Saturday, 15 August 2009

Surname distribution in Canada

Elizabeth Lapointe on her Genealogy Canada blog recently posted on surname maps. Elizabeth points to www.dynastree.ca which allows you to display, province by province, absolute and relative frequency of surnames based on telephone directory entries.

In speaking to community groups I've always found it adds interest when folks can look at the distribution of the names in their families. Usually I do this using Stephen Archer's UK surname distribution CD, which is based on the 1881 census. There are other options for the UK online, here's one, but I've learned not to rely on live Internet resources when making presentations to avoid disappointment.

Ontario, with an area of 917,741 km2 is a bit larger than, say, Germany where Dynastree is based, which contains 357,000 km2. It would be nice if Dynastree's surname distribution map could be broken down more finely, something that shouldn't be very difficult given that Ontario contains six non-overlapping telephone area codes.

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