Mostly Smith and Jones with the occasional Patel
May 5, 2013 6:54 AM   Subscribe

 
Cool!

Related

posted by ian1977 at 7:06 AM on May 5, 2013


Interesting that almost all of England is Smith or Jones, until you get to London and then it's Patel.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:15 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had another one of those moments where I thought 'Hey! I wonder if my name shows up?' and then remembered that I don't share a surname with my mother. Why this happens periodically, I don't know. Needless to say, my actual surname is not going to show up on such a map for any country.

I think it would be interesting if this was accompanied by some explanation of how people were named. Like... where did all the Sowerbys come from? I mean, okay, there's a Sowerby near Thirsk and a Sowerby near Halifax and the towns pretty clearly got named by Danes, so they've likely been there longer than people have had surnames, but you wouldn't really expect Sowerby to show up in the sea of Smiths. (Unless there's a really low population density and people haven't moved into the area from elsewhere, I suppose.)
posted by hoyland at 7:15 AM on May 5, 2013


It's like Smith and Jones forever or something.
posted by orme at 7:18 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I may just be bad at English geography, but Smith isn't the most common name in Manchester? That's bullshit.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:25 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would like to work in UCL Secret. Especially if my surname was Leak.
posted by arcticseal at 7:26 AM on May 5, 2013


The sun never sets on the Smith empire.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:49 AM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's funny how those English names are all Smith until you zoom in close enough to see the WTF wacky ones like Brimblecombe and Jermy.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mine appears to be Hussain.
posted by zoo at 8:27 AM on May 5, 2013


Is "Begum" actually a surname? I thought it was a Muslim feminine honorific.
posted by neroli at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2013


Mostly Smith and Jones with the occasional Patel
Sounds like the reverse of my dating history.
ZING!
posted by 1adam12 at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I may just be bad at English geography, but Smith isn't the most common name in Manchester?
You're bad at English geography. Smith is the most common name over big parts of Manchester and some surrounding towns. Although, interestingly, the very middle of Manchester is marked in black with "Lee". I assume the black color is meant to show that a name is of English origin--which Lee can be--but almost certainly most of those in the middle of Manchester are of Chinese descent.
posted by Jehan at 8:56 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


List of the most common surnames in Europe. Smith very common.
posted by stbalbach at 8:57 AM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is "Begum" actually a surname? I thought it was a Muslim feminine honorific.
It is certainly used as a lastname. English law is pretty loose regarding names so if women want to use it like that they can do. I suppose it is like Kaur or Singh, at least in England.
posted by Jehan at 9:01 AM on May 5, 2013


I get that every town had a smithy, and a smith, in the day. Does Jones have roots in a trade or skill as well?

(In b4 name history n00b)
posted by Trochanter at 9:23 AM on May 5, 2013


The map loses something at coarser resolutions -- when I zoom out to world-scale, Smith and Jones disappear and I'm left with a Britain populated by Spence, Scott, and Davies.
posted by zhwj at 9:25 AM on May 5, 2013


I get that every town had a smithy, and a smith, in the day. Does Jones have roots in a trade or skill as well?

I think it comes from John's Son.
posted by dng at 9:26 AM on May 5, 2013


Where are all the Crumblebatches and Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs! DID THOSE SAUCY NOVELS LIE TO ME?
posted by elizardbits at 9:49 AM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh, folks with my name are all up in the north by Scotland.
posted by octothorpe at 9:53 AM on May 5, 2013


I get that every town had a smithy, and a smith, in the day. Does Jones have roots in a trade or skill as well?
It's from the father's name. Welsh and sometimes English (it's not wholly clear in which language it began) made lastnames from the father's name by adding -s. So:

Adams = Adam's child
Davies = David's child
Edwards = Edward's child
Hughes = Hugh's child
Jones = John's child
Owens = Owen's child
Phillips = Phillip's child
Roberts = Robert's child
Williams = William's child

Names like Charles, James, and Thomas which already end in -s were used unchanged.
posted by Jehan at 9:59 AM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I get that every town had a smithy, and a smith, in the day.

