News 1999-2008 2008 In the news, the Historical Names report, which charts the potential extinction of some given names, due to non-use. Press release here. [Aug 14, 2008] Established in Autumn 2007, the Bristol Centre for Linguistics at the University of the West of England is a new research centre which includes etymology and historical onomastics in its research aims. News from Casa. London Profiler [link no longer available] displays (amongst many other aspects), the distribution of ethnic groups by London Borough mapped on to Googlemaps, as revealed through an analysis of their surnames. A working paper describing LondonProfiler can be found on the Casa site. For an update on Casa’s research on the spatial distribution of family names, then visit this audio-visual presentation [link no longer available] The Global Names Project. [July 12, 2008] Patrick Hanks proposes to produce a Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, as an "easily accessible online archive, using material from Reaney and Wilson, the Middle English Dictionary and other sources. [discussed at the 2007 SNSBI AGM, minutes issued with the SNSBI Newsletter, early 2008]. He leads a team consisting of Kate Hardcastle, Peter McClure and Kay Muhr (for Irish names). Richard Coates, Margaret Geller and Ken Tucker are also advising. The work will take at least a couple of years. 2007 Much delayed but finally published mid-December… The English Surnames Survey Vol 8, entitled The North through its names by D Postles, Oxbow Books, ISBN 1842171763. Also John Ayto Encyclopedia of surnames, AC Black, Oct 2007. OriginsInfo.com seems to be a commercial application of the Experian/UCL CASA postcode name database… “OriginsInfo is a UK based company specialising in the geography of naming practices. Using universal files from a number of countries around the world, OriginsInfo is able to associate a million different given and family names with the parts of the world from which they originate.” There are currently two sites – for the UK and Australia. New papers by Richard Webber at both. Aug 3. An atlas of English surnames. [P Lang ISBN 363156272] by Stephanie Barker et al. Very disappointing. I was hoping for a historical linguistic tour-de-force, but completely devoid of any kind of synthesis. Apr. 2006 Another names book for 2006 – D Postles Naming the People of England, c.1100-1350 (Cambridge, 2006) ISBN: 1904303870 £32.99. May 27. RGS Annual Conference, London 2006. The academics behind Surname Profiler have organised a strand at the conference on the Geography of Naming Practices. Twelve speakers on a wide variety of the aspects of names. More details at the Spatial Literacy in Teaching web site. And you might meet me there. Mar 4. Spatial Literacy in Teaching, a joint venture between University College London and the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham, has launched Surname Profiler to a fanfare of publicity. Jan 16. 2005 CASA (The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London) has published a Working Paper (Number 88) on the Geodemographics of Surnames in contemporary Middlesbrough. This is available online. Apr 22, 2005. Nomina 27 has relevant contributions by Ken Tucker (on the statistics of the 1998 UK electoral roll) and David Postles (on by-names). 2004 K Schürer Surnames and the search for regions, Local Population Studies 72 (Spring 2004) pp50-76. Important, seminal, essential reading, Sep 17. The LDS has announced an English Jurisdictions Project. “An advanced internet tool for researchers to determine the jurisdictions of a particular parish.” Are they not aware that this work has already been done (or is in the process of being done) by English academics, viz. the GB Historical GIS? Why not sub-license their work? Aug 14. George Redmond’s second book of the year, Names and History is due out imminently. Publisher: Hambledon and London. It promises to be a wide-ranging and popular account. Aug 13. Professor Viereck (University of Bamberg), an eminent dialectician of English, has embarked on an Atlas of English surnames, which will reflect the grammar of family names. Belatedly, I checked the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) web site [link no longer available] to see if any recent grants had been awarded for academic projects that involved names. I had missed a major, major project that addresses the theme of this modest site. A grant has been awarded to the University of London Geography Department for a project entitled Surnames as a quantitative evidence resource for the social sciences. The project (which runs until Nov 2004) seeks to “deliver a comprehensive surnames database to the ESRC Data Archive.” The database will contain “information on the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic, with a view to developing a clearer theoretical understanding of patterns of regional economic development, population movement and cultural identity.” The project leaders “hope that, through our dissemination activities, it would galvanise wide interest in this type of geographic analysis throughout social science and science.” Absolutely! The other grant of interest has been awarded to the University of Oxford’s Department of Geography and Environment to study the Social geography