Here's something quite amusing for all of you with a genealogical bent: a UCL site that profiles the distribution of your surname in 1881 and 1998.
My surname is relatively rare and does, indeed, originate amongst the Quakers of northern England (hence we are closely related to various famous Quaker families, such as Rowntree, Cadbury's, etc.); indeed, there are relations of ours who are still Quakers in Durham. My (relatively) recent ancestors made a reasonable amount of money in steel, coal and railways, I believe. Good working-class interests there...
Although it doesn't show, there were, in fact, people with our surname in Scotland at that time, one of whom emigrated and became one of Catherine The Great's most favoured physicians (we have a pamphlet, from the time of his return, outlining his biography). Upon her death, he returned to Scotland. And brought Medicinal Rhubarb with him.
We also know that sometime in the late 1800s, we married into the Trail family of Orkney, so that distribution makes sense too.
My great-grandfather moved south, I believe and he moved to the West Country; my grandfather lived, for very many years, in Wotton-Under-Edge (great fossil hunting on the hills, by the way) and, indeed, my aunt currently resides near Malmesbury (not a million miles from The Englishman).
Apparently, I wasn't in the Lothians in 1998 (I was. Pah!) but then I am the only one with my surname in the Edinburgh 'phone book, so I probably don't show up on this scale.
You can also check world locations (Geographical Location) and how common that name is (Frequency and Ethnicity). For instance, the surname "Smith" occurs 15,620 times per million in 1881 and 13,822 per million in 1998; my surname occurs only 32 times per million in 1881 and 30 times per million in 1998.
In the Social Demographics (Geographical Location), only 3% of people have a more rural name but 41% have a more high-status name.
Still, all quite interesting, don't you think?
Thursday, September 21, 2006
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