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2,390 study surnames with us
and a further 6,077 variant names.

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About the study

This One-Name Study is a project researching world-wide the genealogy and family history of all persons with the surname Tomlin as well as close variants.  The current custodian started his own family history in 2006 and began this study in 2015. 

Variant names

The registered variants are :-  

Tomlins, Tomblin, Tomalin, Tomlyn, Tomling & Tomblins

These are in order of occurrences in the 1881 England Census.

The study is not limited to these alone as there are many others.  In ‘The Oxford Names Companion’ there are listed over 150 variants world-wide of the original name of which ‘Tomlin’ is itself a variant.

The variant ‘Tomlinson’ is not included as these by far outnumber ‘Tomlin’ and is, perhaps, worthy of its own One-Name Study.   (Cf. From 1881 England Census – Tomlin approx. 2,700 / Tomlinson approx. 13,800).

Name origin

The surname ‘Tomlin’ is itself one of the numerous variants of the name ‘Thomas’ and is generally considered to be of patronymic form.  i.e. a name derived from a father. 

A pet form of Thomas is Tom and, with the double diminutive suffixes “el” and “in” added, Tom-el-in eventually became Tomlin meaning ‘Little Tom’.

The name Thomas was originally an Aramaic name meaning ‘a twin’.  The Aramaic language was the international trade language of the Middle East between 800BCE and 100CE.   

Historical occurrences of the name

From the Aramaic te'oma תאומא (twin) evolved the Hebrew tə'ōm אוםת and then the Bibical Greek Θωμᾶς (Thomas).

This was the name borne by one of the disciples of Christ who is best known for his scepticism about Christ’s resurrection (John 20: 24-9), hence “Doubting Thomas”. 

Before the Norman Conquest of 1066 the name is found only as the name of a priest or man of the cloth.  After this date the name and its variants gained in popularity.

The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallised the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.    

Also, because of the French influence, the pronunciation changed from /θ/  to /t/ and, consequently, the spelling also.  e.g. Thomlin to Tomlin.

One of the earliest recordings of the Tomlin name in the U.K. is believed to be in the Subsidy Rolls of A.D. 1327.  This subsidy was granted by the First Parliament of King Edward III (of England) to meet the expenses of the war with Scotland. The following were named  :-    Robert Thomelyn (of Cambridgeshire),  John Thomelyn (of Sussex),  John Thomelyn (of Somerset)  & John Tomelyn (also of Somerset).

One of the earliest recordings of the Tomlin name in the New World is believed to be when Matthew Tomlin arrived in Virginia in 1636.

One of the objects of this One-Name Study is to verify and expand this information. 

Name frequency

The surname Tomlin is the 22,912nd most common in the World with approximately 22,500 people with this name in 2014.

The frequency of occurrence in order of density is as follows :-

Jamiaca                      1:4,615 

England                      1:11,556

Wales                         1:16,146

New Zealand               1:17,288

United States              1:23,724

Australia                     1:25,477

Distribution of the name

The distribution of the 22,500 people in 2014 with the surname Tomlin is as follows :-

United States               13,500

England                         4,673

Australia                          925

Canada                            780

South Africa                     749

Jamaica                           589

New Zealand                    263

Wales                               192

Scotland                           190

Germany                          168

Due acknowledgement goes to /Surnames/Tomlin where this Name Frequency and Distribution information is listed.


As this study is in its embryo stage, data collection has only just started.  The following is currently available :-

Civil Births, England and Wales 1837-1973.  

Civil Marriages, England and and Wales 1837-1973.

Civil Deaths, England and Wales 1837-1972.

As the study progresses, it is expected that further information will be added, all of which will be freely available to members of the Guild or persons registered with it.  


There are three DNA projects at ‘Family Tree DNA’ that welcome those with the surname Tomlin or its close variants.  These are :-



A Public Facebook Group exists under the name ‘TOMLIN Genealogy Group’ and can be accessed using the link:-   


A website relating to the surname 'Tomlin', its variants and their family histories worldwide can be accessed using the link:-