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Our 2,765 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

I have been studying my family history for over fifteen years and like many others I found that I was accumulating a vast amount of data about people with my family name who were apparantly not on my direct tree. I have therefore started to compile a one name study with the objective of determining if any of the data I have is in any way related.

In addition to my own tree I have 3 smaller trees where there would appear to be some possible direct relationship and I am working to determine if there is indeed a relationship.

During 2009 I intend to catalogue all occurences of the name Toplis and Topliss from the GRO registers from 1837 to 1950 as a first stage in my ONS project.

Variant names

I am currently studying the name Toplis and Topliss but I am aware that there are other variants which might well be linked. I am therefore collecting data on the variants Toplas, Topless, Toplesse and Topleys to test if these are genuine variants.

Name origin


Historical occurrences of the name

There are a few Toplis's who have achieved notoriety in history. These include

- William Arthur Toplis (1857 - 1942) a marine artist who illustrated the Book of Sark. In 2008 his work and life was the subject of a major exhibition in the Candy Gallery, Guernsey, Channel Islands.

- Francis Percy Toplis (1896 - 1920) aka The Monocled Mutineer. The subject of a book and major film series on BBC television, he was shot by police in Cumbria after being pursued the length and breadth of the UK.

Name frequency

From the index of the 1881 census produced by the Church of Latter Day Saints, there were 577 Toplis's recorded in that census.

According to an ONS database there are some 774 Toplis's as of September 2002. This gives a frequency of 1 in 72,222 of the population. This makes it the 8134th most common name in England and Wales.

Distribution of the name

The Toplis name appears to originate in Derbyshire and I have records of the name occurring in the Wirksworth and Matlock area from at least the 1600's. My own tree currently starts from within the city of Derby with branches out to Sheffield, London and Liverpool.


I started a DNA project for this ONS in December 2008