Oxford Dictionary of Family names in Britain and Ireland

22 Nov, 2016

Oxford Dictionary of Family names in Britain and Ireland

This is a fabulous new resource from OUP – the result of a four year project resulting in the linguistic origins, history, and geographical distribution of 45,600 most frequent family names in Britain and Ireland. The print and online database, offers an explanation for all names from the very common to many rarer names with 100 current bearers. More about the project here:


At £400 per copy it will be one for the libraries and organisations to purchase –


However, you can request your local library stock the dictionary – follow the link provided on the page. The online dictionary will also be available to the general public until the end of November – again follow the link and access details provided at the bottom of the page in the following link. Enjoy!



Toni Sutton


  1. I hope the libraries will save their money! The dictionary is available online until the end of November. See the press release at: http://info.uwe.ac.uk/news/UWENews/news.aspx?id=3510 for access details (at the bottom of the page). An alarming number of ‘early entries’ are sourced from the ‘IGI’ (actually Family Search, which the authors seem to think is synonymous – it is not). I have so far only had time to check one ancestral surname, where the entries cited are not the earliest for the parish, let alone the county. I shall stick with my well-thumbed copy of Reaney and Wilson’s ‘Dictionary of English Surnames’, which I bought second-hand at a modest price.

  2. PS Apologies for repeating the link you had already given, Toni! The coffee has not yet kicked in.

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