Saturday, January 21, 2023

Special issue of journal Genealogy on family names


Dear Colleagues,

We propose to jointly guest-edit a Special Issue of the online periodical Genealogy on the topic of Family Names and Naming. This is a call for papers. Updated deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2023 

Relatively little is published globally on this topic. We therefore consider that it would be timely to bring together contributions from as many as possible of the different disciplines which have an established or potential professional interest in personal naming at the family level: linguistics/onomastics, lexicography, history, genealogy, social psychology, anthropology, human biology, genetics, computer science and AI, marketing, etc.,  and from as many geographical, linguistic and cultural areas as possible. Much published work involving family names is genealogical (therefore highly specific) and lexicographical (therefore essentially summarizing a current state of historical knowledge).

Seeing just how little is published in comparison with work in toponymy, given-naming and business and institutional naming, for example, we consider that a useful step would be to bring together work of disparate types without a single overarching theme in order to expose scholars in the various fields to the full richness of current thinking about family names and possible directions for further research and cross-disciplinary collaboration. For the purposes of this issue, the Guest Editors will understand “family name” (or “surname”) to include names which perform an analogous role in a range of cultures, such as patronyms and metronyms, clan names, nasab and nisba, etc.—any name, in fact, which explicitly positions the individual within a larger social structure. Lack of family name is also a topic of interest. The Guest Editors will be pleased to consider submissions from any disciplinary area, whether oriented to history, praxis or theory, but will look especially favourably on papers that endeavour to make links across conventional disciplinary boundaries or seek to establish new methodological approaches to the study of family names. We expect submissions may fall into five broad areas:

  1. Projects and methods in family name research;
  2. Systematic aspects of family names and naming;
  3. Linguistic aspects of family names and naming;
  4. Praxis in relation to family naming;
  5. Studies relating to individual family names (in which the focus should be on the  name itself rather than on wider genealogical matters).

We offer a range of references below as an indication of some of the directions that might be followed by contributors, but without seeking to limit submissions to predefined topic areas.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words, in English, summarizing their intended contribution, within one month of this call for papers. Please send it to the Guest Editors ( and or to Genealogy editorial office ( Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

For those for whom it is relevant, the policy of Genealogy on article fees is set out at:

We look forward to hearing from you. Please pass on this call to any scholar you think might wish to contribute.


Darlu, Pierre, and 17 other authors (2012) The family name as socio-cultural feature and genetic metaphor: from concepts to methods. Human Biology 84.2, 169-214.

Farkas, Tamás (2012) The history and practice of the regulations for changing one's family name in Hungary. Onoma 47, 35–56.

Hanks, Patrick (2003) Americanization of European family names in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Onoma 38, 119-154.

Hanks, Patrick, and others (2022) Introduction to the Dictionary of American family names (new edition). New York: Oxford University Press.

Hanks, Patrick, and Harry Parkin (2016) Family names. In Carole Hough, with Daria Izdebska, ed., The Oxford handbook of names and naming. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 214-236. [In the same book, the chapter by George Redmonds on Personal names and genealogy (279-291), and Section 19.2.] Book:

Hanks, Patrick, Richard Coates and Peter McClure, eds (2016) Introduction to the Oxford dictionary of family names in Britain and Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.;jsessionid=BC712D4AF2CB313B21171C53DF5B8553. [Additionally, a version in the Concise edition, ed. Harry Parkin (2021).]

Kohlheim, Rosa, and Volker Kohlheim (2005) Familiennamen: Herkunft und Bedeutung von 20000 Nachnamen. Mannheim: Duden.

Krüger, Dietlind (2011) Familiennamen ostslawischer Herkunft im Deutschen. In: Karlheinz Hengst and Dietlind Krüger, eds., Familiennamen im Deutschen: Erforschung und NachschlagewerkeJürgen Udolph zum 65. Geburtstag zugeeignet. Leipzig, 227-249.

Morlet, Marie-Thérèse (1997) Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de famille. Paris: Perrin.

Parkin, Harry (2015) The fourteenth-century poll tax returns and the study of English surname distribution. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 48.1, 1-12.

Peters, Eleanor (2018) The influence of choice feminism on women’s and men’s attitudes towards name changing at marriage. Names 66.3, 176-185.

Picard, Marc (2009) Genealogical evidence and the Americanization of European family names. Names 57.1, 30-51.

Picard, Marc (2015) On the origin of hagionyms in North American French surnames. Names 63.1, 37-43.

Pilcher, Jane, Zara Hooley and Amanda Coffey (2020) Names and naming in adoption: birth heritage and family‐making. Child & Family Social Work 25.3, 568-575.

Plant, John S. (2005) Modern methods and a controversial surname: Plant. Nomina 28, 115-133.  

Rabanus, Stefan, and Haykanush Barseghyan (2018) Wortbildung der Familiennamen Armeniens. Beiträge zur Namenforschung 53.1, 47-66.

Rambousek, Adam, Ales Horak and Harry Parkin (2018) Software tools for big data resources in family name dictionaries. Names 66.4, 246-255.

Sykes, Bryan, and Catherine Irven (2000) Surnames and the Y-chromosome. American Journal of Human Genetics 66, 1417-1419.     

Tüm, Gülden (2021) Turkish patronymic surnames ending with -oğlu ‘son of’: a corpus linguistic investigation. Names 69.2, 20-32.

Voracek, M., S. Reider, S. Stieger, V. Swami and S. Rieder (2015) What’s in a surname? Physique, aptitude, and sports type comparisons between Tailors and Smiths. PLoS ONE 10 (7), e0131795.

Wikstrøm, Solveig (2012) Surnames and identities. In Botolv Helleland, Christian-Emil Ore and Solveig Wikstrøm, eds., Names and Identities. Oslo: University of Oslo. OSLa (Oslo Studies in Language), 257-272.

Please note that some of these texts may be accessible online on other sites. Some sites mentioned are paywall-protected.

Dr. Harry Parkin
Prof. Dr. Richard Coates
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genealogy is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • onomastics
  • anthroponomastics
  • anthroponymy
  • family names
  • surnames

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

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