The 1881 maps on this page come Spatial-Literacy.org which is an excellent source for the distribution of surnames in 1881 and 1998. The maps are limited to Great Britain, but the analysis gives an extended analysis including an international comparison and geographical spread (under Geographical Location) and number with the name, the change from 1881 to 1998 and the ethnicity (under Frequency and Ethnicity). Follow the link to Surname Profiler.

The information in 1881 is particularly helpful as it shows the situation before modern population movement had any great effect. It is interesting, however, to note that in most cases the change from 1881 to 1998 are not great!

While this information can give clues as to the origin of a family, it should be treated with the usual caution; fine differences in spelling has a marked effect (see for example Paterson and Patterson below) and your family may well have originated in totally unexpected places.

On the other hand some families are so narrowly distributed, there can be no doubt that this place was their 'ancient' origin. This shows up with English names such as Bickmore (Essex) and Bothway (Lincolnshire) and some of the Scottish names, MacKay, Matheson, Munro (Sutherland). However we know that the Josselyns first settled in Lincolnshire in the 11th C. whereas the map suggests Essex (where we know some lived as early as the 13th C.) or perhaps Suffolk and so the need for care in interpreting the map is obvious!

At the end of this page I have included some historical maps to show the nature of early settlement. The map of England at about 1000AD for example shows that ancestors in East Anglia (especially one like the Bickmores and Bothways) may include Viking ancestry. As Norman Davies points out in "The Isles A History" - a must read History of the British Isles (1999 - ISBN 0 333 692837) - the various invasions of England - Viking, Angle, Saxon, Norman - were in insufficient numbers to have displaced the existing Celtic populations and so probably displaced the local population's culture rather than the people resulting in mixed genes.

Taylor & Bickmore
Taylor 1881
Taylor_1881
Bickmore 1881
Bickmore_1881
Turner & Bothway
Turner 1881
Turner_1881
Bothway 1881
Bothway_1881
Guy & Bacon
Guy 1881
Guy_1881
Bacon 1881
Bacon_1881
Canter
Canter 1881
Canter_1881
Bull & Smith
Bull 1881
Bull_1881
Smith 1881
Smith_1881
Hare & Aldridge
Hare 1881
Hare_1881
Aldridge 1881
Aldridge_1881
Harper & Stapleton
Harper 1881
Harper_1881
Stapleton 1881
Stapleton_1881
Joy & Richardson
Joy 1881
Joy_1881
Richardson 1881
Richardson_1881
Davidson & Murray
Davidson 1881
Davidson_1881
Innes 1881
Innes_1881
Grant & Innes
Grant 1881
Grant_1881
Murray 1881
Murray_1881
King & Tennant
King 1881
King_1881
Tennant 1881
Tennant_1881
Mackay & Matheson
MacKay 1881
MacKay_1881
Matheson 1881
Matheson_1881 (9K)
Munro & Taylor
Munro 1881
Munro_1881
Taylor 1881
Taylor_1881
Robinson & Robertson
Robinson 1881
Robinson_1881
Robertson 1881
Robertson_1881
Paterson & Patterson
Paterson 1881
Paterson_1881
Patterson 1881
Patterson_1881
Josselyn & Steward
Josselyn 1881
Josselyn_1881 (9K)
Steward 1881
Steward_1881
Walls & McCormick
Walls 1881
Walls_1881
McCormick 1881
McCormick_1881
Historic Maps
Germany 1870
Germany 1870