Bringing it all together
At present I am commencing a study of the surnames listed in the Portsmouth Burgess Rolls of 1900/01. Will Portsmouth with its strong naval tradition be a melting pot of UK names? The Burgess Rolls will reveal only a section of the population, but that section will be one that has put down roots and consequently the surnames are less likely to be held by transients. Ideally I should compare the results with a sample take from the 1881 Portsmouth census.
This will be a testbed of the techniques already discussed to reveal:-
Also, I am interested in how the initial results of the start ward are affected as the area grows larger by feeding in the results from more wards. Will more previous singletons merge, than are bought in by the new ward? How will S/N change? If a name predominates in one or two wards, does that suggest a localised kinship?
As these are the results for the first two wards, they are meant just to illustrate the techniques, rather than being definitive. They will change as I include neighbouring wards.
There is a remarkable consistency between the figures for the two wards. The number of surnames is perhaps 10% larger due to spelling inconsistencies, e.g. Cleal and Cleall are treated as individual names.
480 surnames are common to both Mile End and St Mary's Ward - of which 220 are singletons. In other words, over 60 % of surnames are different in the contiguous wards (whose centres are only a couple of miles apart). The combining of the 2 wards results in a larger influx of singletons, than the number deleted by merger. Deleted: 220 : Influx 706. Some of these 706 unite with multiples in the core ward. Result: the % of singletons in the combined ward declines to 64%
Core Ward: Mile End
Local Names (25 mile radius):
Sheffield 1841 : A Comparison
David Hey in A History of Sheffield devotes a few pages to the surnames of the city. Incidentally, this is the only instance that I know of the study of the surnames of an urban area, rather than a county or hundred. More please.
In the 1841 Sheffield census, he finds that the following are the most common surnames:
An unrealistic comparison, I know, not comparing like-with-like timewise, but indulge me
(Source: David Hey A History of Sheffield Carnegie Publishing Ltd, 2nd Revised edition edition, 2005.)
R J Johnston
A more contemporary post-war analysis has been developed by R J Johnston, who examised the kinship factor as a deterrent to migration through a study of the common surname groups of the Yorkshire Nidderdale in the period 1951-1961 through the use of the electoral rolls. As a check on the localisation of the surnames under consideration, as a comparison, he counted the number of entries in the following telephone directories, and adjusted the resulting count with a weighting factor.
The following is a much pared version of his results, to concentrate on urban areas in a general north to south swathe, and the less localised of his surnames.
The weighted counts that are above the median are highlighted. Nearly all the names seem to exhibit a north or south bias. The surnames Ashby and Smith appear to be names predominantly found in the Midlands. (The repeat of 2857 in the Smith row is not a typo). It will be interesting to see if the high occurrence of Harris is repeated in my Portsmouth study.
(Source: Johnston, R. J. Resistance to Migration and the Mover/Stayer Dichotomy: Aspects of Kinship and Population Stability in an English Rural Area. in Geografiska Annaler, (1971) 53B:16-27.)
Possible group projects might be:
Even more intricate work could be done on the numbers of type of surname (if identifiable as locative, personal etc), and percentage influx of new names.