Dialects Misinterpretation of regional dialects Migration is often cited as the single most important cause of surname corruption. “My MOWBRAY name has variants such as: MOWBERRY… this was from a Leicester family that went to Northants in the early 1700s. The parish clerk, never having had a MOWBRAY family in his region before, heard the name and wrote what he thought the man had said. The offspring migrated to Lincolnshire, which is prime MOWBRAY territory, and some maintained the variant whereas others reverted to the original. In medieval times, an offspring of the baronial line went to Scotland and founded a dynasty. They adopted the spelling MOUBRAY which has persisted. One can hear the Scottish accent in this variant. In Yorkshire the variant MAWBRAY crops up, this time reflecting the Yorkshire drawl.” (Source: David Mowbray, email to the Guild Forum) “In fact this change in the way the name is written down is quite easy to map, and SW of a line drawn between Kidderminster and Redditch it is ROWBERRY and NE of that line it is RUBERY. This is most neatly demonstrated by a 19th Century Ag Lab family who moved backwards and forwards over that line. In the one area their children’s births were registered as ROWBERRYs but in the other as RUBERYs.” (Source: Polly Rubery, email to the Guild Forum) In the above examples it clearly is. However, how typical are its migration patterns? Mobility – Mediaeval There have been several useful studies of mediaeval migration, and all indicate a high level of mobility. Nottinghamshire Distance travelled up to 5 miles …10 miles …20 miles …150 miles Early 14th Century (cumulative percentage) 40% 60% 75% 100% Source: Peter McClure Patterns of migration in the late Middle Ages: The evidence of English Place-Name Surnames,Economic History Review (1979) 167-182 Twenty five percent were moving over 20 miles, and a few up to 150 miles. It would be useful to correlate this with points at which dialect certainly changes. The distance for dialect changes is greater for lowland than upland regions: but I hazard a guess at 70 miles (lowland) and 40 miles (upland). Someone more knowledgeable, enlighten me please. And a higher percentage of the the names that moved would be more distinctive than later, and therefore a higher percentage subject to change. Post-medieval mobility David Hey writes that most migration was within a radius of 25 miles, often centring on the local market-town, with subsistence migration declining rapidly with the passing of the 1662 Settlement Acts. For further information, read Ian Whyte, Migration and Society in Britain, 1550-1830.