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New Online Tool for Mapping Surname Distribution
Published: 04 September 2008
By: Rick Roberts, Biography & Archived Articles
Curious about how far and wide spread that persons with the same name have migrated?
Now there is an easy way to find out. A new online resource called Public Profiler uses a database comprised of information gleaned from electoral roles and telephone directories to map out the distribution of more than eight million different surnames, and 5 million different given names (forenames). The database includes more than 300 million people living in 26 countries. It shows the origins of names and indicates where those families have moved to.
David Beckham, a world famous British football player, has an English name. However, today there are more Beckhams living in the United States than in Britain. Surprisingly, the region of the world with the highest concentration of people called Beckham is even further from the footballer's east London origins - in the New Zealand province of Northland.
The Public Profiler website also reveals which of the five million forenames are most closely associated with different surnames and lists the top regions and cities for each surname.
The online tool was developed by a team of geographers from University College London. Professor Paul Longley, one of the researchers, said: "The information is not just historical but geographical... We can link names to places - a name is now not just a statement of who you are but where you are."
Most surnames originated in specific places in the world and remain most frequent in those areas, but have often spread to other countries because of migration, the research showed.
Searches for Canada's leaders of the five main federal political parties revealed some mixed results: (organized alphabetically)
Top Countries (listed by country with Frequency Per Million,FPM)
You can check out the surnames that interest you at Public Profiler -- and best of all. it's free.
Rick Roberts, GlobalGenealogy.com Inc.
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