The New Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland Contains 45,000 English and Irish Surnames

A team of researchers from the University of the West of England in Bristol spent more than six years sleuthing out the origins of more than 45,000 surnames common to Great Britain and Ireland, with 8,000 of those, like Twelvetrees and Farah, investigated for the first time in the new book, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland.

According to the publisher, the new book includes every last name in the island nations that has 100 or more bearers including the frequency of the name in 1881 and how common it is today. It even includes immigrant family names.

Each entry contains the current and 1881 frequencies of the name, its main location(s) in Great Britain, and its language or culture of origin. It also lists of variant spellings of the name, an explanation of its origins (including the etymology), lists of early bearers showing evidence for formation and continuity from the date of formation down to the 19th century, geographical distribution, and, where relevant, genealogical and bibliographical notes, making this a fully comprehensive work on family names.

This authoritative guide also includes an introductory essay explaining the historical background, formation, and typology of surnames and a guide to surnames research and family history research. Additional material also includes a list of published and unpublished lists of surnames from the Middle Ages to the present day.

An introductory essay explains the origin, history, and typology of family names in Britain, Ireland, and elsewhere in the world, the research methods used, the sources used, and some of the problems encountered in researching family names.

About half of the 20,000 most common names are locative, meaning they come from places; a quarter are relationship names, such as Dawson; and a fifth are nicknames. About 8% are occupational, including less familiar ones such as Beadle (church official), Rutter (musician), and Baxter (baker).

The New Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland is not yet published. It is available for pre-orders and is expected to ship on 17 December 2016.

You can order your copy of this huge 3,136-page reference published in four hefty volumes for “only”  the UK retail price of £400 or $600 US from Oxford University Press at https://goo.gl/YLi4uu or from Amazon at https://goo.gl/qmfYlj.

The dictionary will be accessible for free via public libraries that purchase the resource. Members of the public can request that their library purchase the dictionary by completing a form at https://global.oup.com/academic/library-recommend/.

2 Comments

Any chance at all that there might be an on-line index of these names?

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Online access til the end of the month is back on. It was turned off yesterday. But today 22 Nov it is working again.
Well worth a visit. Remember to click on the name in the results to see the entire entry

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