Menu

UCL Department of Geography

Home

Description Photo Here

Personal tools
Log in
This is SunRain Plone Theme
UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  September 2008  /  Department Researchers release website mapping surnames across the globe

Department Researchers release website mapping surnames across the globe

Various members from SPLINT and CASA have produced a website which maps over ten million unique surnames.

Department Researchers release website mapping surnames across the globe

‘Who do you think you are?’ and ‘where in the world are you?’

The scale and pace of intra national and international migration is without historical precedent. Many of the world’s 6.7bn population are first generation immigrants, compounding the scattering of families that took place during colonisation and its aftermath.

Most family names were originally coined in specific parts of the world, and so it is perhaps unsurprising that they remain geographically concentrated in the places where they were first used, seven centuries or more ago. What is perhaps more surprising is that they are also concentrated in parts of the world that have been settled much more recently, as in North America and Australasia.

The Internet has stimulated huge interest amongst amateur genealogists in tracing the lineage of individual family names. But, equally interesting, it also allows huge datasets to be assembled and mapped. Now, for the first time, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research has assembled family name data representing 1 billion people resident in 26 countries in America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. They have been mapped on a public website www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames. This website allows users to investigate the global distribution of any of 10.8 million unique surnames, and to identify the 6.5 million forenames that are most closely associated with each of them.

Researching family trees can certainly be intriguing, but it can also become overly introspective and retrospective. The www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames website offers a fresh and vivid picture of the scattering of individual families across the globe. This allows us, for the first time, to investigate a vivid picture of our global families. Users can find out the countries, regions and settlements in which their names were originally coined, and the parts of North America and Australasia in which they are now also concentrated. They can compare these with those of their friends and relations.

Aggregations of names also allow us to create very detailed maps of ethnicity, at scales from the neighbourhood to the global. A names based classification that uses software developed in related ESRC research at UCL can be viewed at www.londonprofiler.org.

The research at www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames was carried out at University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) by Professor Paul Longley, Dr Pablo Mateos and Dr Alex Singleton under an Economic and Social Research Council ‘Impact’ Grant.

The research at www.londonprofiler.org was also carried out at University College London’s (UCL) Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) by Dr Maurizio Gibin, Richard Milton and Professor Paul Longley under several other ESRC grants.

 

Links:
World Names Profiler (www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames)

BBC News: Website maps surnames worldwide (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7588968.stm)


Image


Navigation
Tweets from @UCLgeography
@UCLgeography