Statistics and Given Names
George as a forename George as a surname

Georgina Georgiana

The publication of Steve Archer's Surname (and forename) Atlas now allows the amateur to make their own discoveries in this little-explored area.

The above maps are all 1881 distributions by county, with figures adjusted per 10,000 population. The forename George is universally popular. It was the fifth most enumerated name in 1881, with 954,587 occurrences. I had expected a north-south split, with the name being hardly given in Scotland. To my surprise, I discover an east-west divide that runs up through the country, even through Scotland. Of course, this may be exaggerated by the cut-off figures used. But there does appear to be a definite gradation. I wondered whether there might be some interaction between the surname and forename. The results are contradictorary. Figures 1 and 2 seem to indicate some kind of re-inforcement in NE Scotland (Banff, Moray, Aberdeenshire). This seems to be echoed in SW Wales (Pembrokeshire) and Cornwall.

As for the feminine versions of the name, Georgina (23,750 occurrences) and Georgiana (3,938) show radically different patterns. There is some fascinating work to be done to unearth the influences behind these distributions.

The above is just an appetiser. I did intend summarising recent work on statistics and forenames (post 1540), although I suspect this will now be covered in George Redmond's 2004 book which I am eagerly awaiting.

Series of articles by Donald Hatch
  1. Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Robert and Roger as names are just as sweet - the popularity of boys' names over the centuries.
  2. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet - the popularity of girls' names over the centuries.
  3. Did Victorian parents with common surnames choose unusual forenames for their children?