Monday, 3 October 2011

Surname distribution maps

I recently purchased a copy of the new edition of Steve Archer's Surname Atlas. The atlas provides distribution maps of surnames based on data from the 1881 censuses of England, Wales and Scotland. The new version has a number of enhancements including some very useful listings of surnames specific to individual counties. I shall be making full use of the list of Devon surnames to build up my list of surnames for my Devon DNA Project. I've been having fun playing around with the CD tonight and have produced maps showing the distribution in England and Wales of the surnames Cruwys, Cruse and Cruise and other variant spellings. It is now possible to do a comparison of four surnames at once. The first set of maps shows a comparison of the distribution of the surnames Cruwys, Cruse, Cruze, and Scruse in 1881. Cruwys and Cruze are both clearly Devon surnames. Cruse is found across the whole of the south of England, with further pockets in the north. There is some overlap with the surname Cruwys, but the Cruse surname appears to have multiple origins. The appearance of the surname in the north might be a result of migration in the search for work in the industrial heartlands. Scruse is a variant spelling of Cruse and originated in Wiltshire.      

The second set of maps below shows the distribution of the surnames Cruise, Crewes, Crews and Crew in 1881. The surname Cruise is predominantly found in Ireland and the Irish Cruises are distantly related to the Cruwyses of Devon. The northern Cruises are probably migrants from Ireland.  The Cruises in the south-west probably share a more recent origin with the Cruwyses and Cruses of Devon and Cornwall. One branch of the Devon Cruwys family settled in Cornwall in the 1500s, and as can be seen the Crewes spelling was still concentrated in Cornwall in 1881. All the people with the variant spelling Crewes are probably descended from this single Cornish line. Crews is again mostly confined to the southwest. Crews is the predominant variant spelling in the United States and we are investigating the theory that the surname there evolved from Crew or Crewe. Crew is notably absent from the south-west but is widely spread throughout the rest of England.

© Debbie Kennett 2011

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