Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Great Britain Family Names Profiling


If you want to map your family name within UK, then you are welcomed to this website which presents the findings of a project based at University College London (UCL) that is investigating the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic.

It allows users to search the databases that they have created, and to trace the geography and history of their family names.

What differs this website from other mapping projects, is the possibility to map the distribution of surnames not only in the UK of today (1998) but in the Great Britain of 1881 thanks to the digitised Census. I have already mentioned the FaNUK project, and in this respect I should point out that in the UK the majority of sources and data, even from the Middle Ages, have been digitised and are available to the public.

Data Sources:

UK and Ireland data: Experian International Ltd
Great Britain Census of 1881: Economic and Social Research Council Data Archive

Project Acknowledgements:

Professor Paul Longley (Professor of Geographic Information, Department of Geography, Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences)

(from here: http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/about-the-department/people/academics/paul-longley)

Alex Singleton (Lecturer in Geographic Information Science at the University of Liverpool)

(from here: http://www.liv.ac.uk/environmental-sciences/staff/alexander-singleton/)

Richard Webber, UCL Visiting Professor

(from here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/6630565.stm)

Dr Daryl Lloyd, UCL researcher (from here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0310/blandings-hunt)

Here is the article about this cool project: (from here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0609/06092903)

Surname Profiler: one of top 2006 research projects

29 September 2006

A surname-profiling tool developed by Professor Paul Longley, Professor Richard Webber and PhD student Daryl Lloyd of the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Research Project of the Year Award.

The researchers, from the Spatial Literacy Team at CASA, devised a quantitative analysis of surnames from two snapshot years – 1881 and 1998 – to uncover the effects of migration and changes in the workforce on Britain’s social structure.

Most surnames in Britain are concentrated geographically. Mapping where they end up gave a unique picture of migration patterns across the UK and Ireland, while present-day data for each of the 25,000-plus surnames allowed the team to measure socioeconomic status and lifestyle.

The project demonstrates how the most common British surnames are distributed across North America, Australia and New Zealand, providing insights into migratory patterns.

The research confirmed that at over 500,000 instances, Smith is the most popular surname in the UK, with the highest concentration in Lerwick, Shetland Islands – just as it was in 1881.

Members of the public can now trace the geographic origins and status of their names for free through a website and see where others with the same name have ended up. Following a mention on the BBC website, the Surname Profiler site received 200,000 hits in a day.

UCL features twice in this year’s Times Higher Awards: Dr Nick Lane (Royal Free & UCL Medical School) is on the shortlist for the Young Academic Author of the Year Award for his book ‘Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life’.

The award winners will be announced at a dinner at the Hilton, Park Lane on 15 November 2006.

Coates mapping

Let's chart the surname of Professor Richard Coates (University of West of England):

Then we can compare it with its diffusion in 1881:

As we may conclude, it probably stems from the areas of York, Harrogate or Darlington. By the way, Professor Coates says: "My own name 'Coates', for example, literally means 'cottages' in Middle English. It is also applied as a place-name, and in my research, I have discovered that 'Cotes' is the name of a small place in my grandfather's ancestral county of Staffordshire, so that's probably where my surname comes from." (from here: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/cahe/research/bristolcentreforlinguistics/fanuk.aspx).

Staffordshire is situated here:

While it's not so far from the concentration of that surname in 1881, however it's not the same...

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