role of DNA in genealogy studies follow the following links:

Guild of One Name Studies member Chris Pomoroy's DNA Portal is an excellent primer on the role of DNA testing in genealogy