of British South Asian Muslim, Sikh and Hindu sub-communities. These communities are organised into ethnic-religio-linguistic groups that are too small to have been registered in the 2001 census. This project will assess the size and distribution of these sub-communities, in part through the extraction of distinctive South Asian names and categorising them according to religion and vernacular language. (May 8th) “Ken Tucker, Kate Hardcastle, and Patrick Hanks are beginning a study of family names in Great Britain, starting with a comparison of the relative frequencies of each name in the 1881 census and the 2001 Electoral Rolls.” Source: Ehrensperger Report 2003 (April 16). A special ICOS Bibliography Group has been set up with the aim to create an international onomastic bibliography for the Internet. (April 16) At present, I am reading and enjoying George Redmonds’ Christian names in local and family history Price £16.99, publisher: The National Archives, ISBN 190336552x. This sets the background for a local/family historian to study the development/retrenchment of types of forenames, based on a sound statistical footing. Hurrah. (Mar 24) 2003 David Hey has written an article for The Historian, Recent Advances in the Study of Surnames (Dec 2003). Dec 18 The JISC and AHDS History announced funding for a new project, which will digitise all UK Census and Registrar-Generals’ reports from the early 19th Century through to the mid-20th Century, making it available to every higher education institution in the country via the AHDS History, University of Essex. New publication: George Redmonds’ Christian names in local and family history Price £16.99, publisher: The National Archives, ISBN 190336552x, due 19 Feb 2004. Whilst later in the year, Dr Redmonds’ second publication of the year is due in October 2004. Names and history will use case-studies to look at the local meanings of names, rather than the traditional approach of studying their roots in earlier languages (1 Dec 2003) Nottingham University’s Institute for Name Studies [link no longer available] is developing a Postgraduate Certificate in Name-Studies (Distance Learning) with the University of Sheffield. Course to commence early 2004 – Oct 20 – but actually announced last year. New publication Names, time and place: essays in memory of Richard Mckinley edited by Della Hooke and David Postles, Leopard’s Head Press, July 2003. This festschrift contains essays on the Scandinavian element in English surnames, Welsh placenames as surnames, Surnames and stability. Aug. 11 Dr Malcolm Smith (University of Durham) is using the technique of isonymy and applying it to the social sciences. He has an ESRC grant to investigate the “provenance, migration patterns and sectarian structure of the Irish population in northern England 1851-1901 by isonymic analysis of census”. Application of Isonomic Analysis to Historical Data: Irish Migration to Britain, 1851-1901 [link no longer available] Aug 11 The development of the year, the launch of Steve Archer’s Surname Atlas on CD which will surely revolutionise the home study of the distribution of surnames and personal names. May 1 The French publisher Archives et Culture has an ongoing programme to publish regional dictionaries of French surnames. The web site also locates where in France a surname is most prevalent. Mar 25. Another major publication, 10 years in the making, Dictionary of American family names. editor Patrick Hanks, New York, Oxford University Press, 2003. This three-volume compilation documents 72,000 surnames of Americans across the USA. It surveys each surname giving its meaning, nationality, alternative spellings, common forenames asociated with it and the frequency of each surname and forename. Mar 10. The Director of the Great Britain Historical GIS has reminded me that as the project has been in receipt of a major National Lottery grant, the results will be available in viewable (though for copyright reasons not downloadable) form. So hopefully, from the end of 2003, maps will be available that show the changing geography of civil administrative units since c1876 plus ancient parish boundaries. The maps will be just one layer of the Project, which will also provide the definitive online authority list for British local administrative units. What can I say is: this is sheer music to my ears and will be a boon to life-long learners. Mar 6 In July 1990, a symposium was held at the Department of Local History, University of Leicester. Twelve years later, the papers presented have been published in book form as Naming, Society and Regional identity, Leopard’s Head Press, 2002. The editor says that he has resisted the temptation to update the original introduction. I for one wish he had succumbed. This seems to have been an important interdisciplinary symposium which reveals how the approaches of bio-anthropologists differ from those of local historians in the use they make of surnames. Some indication of how the field is perceived to have changed in the last ten years would have been appreciated, especially by a person on the periphery like myself. I hope the Department will repeat the worthwhile venture. Mar 13. Flavia Hodges has given a talk on Australian radio station ABC on the ABC web site [link no longer available]. Mar 18 David Hey and George Redmonds have co-authored a monograph on Yorkshire surnames and the Hearth Tax, York, Borthwick Institute, 2002. Steve Archer’s Genmap v2 has now been officially launched. It has new features that make it a substantial enhancement on v1, and is now also suitable for plotting placename elements (Jan 12). An essential tool for the surname enthusiast. 