Surnames, DNA, and Family History

Surnames, DNA, and Family History


By (author) George Redmonds, By (author) Turi King, By (author) David Hey


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 164mm x 234mm x 26mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 17 December 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199582645
  • ISBN 13: 9780199582648
  • Illustrations note: Figures, illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 124,418

Product description

This book combines linguistic and historical approaches with the latest techniques of DNA analysis and show the insights these offer for every kind of genealogical research. It focuses on British names, tracing their origins to different parts of the British Isles and Europe and revealing how names often remain concentrated in the districts where they first became established centuries ago. In the process the book casts fresh light on the ancient peopling of the British Isles. The authors consider why some names die out, and how others have spread across the globe. They use recent advances in DNA testing to discover whether particular surnames have a single, dual or multiple origins and whether various forms of a name have a common origin. They show how information from DNA can be combined with historical evidence and techniques to distinguish between individuals with the same name and different names with similar spellings and to identify the name of the same individual or family spelt in various ways in different times and places. Clearly written and illustrated with hundreds of examples, this book will be welcomed by all those engaged in genealogical research, including everyone seeking to discover the histories of their names and families.

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Author information

David Hey is Emeritus Professor of Local and Family History at the University of Sheffield. He is President of the British Association for Local History and the Chairman of the British Record Society. His numerous books include The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History ( third edition, 2008).

Review quote

An excellent book, for its clarity, up-to-dateness, and coverage of all the important aspects of genetic genealogy, with many interesting and useful details not given in other books. Genetic Genealogy they enjoyably demonstrate how ancestral links may be explored. Family History Monthly it provides exciting clues about how recent developments in DNA analysis are shaping genealogical research Who Do You Think You Are? Enthralling and compulsively readable, this book combines linguistics with genetics, genealogy, and local history to provide a fresh and eye-opening vision of the British past - and indeed of family histories across a wider world. Focusing on the history of British surnames it casts a totally new light on what makes us who we are - and how we can find out. Indispensable reading for anyone interested in their roots, this book offers nothing less than a new perspective on British history. Michael Wood, historian and broadcaster An excellent book, for its clarity, up-to-dateness, and coverage of all the important aspects of genetic genealogy, with many interesting and useful details not given in other books. Genetic Genealogy This book will come to be seen as an important progenitor of a new historical subdiscipline, a ground-breaking interdisciplinary liaison, between history and genetics, one that may eclipse the boldness of any such humanities scientific collaboration hitherto. Professor Keith Snell, Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature This book is ground-breaking for two reasons: firstly, it is the only book I have encountered that takes a truly multi-disciplinary approach to surname study, integrating linguistic, historical, genealogical, geographical, and scientific (genetic) evidence, and secondly, it is the first book I have read that reviews and identifies the strengths and (more particularly) the deficiencies of surname study to date and clearly sets out the various sources and methods one can and should use to investigate surnames successfully. For these two reasons alone the book deserves to be read by anyone with an interest in surnames or names and naming more generally. Simon Draper, Nomina

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. By-names ; 2. Hereditary Surnames ; 3. Expansion and Decline ; 4. Distribution and Migration ; 5. Linguistic and Social Factors ; 6. Meaning and Method ; 7. DNA and Surnames ; 8. The Link Between Surname and Y Chromosome Type ; 9. The Wider Picture ; Conclusion ; Bibliography ; Index of Names ; General Index