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British Isles. The authors consider why some names die out while others spread across the globe. They use recent advances in DNA testing to investigate whether particular surnames have single, dual, or multiple origins, and to find out if the various forms of a single 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 identifty the name of the same individual or family spelt in various ways in different times and places.
The final chapter of this paperback edition, looking at the use of genetics in historical research, has been updated to include new work on the DNA of Richard III.
Surnames have always provided key links in historical research. This groundbreaking new work shows that first names can also be highly significant for those tracing genealogies or studying communities. Standard works on first names have always concentrated on etymology. George Redmonds goes much further: he believes that every name has a precise origin and history of expansion, which can be regional or even local; up to c. 1700 it may even have centred on one family. This text fully explores the implications of this belief for local and family history, and challenges many published assumptions on the historical frequency of first names.