Philologists There was a flowering of interest in the subject early in the Twentieth Century. I offer the differing opinions of Richard McKinley and Leslie Dunkling as to whether these works still have relevance. Leslie Dunkling on: C. W. Bardsley A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames 1901 – “much pioneering work” E. Weekly Surnames 1916 – “a scholarly discursive work, written in a very condensed style… Any serious student of the subject will need to consult it” C. L’Estrange Ewen A History of Surnames of the British Isles 1931 – “An undervalued discursive work, with much to offer” Richard McKinley On the other hand:- “These earlier works are now best left on one side by amateur historians or genealogists. Many of them at the time that they were written advanced the study of surnames and their history, but they have now been superceded by later books, and inevitably some of the views advanced in them have been shown to be inaccurate or incomplete by later research” PH Reaney It was not till 1958 that an authoritative dictionary was published:- Reaney’s A Dictionary of British Surnames is still acknowledged as a work of major importance in this field. “The dictionary covers the whole of Britain, though the treatment of English surnames is usually fuller than those of Wales or Scotland… This dictionary is a very useful work of reference… but it does have limitations. One of these is that a large number of surnames derived from place-names is not listed. Many of these were omitted to save space, and on the somewhat optimistic assumption that it would be easy to identify the places from which surnames were derived by using a gazetteer of place-names… (It) only deals with surnames which have survived to the present day, and does not deal with names which once existed, but are now extinct… Early, usually mediaeval forms are given, and these are then linked to forms that exist today. (This method) is generally reliable, but there are instances (where the connection is doubtful). (Another limitation) is that the dictionary does not always list all the variant forms of a surname together. (Despite these limitations), Reaney’s work remains a valuable source of reference.” (from a review by Richard McKinley) This omission of locative surnames was corrected in the posthumous 1991 edition, with the inclusion of some 4000 additional surnames. The title changed with the publication of the 3rd edition to A Dictionary of English Surnames; the change of title reflecting the growing change of emphasis away from surnames of Celtic origin. The dictionary has recently been issued in a revised third edition (1997) with an afterword by David Hey. Basil Cottle The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames (1967) – new edition 2000 – acknowledged and incorporated Guppy’s work where Basil Cottle felt it appropriate. “It is a book easily used and understood by amateur genealogists without any specialised linguistic knowledge” (Richard McKinley) Hanks and Hodges The Oxford University Press published A Dictionary of Surnames in 1988. This dictionary, edited by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, is especially strong on European surnames. For me, its importance lies in the fact that it was the first dictionary to utilise a telephone directory survey as an tool to create a headlist of the 15,000 most frequent surnames in Britain and Ireland today. “One of the most recent and authoritative dictionaries of the origin and meaning of those surnames of European origin in use in the English-speaking world – some 70,000 are included, but these are only common names and names for which information exists. Note that up to half those surnames originating from place names may have been omitted” (Todd).