I was surprised to find so few bakers. Maybe everyone just ate horseshoes.
posted by scratch at 10:13 AM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I get where the surnames Smith and Baker came from, but what about Mycock?

I'll see myself out.
posted by Defying Gravity at 10:29 AM on May 5, 2013


More seriously, this is an interesting explanation.
posted by Defying Gravity at 10:32 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can get a bit more variety by changing the selection in the radio button to 2nd or 3rd most common names. Going to 3rd most common, my name shows up in a couple places in the Border region with Scotland, which fits since the name is listed as one of the Reiver families on Wikipedia. Although it's shown as English on this map, Scottish in that list.
posted by LionIndex at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2013


Really interesting - I had no idea Smith was such a common name in the UK, except for Wales where everyone is Jones.

I also had no idea that Patel was such a common name in the outskirts of London.

I'd love to see this for the US.
posted by pravit at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Before I clicked I was sure that either Buchan or Bruce would be most common around the north east of Scotland. Buchan it is. Which is appropriate. My mum is from Peterhead and seems to know hundreds of James Buchans.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2013


The zooming behavior is interesting. If it's done "right", then I think what it's saying is that Spence and Davies are the most popular names across the whole UK and you have to zoom in a bit until the Smiths get enough density to show up in the southeast (and around Aberdeen and the Shetlands). I wonder if they were careful in doing the binning at different zoom levels?

The Twitter surnames are quite interesting.
posted by Nelson at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2013


If you zoom out all the way, the first two names are Spence and Davies. After that, as you slowly zoom in, the Smiths start appearing. Cool map!
posted by francesca too at 12:58 PM on May 5, 2013


Maybe it's just because it's been a long week, but I keep giggling over the fact that Scott is such a common last name in Scotland.
posted by colfax at 1:05 PM on May 5, 2013


Only in the Borders area. Which not coincidentally is where Walter Scott's family home was.

Interesting how Smith dominates in the Glasgow-Edinburgh belt but traditional regional names dominate the rest of the country.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:16 PM on May 5, 2013


It's from the father's name. Welsh and sometimes English (it's not wholly clear in which language it began) made lastnames from the father's name by adding -s.

Welsh creates patronymics with the prefix "ap" - "Jones" is an anglicization of "ap Ioan".
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:10 PM on May 5, 2013


I'll note then that one of my family surnames, the very Welsh Bevan, is an Anglicised ap Evan, ie Evans.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Curious to see a map of first names.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on May 5, 2013


Where are all the Crumblebatches and Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs! DID THOSE SAUCY NOVELS LIE TO ME?

You can look up the geographic distribution of specific names via Ancestry's name origins feature. For instance, here's Cumberbatch. (Naturally, a lot of the links are there to lure you into their subscription services.)
posted by dhartung at 5:39 PM on May 5, 2013


Also, this post is incomplete.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:49 PM on May 5, 2013


My sister has been doing genealogy for our family and one tree has dead ended at the Davies family in Wales. At least it's not Jones.
posted by octothorpe at 4:59 AM on May 6, 2013


Does Jones have roots in a trade or skill as well?

Yes, Jones are decended from junkies.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:37 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey!
posted by IndigoJones at 5:49 PM on May 6, 2013


I'll note then that one of my family surnames, the very Welsh Bevan, is an Anglicised ap Evan, ie Evans.

And from my limited understanding of Welsh, Evans is in some ways the same name as Jones, because Iefan is another Welsh form of "John" - see also Ieuan, Ifan, Ianto and Ioan. There's also a similar-sounding set of natively Welsh names, which don't have that i/j at the beginning - Owain, Owen, Iwan - which I would guess intermingled, furthering the popularity of Jones as a surname.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:26 AM on May 7, 2013


« Older To eat, or not to eat and maybe pay the gas bill...   |   “It seems absurd to me that the clip is censored.” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments