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Family Names and Family History Paperback – 15 Jun 2006

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Hambledon Continuum (15 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852855509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852855505
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,210,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Book mentioned in The Guardian (Saturday supplement), April 2007

Title mentioned in Who Do You Think You Are?, 2008.

"a scholarly and readable study of the growth of English surnames based on the valuble work of the Names Projects Group at the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition and Language. It will appeal to the general redaer and to the student coming to the topic for the first time." Contemporary Review, 01/07/07--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

David Hey was Emeritus Professor of Local History at Sheffield University and is the author of The Oxford Guide to Family History (1993).

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic source book well written and informative. I found out a lot about my family surname/s which has inspired me to take my research further. A great casual read about population distribution, origin and derivation of names.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a review of the original 2000 edition. There are ten chapters arranged in three parts. There are also eight monochrome plates but none of these really add anything to the author's arguments. They just comprise pictures of famous people with a explanations of their surnames.

In his preface, Hey perhaps states the obvious when he notes how "Names can tell us a lot about the history of the peoples of our islands, about how they moved around or how they stayed rooted in a particular district. They also have much to teach us about the social structure of medieval and later England." But Hey also refers the reader to new research that has dramatically overturned some previous assumptions, research undertaken by a new generation of philologists and by the growing numbers of local and family historians.

In part one of his book, Hey provides an introduction to the history and study of surnames, taking examples drawn from his own work in and around Sheffield. (Much of the book contains summaries of Hey's and his colleagues' work at the University of Sheffield.) He informs us that surnames properly commenced with the Normans who used the place-names of their origins across the English Channel to distinguish themselves. But if it was the Normans who started the ball rolling, most names that came to be used as surnames were Anglo-Saxon in origin. Hey looks at the five standard types of surname: patronymic/personal, nicknames, occupational, and topographic, breaking down this last between actual geographic locations (e.g., London, Snowden, Avon) and mere topographical features (e.g., hill, brook, well).

The author then goes on to describe how surnames evolved in subsequent centuries, some surprisingly so.
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Format: Paperback
In researching my family history I have had to work across many parts of the UK. I found this readable book to be a good general introduction to the state of research in the area of surname research, of which I had no previous knowledge. Although it did not mention any of my family names, it has provided me with enough information to take my own enquiries further in this area. If your own research is centred in the Ridings of Yorkshire, I should imagine that it would be of great use. Family History and Local History in England
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