2003 will be the year of a giant leap in accessible surname distribution studies for all….I can hardly contain my excitement…more news to follow-(jan 10) A treat – George Redmonds is writing a new book, Names and History to be published this year by publishers Hambledon and London, ISBN 185285426x. (Jan 10) For Irish and Manx surnames there is a new site which plots the contemporary distribution by telephone area. If a surname is not listed, distribution will be plotted for free. (Jan 10) [link no longer available] If this site interests you, then get hold of a copy of John Titford’s Searching for surnames. Packed full of relevant and stimulating information, it is the book that I wish I had the knowledge and experience to have written. 2002 OUP have informed me that they have abandoned plans to publish the Concise Dictionary of Surnames by Hanks and Hodges. (Dec 12) Two important (and for me pretty impenetrable) mathematical articles published. The first co-authored by Trevor on life and death processes, using surnames as examples, in the academic journal Biosystems. The other on the distribution of family names based on the Galton-Watson process. There is a pre-print of this on the web. Can anyone explain it to a duffer like me? Thought not. (Nov 2) William Reed and Barry Hughes, On the distribution of family names. Work in progress: John and Sheila Rowlands are preparing a revised edition of their Surnames of Wales. (Nov 2) An enterprising member of the Guild of One-Name Studies has created a database of the frequency tables from the NHS Central Register. The NHS Central Register is prone to list-inflation, and some of the results are surprising, so treat with caution. It does have linguistic possibilities. See also the paraphrased potted history of the NHSCR. (Nov 2). The `new’ ecclesiastical parishes in 19th-century England and Wales The CDDA has received a British Academy grant via the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester, to examine new ecclesiastical parishes created during the nineteenth century. Also, the digitisation of the parish-level census population tables 1801-1971 is reported as being near completion. New entry for the bibliography Yorkshire Surnames 3: Halifax & District by George Redmonds-July 2002- Isbn 0950852686 Origins of Greenwood, Sutcliffe, Akroyd,Gaukroger, Murgatroyd, and many others. September-new publication- John Titford Searching for surnames (Countryside Books). As a taster to his fascination with surnames, he is writing a series of pieces in Family Tree magazine, commencing this month August- New publication- Edgar Tooth Distinctive surnames of North Staffordshire: Surnames derived from occupations,trades,position and rank: Churnet Valley Books: Aug 2002 isbn 1897949804 August- New publication- Human Biology and History- (Publisher-Taylor and Francis: July 2002) which “weaves together the fields of biology, archaeology, anthropology and history”. It has a chapter on “Isonymy analysis – the potential for application of quantitative analysis of surname distributions to problems in historical research”. This chapter is actually a lucid account of the current state of applied surname studies SANGRA- (South Asian Names and Group Recognition Algorithm) identifies names of South Asian origin in UK health reference datasets with a high degree of success. Developed by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine June- Future title announcements:- The Cambridge dictionary of English place-names : based on the collections of the English Place-Name Society (Publisher: Cambridge University Press: April 2003) Summary : Alphabetical listing of all place-names of England, with historical and etymological commentaries. It will contain an Index of personal names contained in the place-names. A must for those with placename surnames. —– Oxford Names Companion seems to be a compilation of their existing name dictionaries, whilst the Concise Dictionary of Surnames (August 2002) I take will be an abridged form of the standard Hanks and Hodges dictionary —– also Stufflebeem,Brockway and Sturt:The origins of our surnames by Klein, Shelley with over 1500 entries; meanings and associated anecdotes —– also All New Surnames of Ireland: With 200 Family location maps and histories: Surnames of Ireland by Edward Neafsey (Irish Genealogical Foundation: 2002) SNSBI Conference -April 5-8 University of Newcastle. Mainly on place-names, though Carol Hough spoke on “‘White’ in placenames and surnames” , and George Redmonds on “Surnames, genes and genealogy”. March- If you have your own complete 1881 surname data, then try the free mapping at http://www.wykes.org/dist/. This program was written by an experienced member of the Guild of One-Name Studies, and has received praised from fellow members. March- Another costed UK surname distribution service appears -Rootsmap. That’s three so far, and the source of the mapping of 2 of them looks awfully familiar. i.e. the same. March – David Hey has written a new book ‘Historic Hallamshire’ due out this month, which includes a chapter on lost place-names and failed surnames of Hallamshire. Feb- GRO Indexes from 1984 onwards are available on CD Rom. The indexes currently available are Births and Deaths 1984-1998 and March quarter of 2000, and Marriages 1984-1993. The current cost is 50 GBP(excluding VAT) per year per event for 1984-1998. Indexes for Births and Deaths for 1999 and March quarter 2000 are also available. Jan- The National Library of Scotland has launched two new websites displaying high-resolution map images. You can get to them by visiting www.nls.uk/maps/ They hope to shortly scan in a 1000 maps for the period 1750-1900. Jan- Kevin Schurer (Essex) is conducting research on the use of surnames in migration study, and the search for cultural regions. He will talk about this at the LPS conference in April 2002. Jan – A brief examination of the research interests of those attending the ICOS Conference (accessible via the SNSBI link in my sources section) reveals work in progress on the geographical distribution of Danish family names, a database of surnames in the Netherlands, and the survival of French surnames. 2001 Dec- New pages added on surname survival and surname extinction. October – For those who missed the excellent 5 part Radio series ‘Surnames, Genes and Genealogy’, the programmes are available on cassette from the BBC Natural History Unit, Broadcasting House, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR. Cost -currently £3 per cassette. Cheques should be made payable to ‘BBC South’. October – The Guild of One Name Studies announces the publication of its book on surname distributions in the 1881 Census (a selection of registered names) at the end of the year. Price: £15 September – New section on surname variants added (section on post mediaeval migration to be completed). August 2001 -Kevin Schurer, Prof. (Essex University), Migration and the search for cultural regions: The use of surnames in nineteenth-century England and Wales, XVTH International Conference of the Association for History and Computing : Poznan, Poland – 28-31 August 2001. August – The August/September issue of the PRO’s Ancestors magazine includes an article on Roehampton’s Hearth Tax Project. Digitised county maps are to be deposited with the HDS ; these maps will help further research into “surname incidence”. May – Radio 4 are to broadcast a series of 5 programmes titled ‘Surnames, Genes and Genealogy’, featuring the work of Prof Sykes, with contributions from George Redmonds. The series commences on Tuesday 19th June at 11am. The series is available on audio-cassette from the BBC for £15. April – The University College Cork has a project to map the past distributions of 150 selected names of Eire. March 31st – The publication is imminent by The Guild of One-Name Studies of its book of maps of surname distributions of registered surnames (some). This will comprise of 550 surname distributions, plus accompanying blank map and software. March – 16,000 surnames from Patrick Hanks Survey of Contemporary Surnames now accessible from this site. Feb- There have been several publications in recent years in scholarly journals on the overall surname distributions in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, US and Japan. These all show the same shape of distribution – a power law for rare surnames, but with fewer commoner names than would be expected if the power law applied through the distribution. Trevor’s work on a power law for UK surnames mirrors this. Jan- On a visit to London, I made time to visit the interactive surname distribution display at the Science Museum (Wellcome Wing, Floor 1). Free entry after 4.30pm. The resulting screens seem to be mapped to 1881 registration districts, and 1996 postal districts – so a fine degree of mapping. And the 1996 data is extracted from the full clean electoral data supplied by Experian. I found it fascinating. Full of potential for further study. Hopefully, an enterprising publisher will see the market potential, and issue as a CD set. The University of Essex’s History Department is to use the data as part of a project to study cultural and regional identities. Jan- A new player on the scene. Surnamemaps have launched a website offering costed maps of current individual surname distributions- by county or postcode area, based on the electoral roll (which version, primary or secondary?). Jan- Online access to the digitalised pages of the Old and New Statistical Accounts of Scotland now available. 2000 Nov -The University of Essex has announced a project to be developed with the Science Museum for an interactive display of 1881 and 1990 comparative surname distributions. Nov – David Hey’s forthcoming book Family Names and Family History is to be published by London Books in Jan 2001. 