Rowlands The Surnames of Wales: for Family Historians and Others by John and Sheila Rowlands (Baltimore MD USA, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2008, ISBN: 9780806315164) About the book The dominance of a small number of common surnames in Wales can be a major stumbling block for those researching their Welsh ancestry or those wishing to distinguish between individuals within a given community as part of a local history study. This book attempts to dispel many of the myths which surround the subject of surnames in Wales – such as the widely-held belief (outside Wales) that nearly everyone is named Jones – by describing the development of surnames within Wales down to modern times. Equal emphasis has been given within the text to common names found throughout Wales and to rarer ones found only in specific localities. The chapters are: Introduction; Welsh Names and their Origins; The Adoption of Surnames; A Survey of Surnames in Wales; Glossary of Surnames; Further Uses of the Survey; Migration, Emigration and Place of Origin; References and Select Bibliography; Appendices list all parishes in Wales covered by the survey, and surnames derived from Old Testament Names; Subject Index and Surname Index. There are nearly 40 maps showing the incidence and distribution of the more interesting or typical surnames in the early part of the nineteenth century. These have been derived from the major survey mentioned above, involving more than 270,000 surnames found in parish records throughout Wales in the early part of the nineteenth century. A method for predicting a possible place of origin within Wales for small groups of people (who might have migrated within Britain or emigrated to the New World) is also described. The book draws heavily upon examples of surnames recorded in ancient pedigrees and more recent family history research. From the reviews: Dr Prys Morgan, author of Welsh Surnames (University of Wales Press) wrote, in Welsh History Review: This is a welcome addition to the growing body of writing on surnames … it is by far the most useful guide for family historians, sorting out the incidence of the most common surnames, ‘the overwhelming patronymic deluge’, as well as dealing with many examples of odd or unusual surnames… Although this is a book primarily for genealogists, it contains a great deal of useful information on Welsh families, incomers into Wales, the movement of population, the incidence of marriage in various districts, and on many other subjects, so that it is likely to prove a boon to many kinds of historians. Dr Patrick Hanks, Chief Editor of English dictionaries at the Oxford University Press and joint-author of A Dictionary of Surnames and A Dictionary of First Names, wrote in Family History News and Digest: [The] ‘dictionary’ component of the book neatly complements the fine scholarly dictionary compiled some years ago by Morgan & Morgan … which provides a splendid collection of early evidence but is much less accessible to the general reader. Rowlands and Rowlands have compiled a book which is not only scholarly but also readable, clear and accessible… The small size of this book belies its importance. It is a standard reference work of a kind which students in other areas and other cultures would do well to emulate. May there be many more such!