I was browsing on my phone on a long train trip the other day and came across two sites based on research from UCL (University Central London) that gave me hours of fun. The research is led by Dr Paul Longley who is, it says on the site, Professor of Geographic Information Science in the Department of Geography at UCL. The first site enables you to find out the geography of your surnames in Great Britain (and there is a worldwide site too), both current and historic. The interface is a map and I was interested how names were centred on a very particular geographic area in the 1881 map. My own surname is an area of Yorkshire and in 1881 it was mainly found exactly in the location the name describes. But by 1998, mainly due to the work relocation I suspect, it had spread to cities and towns throughout Yorkshire and beyond. My other search was for a name that appears on my family tree – Ceasar. In 1881 there were locations where the name was common but by 1998 the map is white. No data. What happened to all those Ceasars? I’ve certainly never met anyone with that surname.
The other profiler takes census information and gives a street by street picture of the type of person who lives there. We have recently moved from an area of ‘Sophisticated Urban Dwellers’ to ‘Creative Families Living in Terraces’ according to the profiler. This hardly does justice to beautiful Victorian houses scampering up the hills of Brighton overlooking the sea but looking out at our neighbours it seems fairly accurate!
Anyway here is the link http://www.publicprofiler.org/ so you can explore the sites yourself. Well I did say this post would feed your inner nerd…
Note: The census profiler site seems to be down, I think my interest was sparked by an article on a website so maybe the world and his wife has headed over there and it crashed. Hopefully it will be back up soon. The surname profiler is working well when I checked.
Illustration: Copyright TheBigForest 2016