Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

The TABB One-Name Study commenced in 2002 and was registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies the following year (category C). The Tabb surname is my mother'€™s maiden name and the decision to pursue this, rather than my own (Hoar), was taken only because of its relatively lower frequency.

Variant names

Variations include TABE, TABBE, and TAB, but none of these have been registered

Name origin

The OUP 'A Dictionary of English Surnames' (1997) associates the TABB name with Old English 'Taebbe', but without explanation as to its origin. There is no reference to the TABB surname in 'The Oxford Names Companion' (2002). The relative paucity of recorded entries indicates a single ancestor.

Historical occurrences of the name

No famous, or infamous, TABB has yet come to light.

Name frequency

Between 1837 & 2002, there are about 3,762 TABBs recorded in England and Wales by the General Record Office (GRO): 1,488 births, 1,163 marriages and 1,111 deaths.

The British 19th Century Surname Atlas (Archer Software, 2003) identifies 394 TABBs from the 1881 Census. The 1901 Census of England & Wales ( records 465 TABBs in 169 households. The 2001 electoral register has 413 TABBs in 266 households (n.b. voting age only). The 2002 ONS database counts 476 TABBs. The frequency of the TABB surname appears to be relatively steady.

Distribution of the name

Cornwall (198) and Devon (60) are the most frequented counties in the 1881 Census, representing 65% of the total. GRO Births between 1837 & 2002 show the most frequent registration district is St. Austell, Cornwall (164 births) and Plymouth, Devon (103).

According to 2001 Electoral Register, there are also TABBs in Scotland (9), N. Ireland (25) and the Channel Islands (3). 94 were resident in Cornwall (23%) and 54 (13%) resident in Devon, which indicates a gradual dispersion from the West Country to the rest of the United Kingdom.


All TABB births, marriages & deaths from the GRO for England & Wales 1837-2002 have been recorded (obtained from and correlated so far as possible. Other TABB data includes the 1901 Census, Commonwealth War Graves Commission casualties (, 2001 Electoral Register ( and Ellis Island ( (the United States immigration entry point around the turn of the 19th century). Apart from my own, no other pedigrees are presently held.