Monday, March 25, 2013

The Surname Space of the Czech Republic: Examining Population Structure by Network Analysis of Spatial Co-Occurrence of Surnames

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0048568

Abstract
In the majority of countries, surnames represent a ubiquitous cultural attribute inherited from an individual's ancestors and predominantly only altered through marriage. This paper utilises an innovative method, taken from economics, to offer unprecedented insights into the “surname space” of the Czech Republic. We construct this space as a network based on the pairwise probabilities of co-occurrence of surnames and find that the network representation has clear parallels with various ethno-cultural boundaries in the country. Our inductive approach therefore formalizes a simple assumption that the more frequently the bearers of two surnames concentrate in the same locations the higher the probability that these two surnames can be related (considering ethno-cultural relatedness, common co-ancestry or genetic relatedness, or some other type of relatedness). Using the Czech Republic as a case study this paper offers a fresh perspective on surnames as a quantitative data source and provides a methodology that can be easily incorporated within wider cultural, ethnic, geographic and population genetics studies already utilizing surnames.

Citation: Novotný J, Cheshire JA (2012) The Surname Space of the Czech Republic: Examining Population Structure by Network Analysis of Spatial Co-Occurrence of Surnames. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48568. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048568