LONDON-L ArchivesArchiver > LONDON > 2004-10 > 1097929347
From: Eve McLaughlin <>
Subject: Re: [Lon] WOULD LIKE TO ASK 2 QUESTIONS
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2004 13:22:27 +0100
>I have many names that I cannot track down as I do not have their origins.
A simple rule of thumb guide is looking at the IGI, ideally a fiched
version, by familysearch at a pinch. What you want is a sense of where
there are large concentrations of the surname before 1800. You may not
find you own ancestors, since it is incomplete, but finding several
families of the surname operating at the same time shows they were
around in some quantity in that county.
Of course, there are several names where this trick won't work well.
Some surnames have very many potential sources, because they are based
on forenames (Roberts, Williams, Johnson, Thompson etc) or on
occupations common to many areas (Carpenter, Butcher, Smith, Taylor,
Wright etc) or physical features (Rivers, Churchill, Oakley, Hill etc)
In these cases, the occurrence of a particular forename in the family
is a big help - everyone has john, Thomas, William, but if there is a
run of a more uncommon name in your lot, and it features in one county,
strongly, search further.
Most Australian 'pioneers' had their origins investigated in
Bicentennial year, and there tend to be books or collections of
information held in State Libraries. For instance, Charlie Staples did a
good job on West Australia.
Author of the McLaughlin Guides for family historians
Secretary Bucks Genealogical Society
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