Surnames (family names) show distinctive geographical patterning and in many disciplines remain an underutilized source of information about population origins, migration and identity. This paper investigates the geographical structure of surnames, using a unique individual level database assembled from registers and telephone directories from 16 European countries. We develop a novel combination of methods for exhaustively analyzing this multinational data set, based upon the Lasker Distance, consensus clustering and multidimensional scaling. Our analysis is both data rich and computationally intensive, entailing as it does the aggregation, clustering and mapping of 8 million surnames collected from 152 million individuals. The resulting regionalization has applications in developing our understanding of the social and cultural complexion of Europe, and offers potential insights into the long and short-term dynamics of migration and residential mobility. The research also contributes a range of methodological insights for future studies concerning spatial clustering of surnames and population data more widely. In short, this paper further demonstrates the value of surnames in multinational population studies and also the increasing sophistication of techniques available to analyze them.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 83 • No. 5