224 pages 22 illustrations: Isbn 1 85285 2550 £16.95. “David Hey shows how, when and where families first got their names, and proves that most families stayed close to their places of origin. ” -publishers blurb. Oct -The National Burials Index (NBI) -when published on CD-ROM hopefully in Dec- will have a variety of search facilities, plus on-screen map displays to reveal the distribution of parishes and surnames . The NBI database will contain 3 million records. Sept -The ONS have produced a map of the boundaries of the registration districts of England and Wales, as at May 1st 1999. Sept – Alan Savin has just published his 32 page monograph -DNA for Family Historians. Sept 1st – A guide to where to find late Victorian London registration district maps, plus an 1881 example added to the mapping pages. A May 3rd Press Release from the ONS gives a table of the current top 100 surnames in England and Wales. However, they have provided me with data on the top 500, which I have added to the ‘Leaders’ page. The latest news release from the Hearth Tax Project is available from the University of Surrey Roehampton. This is a project to make available master microfilms of the Hearth Tax Returns 1662-1689. The best of these Returns will be transcribed for indexing and these indexes placed on the Internet, as well as in print. Professor Bryan Sykes has just published a paper in the April issue of ‘American Journal of Human Genetics’ in which he claims that 50% of the bearers of the name Sykes that he tested, had matching DNA, and therefore a common ancestor. His paper has stimulated much discussion with One-namers. He has set up a commercial enterprise ‘Oxford Ancestors’ which will perform DNA matching, and also supply a current surname distribution map (at a cost). The provenance of the data for this latter is as yet unknown. Edgar Tooth ‘The distinctive surnames of North Staffordshire’ has been published by Churnet Valley Books -price £9.95. This is Volume 1 of a planned 3 volume work. Berkshire-1881 is the latest in the MACH release by Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake. A revised edition of D Dorward’s Scottish surnames will be published in March by HarperCollins. This 384 page publication will include the history and modern distribution of many of the 1000 names featured. The ninth annual conference of the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland was held at University of Wales, Bangor 28 April-1 May, 2000. 1999 Many relevant historical sources are in the process of being digitised. Up till now, they have been made available only to academics. This could now be changing. Paul Ell of Queen’s University, Belfast has announced the receipt of a grant to make material available on the web. The CCDA plans to digitise selected gazetteers and trade directories which will describe places at different periods of time in Britain. They intend, for example, to digitise the 6 volume 1870 Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales. The CCDA website is listed in Sources. The static nature of surname distribution has been revealed in past historic snapshots. Confirmation of this ongoing phenomenum is revealed by a recent ONS report in Population Trends (Autumn 1999) . The report reveals that 50 per cent of people live within half an hour travel of their relatives; half also live within half an hour of where they spent most of their childhood. The new edition of Basil Cottle’s ‘Dictionary of Surnames’ edited by Adrian Room, has been delayed in publication from October till 2001(?). The Year 2000 will see at least 2 publications on the genetic identification of a surname: from Alan Savin and Bryian Sykes, independently. Roehampton Institute (in conjunction with the British Record Society and the County Record Societies) has been engaged in a project to transcribe, analyse and map the hearth taxes as yet unpublished. The publication program will shortly commence with :- Cambridgeshire : Michaelmas 1664 Kent : Lady Day 1664 And Margaret Spufford (leader of the project) is to give the 2000 Phillimore lecture. Slightly off-topic but Patrick Hanks is currently leading a team to produce a dictionary of American Family Names. An article describing the database created for this project appeared in the March 2000 number of ‘Names’. David Hey’s latest article (so far as I know, please let me know of any later). remains:- The Distinctive Surnames of Staffordshire ….Staffordshire Studies, 1998 (However his seminal article remains: The Local History of Family Names….Local Historian in which Professor Hey shows that not just locative, but also topographic, occupational and nicknames were strongly identified with discrete localities in early Victorian England). Steve Archer hopes to release GENMAP UK – version 2.00 in late 2000. This is a major revision with lots of new features -the main one for distributionists being the inclusion of 1881 registration distribution mapping for England and Wales. Further information on his website. From MACH Two counties issued to date – Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Further information on MACH on his website. The Guild of One-Name Studies has invited its members to submit their figures from the 1881 Census. Adjusted to take account of population distribution, these will be mapped on a county map. The results will hopefully be published next year. Further information on their website. Edwin Lawson has compiled a third update to his bibliography -publication date as yet undetermined. Sadly, Richard Mckinley, the former Director of the English Surnames Survey at the University of Leicester, died in May 1999.