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Most Common Surname

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1366134.  Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:39 pm Reply with quote

In Series 14 Episode 1 Naming Names, one of the segments is about who has the most common name. When Sandi answers, she lists Davies as most common and mentions the source that was consulted. However she skims over it and I can't make out what she says. Does anyone know what reference was used and if there is a web-site?
Thanks, Phil.

1366184.  Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:27 am Reply with quote

I don't know which source Sandi names, but I recall UCL had a study of UK surnames, not only showing their popularity countrywide, but drilled down to wards, and these were overlaid on maps so people can see maps of their cities\towns by popular surnames of each ward.

1366213.  Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:41 pm Reply with quote

The website which the UCL guys created still exists (here), but unfortunately that excruciatingly detailed map which CB27 mentions appears no longer to work.

You can see a less detailed map based on the same data here. (Click on the map and it goes bigger.)

There are a few surprises there. It's no surprise that the most common surname in most of England is Smith, or that in most of Wales it's Jones while on the Isle of Skye it's MacDonald. It's perhaps more surprising that in part of Dorset it's Cutler (which I might have associated with Sheffield if anywhere), and that in Lancaster it's Pye. Should I have known that the surname Williams is in fact more common in Cornwall than in Wales?

That map doesn't go down to London Borough level, but I suspect there are a couple of London Boroughs where the most common surname is of South Asian origin.

This website uses a different methodology and appears to have been produced by an Italian amateur rather than a Professor. It probably needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, but it shows Davies as one of the top ten surnames, which does not surprise me.


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