Surnames in America
0 comment Thursday, November 27, 2014 |
The National Geographic website has an interesting map showing the most common surnames in the United States. It's an interactive map, and you can zoom in on your area or whatever area you like to see the most common names there.
Above the map, there is a link to the blog entry which accompanies the map.
It's glaringly obvious that certain parts of the country are increasingly Hispanic, as the name distribution illustrated by the map indicates.
This census bureau list of the most common surnames shows that a great many Spanish surnames have entered the list, names that were not that common a decade or so ago. This is a testament to the rapid increase in the Latino population.
It does seem obvious from the lists that names originating in the British Isles predominate. However it's evident that not all are English; many of the common names are Welsh or Scots in origin.
Welsh names in the list: Williams, Jones, Davis, Evans, Morgan, Rice, Vaughn.
Scots names include Jackson, Wilson, Campbell, McDonald, Murray, Armstrong, and I am sure many others.
Irish names are fairly well-represented, as expected, but more so in certain areas of the country, not evenly distributed in most cases.
There are a number of German names like Schmidt and Hoffman, and Scandinavian names like Hansen and Larson. There are, of course, Scandinavians surnamed Johnson and Anderson, the latter of which may also be Scots.
My mother's maiden name is on the list, but about halfway down, not exactly one of the most common. Her family name, one of the old New England names, is no longer one of the common names in New England; it seems most of the old-stock colonial English names have been crowded out by immigrant-stock names, earlier, Irish or French names, but now probably Hispanic or other.
I think most of the bearers of the Jefferson name, like those surnamed Washington, are slave descendants, as with many of the common names like Anderson and Williams and Jones.
The name Jefferson is, however, only number 106 among common black surnames.
Despite the fact that hardly anybody today claims Anglo-Saxon heritage anymore, the names are still there. So I suspect there are more Anglo-Saxons genes in this country than many think -- but dwindling in proportion as we become outnumbered.
What about you, readers? How does it look from where you are, and are your ancestral names on the list?

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