Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique Family Name Website Is Boon To Linking Past & Present

17.01.2006


The popular BBC series ‘Who do you think you are?’ describes the quest of celebrities to trace their family histories back to the 19th century and beyond. Now a fascinating new study allows us all to explore the geography of our family histories, using a unique website that tracks how many people have our surnames, their origins and where they live today.



The Surname Profiler website (at www.spatial-literacy.org) is part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) sponsored study led by Professors Paul Longley and Richard Webber of University College, London. It uses 46 million surname records supplied by Experian to identify the origins and past and present locations of Britain’s top 25,000 family names, and where they can be found in Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Methods developed in the study are also being used in a bid to understand patterns of population movement, social mobility, regional economic development and cultural identity.


Professor Longley said: “Along with providing a fascinating source of information for people wanting to trace their family roots, our study was aimed at understanding patterns of regional economic development, population movement and cultural identity.

“This databank will boost our ability to analyse such things as patterns of emigration from Britain. And it will be a boon to those working on issues from integration and assimilation into mainstream society to strategies for local policing.”

Methods developed in the study are also being used in a bid to improve health care, in an ESRC Knowledge Transfer Partnership co-sponsored by Camden Primary Care Trust (CPT) in North-West London. Researchers are investigating how the surname databank can be used in health promotion campaigns aimed at people from ethnic backgrounds prone to particular diseases.

The study revealed that 30 generations after our ancestors were first assigned a family name, surnames are still extremely regional. Delving back to the Census of 1881 it found that, perhaps surprisingly, Britain has actually seen little dispersal among most of the working population.

Smith remains the number one name, used by more than half a million in the UK. Today, as then, it is most concentrated in Lerwick, in Shetland. Between 1881 and 1998 the area in which individuals named ‘Paxman’ were most concentrated shifted from Cambridge to Romford, although they have done well for themselves: today only 1% of people have a more high status name. In New Zealand the name Paxman occurs most frequently in Auckland, while in the US the Paxmans have gravitated towards Utah.

Patel, a relatively new entrant to the charts, shot up from nil recorded in 1881 to more than 80,000 in the electoral register of 1998, making it Britain’s 40th most common surname. And the place with the largest number of Patels is Harrow, in North London.

Jones retains its position as the number two surname, with almost 400,000 bearing it. Blaenau Ffestiniog, in North Wales, remains their stronghold, with the highest grouping among upland hill farmers. Williams and Brown also keep their positions as the third and fourth most common names.

Professor Webber said: “We are very pleased and optimistic with this development, and believe that it represents an interesting example of the use of basic research to further the ESRC’s mission in health and lifestyles analysis, as well as improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery.”

Alexandra Saxon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>