28 May 2008

The most common surnames

The most common surnames in England and Wales are:

Smith, Jones, Williams, Taylor, Brown, Davies, Evans, Thomas, Wilson, Johnson.

That's according to a study of surnames in birth registrations from 1998 to September 2002. The data is from the Office of National Statistics, via this web site where you can also look up the ranking of many other surnames.

There are only minor differences from the 1881 list found in Steve Archer's 19th Century Surname Atlas CD

Smith, Jones, Williams, Brown, Taylor, Davies, Wilson, Evans, Thomas, Roberts

Brown and Taylor have swapped places, Wilson has moved up two places, and Roberts has moved up from 11th place in 1881 to replace Johnson.

How do Canada's top surnames compare? There is no official source -- seeing privacy bogey men everywhere Statistics Canada refuses to release a list based on the census, but the CBC published a list last year. It reflects the changing reality of a nation of immigrants.

Li, Smith, Lam, Martin, Brown, Roy, Tremblay, Lee, Gagnon, Wilson

Immigration statustics show that more than 50% of Canada's immigrants in the past decade have been from the Asia Pacific region.

Immigrants have been coming to Canada from the region for much longer. Library and Archives Canada's Canadian Genealogy Centre have just put up a new database on Chinese immigrants to Canada from 1885 to 1949.

A different immigration reality is apparent for the US. According to the 1990 US census the top names were:

Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, Wilson, Moore, Taylor

By 2000 the list was:

Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller, Davis, Garcia, Rodriguiz, Wilson

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