Yearlist Case study: Investigating a yearlist Banks Davies James Parsons Swann Bennett Dwight Jones Rhodes Thursfield Blower Green Jones Rice Welch Chester Hartland Jordan Robinson Weston Clarke Hickman Kimber Robinson Whitehouse Collins Hood Lockyer Smart Williamson Conway Hughes Moriaty Smith Young Dance Jackson Oakley Smith Just a rather boring list of names: the A Level candidates in a particular school at a particular date. But can you guess the place or the time? Surely you cannot derive such information merely from a list? Analysis This is a school-list so the teenagers’ families are likely to be fairly settled. There are only 39 names. Is this enough? The list lacks any sense of cosmopolitan-ness – so it is either from a deeply rural area, or maybe 30+ years old. There are 2 Smiths and 2 Joneses. One would normally only expect 1 per 100 names. Unless they are twins or cousins, this could reflect the fact that these leading names are more numerous here. Leading names are not evenly spread. They do vary in areas of strength. Including Jones, 8 names associated with Wales spring out. But there are 5 names ending in ‘son’ (i.e. forename+ son). These type of names (patronymics) are traditionally associated with the North of England (excluding ‘Parsons’ which is an occupational-originated surname). A first guess might be somewhere between Manchester? But Lancashire is an area of locative surnames, and one would expect names like Duckworth, Entwistle, Fairclough, Waring, etc. In order to proceed further, it is essential to know the historic strength of the remaining names. The following regional strengths were compiled from Surname Atlas: Surname Strength Blower Warwickshire Chester Shropshire Dance Worcs-S Coast Dwight Buckinghamshire Hartland Worc-Herefordshire Hickman W Midlands to Oxfordshire Hood Norfolk-Suffolk-Yorkshire-W Midlands Kimber Wiltshire-Hampshire Lockyer Dorset Moriarty Ireland Parsons Dorset-Cornwall Rhodes Yorkshire Rice Devon Swann Cambridge..Rutland Thursfield Shropshire- N Staffs Whitehouse W Midlands There are as many surnames associated with the Midlands, as from Wales. Together a total of 16 out of 39. The strong Welsh element points to the West rather than the East Midlands. Some names have ramified in a small area, and the majority of its bearers have stayed within a tight area. These may be regarded as ‘marker’ names. There is 1 marker name in the above list that probably locates this example within a radius of 10 miles. Can you hazard a guess as to both marker and location ? Answers at the end of this section. Your own area may now have new ‘marker’ names that will define your cultural landscape, as well as traditional marker names. Can you identify either in your own year-list? New ‘Marker’ names The results of the 2001 census identify the following groups as being most strongest represented in the following areas. Presumably, these areas now have new names that typify them, mingling with traditional names: Origin National % Concentration % of area Marker names????? Indian 2% Leicester 25.7% Chandarana, Chotal, Chudasama, Ghelani, Hindocha, Kanabar, Kataria, Kotecha, Lakhani, Lodhia, Morjaria, Naik, Pancholi, Passam, Soni, Thakrar, Vadher, Vaghela Pakistani 1.4% Bradford 14.5% Bangladeshi 0.5% Tower Hamlets 33.4% Can you identify other groups, areas, marker names that might be represented in your year? Drawback The above analysis of the year-list example is subjective. I know the answer, so am I manipulating the data to derive the answer I want? If I had taken the previous or subsequent year, would the answer have been different or ambiguous? Try this yourself. Answers to Quiz: Marker name: Whitehouse Location: Wolverhampton Whitehouse 1881 distribution revealing its concentration in the West Midlands If the spatial analysis of surnames interests you, then I have included a brief introduction to possible geographical techniques on the Spatial analysis page of this web site.