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21
4.7 out of 5 stars
A Dictionary of English Surnames (Oxford Quick Reference)
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2002
This paperback is brilliant value at 18 names per penny, and my heavily used copy is dog-eared, battered and always within reach like favourite books should be. It lists surnames and variants, dates and sources of first mentions, origins and meanings. The Introduction about types of names, their historical roots and how and why they vary is a book in itself. There are 10 pages of obscure reference sources which take me into another world. An Appendix tells how to plot the distribution of surnames and locate their home. I run a very large genealogical website for Derbyshire and get many hundreds of e-mail enquiries about strange names. Looking the surnames up in this book is always rather exciting and the information often surprising. The book has been a pleasure to use. Sometimes when I can't find a name I wish I had a larger book, but I haven't come across a better reference work yet. The sheer volume of detail and the effort spent collecting it is amazing. If there were six stars this paperback would get them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2010
I bought this book along with a couple of other surname books for a little project I have been doing on the names that appear in my family tree.
Out of the books I bought this book was by far the most used, it gave me everything I needed and more. If you are interested in the Origins of your families name I suggest you get this book. Even when not doing the project I had it by my side and just kept dipping in and out of it, it is that good.
If you want a companion book to go with it I'd suggest you get A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford Paperback Reference), as this will help you understand where the places that relate to your family names come from.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2009
A Dictionary of English Surnames (Oxford Paperback Reference)

A lovely book to own. Does what it says on the tin, and well laid out. I use it for family history studies and reference for different spellings of the same name. Well priced and a fascinating 'dip in' book for a bit of interesting entertainment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2011
I bought this book in conjunction with dictionary on old professions,trades and occupations,A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations in relation to my genealogy studies.The entries are relatively clear but the paper seems a little yellow to me,meaning that it's quite hard on my eyes after a while. On the whole it's been very useful -I just wish that I could get books on Irish and French names,then I'd be in genealogical heaven -so to speak!
It's great value for money,though and I'd recommend it but at the risk of seeming to state the obvious,please read the introduction notes first,on the origins of various names,(ie,Celtic,Norman,Scandinavian,etc)if you want to start making rapid headway into the book's entries (or perhaps it's just me -it's been while since I had to plough through reference books!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2009
Bought this book after attending a talk about the origins of surnames. Packed with information and found it absolutely fascinating finding out the origins of surnames within our families.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2006
I have been writing a book on a certain Cornish names using references which thanks to this little book have been proven to be unreliable. It also has helped question which way my particular book should now be driven. So even though it has created more work many thanks go to Reaney and Wilson for all their work into the subject matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2013
This is a book for the thinking Person........if you think you can pick it up and Bingo !! Your surname and its "meanings" is revealed in all its glory, think again. You must read the preface(s) and the introduction......and that is not an easy read either. A Book for those with an appetite for knowledge and learning. A Scholars' book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2007
I bought this as I'm an amateur genealogist. It's fascinating to look up the surnames in my family tree and also makes a good talking point with friends too! The book gives an explanation of where a particular surname might have derived from and lists early references to that surname. I traced a branch of my family to the 1500's to a particular Oxfordshire village and the book references a person of the same surname living very close by in the 1200's. There is also a good introduction on the origins of English surnames in general. Worth the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2009
The book has enabled me to go ahead with some family research, many thanks
RJC
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2013
A surprisingly good quality book for such a low price. It lived up exactly to the description of being 'near fine. and provided what we were looking for compared to other more expensive volumes.
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