Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Ancestry's surname profiler tool

I'm not sure if this is a new feature, or simply one that I have not come across before, but there is a surname profiling tool on the Ancestry website at www.ancestry.co.uk/learn/facts. The tool allows you to type in a surname to source its origin and meaning, and then provides a means to look for the distribution of that surname in England and Wales, or Scotland, across each of the censuses from 1841 to 1901.

I have done a search of my own surname, Paton, and have learned from the site that it is derived as follows:

Scottish: from a pet form of the personal name Pat (short form of Patrick), formed with the Old French diminutive suffix -on.

Yup, I'm happy with that, though interestingly enough the source it is taken from is The Dictionary of American Family Names, from Oxford University Press. Nevertheless it's the well established explanation for the name in Scotland, and an improvement on the same surname derivation as found on another profiling site, the GB Surname Profiler at http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/ which notes the following nonsense for the Scottish name:

PATON English - Locational Name; Settlement Ending; Ton


Do have a play - I'd be interested to hear how accurate or not others may find it.


For details on my genealogy guide books, including my recently released Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html. My Pinterest account is at https://www.pinterest.com/chrismpaton/.

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