Is your Surname registered?

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

2,660 total views, 2 views today




About the study

The Tribe One-Name study started in July 2011. I have traced my own family tree, whiche extends back to about 1550, when parish records began. I was greatly helped by the fact that other Tribe researchers in the Sussex Family History Group were also researching the Tribe name. I soon collected an great deal of additional Tribe data in addition to my tree. However, I was surprised to see that there was no One-Name study for my surname. So I have decided to start one. The name was registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in 2011.

Variant names

I have registered no variants for the Tribe name. In my own research, I have did not find any variant spellings of the name.

Name origin

I have read many explanations of the meaning of name. My present favourite is that of 'urger' which dervives from the encouragement of a drover to his herd. I will as my research develops post further updates.

Historical occurrences of the name

I have not found very many notable Tribes. An ancestor of Admiral Nelson bears the name Tribe. It seems that Tribe was a name of lower class people. Certainly, my ancestors were essentially lower class, some even ending up in the workhouse. I will be collecting occupations of individuals named Tribe. My own tree certainly, shows a range of occupations from farmer, blacksmiths (who also made clocks and watches) to labourer being the most frequent. However this maybe because of the line of descent. If I was the first son of the first son for several generations, then I would have (hopefully) retained the bulk of the acquired family wealth over time.

Name frequency

Tribe is a relatively uncommon surname. Data will be posted on it's frequency at a later date.

Distribution of the name

According to the free BMD site, for all types of records, (Birth, Marriage and Death), over the period of 1837 to 1983 (data is incomplete for the last 30 years), there were for the surname Tribe, 7,570 entries, consisting of 3,225 births, 2,251 marriages and 2,094 deaths. Tribe appears most commonly in the county of Sussex with 1,941 entries, which is 25% of the total entries consisting of 826 births, 509 marriages, and 606 deaths.

After Sussex, comes Surrey with 1941 entries (24%), Hampshire with 1,416 entries (19%), Middlesex with 1,314 entries (17.3%) and Kent with 707 entries (9%). The Victorian researcher Guppy stated that Tribe was a name, which belongs to a class of names, which he described as 'peculiar' that were associated with one county, that being Sussex.

In comparison, in the whole of the free BMD index, there are only 7 entries for Tribe in Northumberland, and 8 for Cornwall.


So far, I have downloaded all the entries from the free BMD index. This consists of all Tribe entries between 1837 to 1983 (last 30 years are incomplete). I will be placed this date onto the Guild web site when it is has been edited to remove duplicates, mistakes and other errors.

When the above data has been formatted and posted, I will work my way through other sources of data as suggested by the Guild of One-Name Studies.


I would like to start a DNA project for the Tribe surname. I have had a DNA test, courtesy of the Museum of London, which concluded that my DNA was of a very rare type, which has been connected with that of Neolithic farmers. It is also found in Russians. This may or may not confirm the suggestion that Tribe is an name for original settlers found in Sussex, when the Saxons arrived. More information will be posted when I retrieve the letter from my loose notes.