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Analysing and Visualising Social Change: The Case of Surnames


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This talk was presented at the Royal Geographical Society's Annual Conference, London. 2010

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Analysing and Visualising Social Change: The Case of Surnames

  1. 1. Analysing and Visualising Social Change: The Case of Surnames RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Thursday 2nd September 2010 James Cheshire UCL Department of Geography [email_address] @spatialanalysis
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Surnames in Great Britain. </li></ul><ul><li>Utility of Surnames. </li></ul><ul><li>Data. </li></ul><ul><li>Capturing surname distributions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hotspot Analysis. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distance Measures. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Applications. </li></ul><ul><li>Summary. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Surnames in Great Britain <ul><li>In 1066 the Normans brought with them a fashion for surnames. </li></ul><ul><li>Main purpose was to clarify the right to ownership of land. </li></ul><ul><li>Indicated family place of origin in France or land acquired in England. </li></ul>
  4. 4. ...we have migrant surnames to consider as well. Surnames in Great Britain
  5. 5. The Utility of Surnames <ul><li>The majority of surnames remain concentrated around their areas of origin. </li></ul><ul><li>Widely recorded alongside location information. </li></ul><ul><li>Applicable to the entire population. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Data <ul><li>1881 Census. </li></ul><ul><li>29 Million People. </li></ul><ul><li>425, 793 Surnames. </li></ul><ul><li>345, 781 <10 occurrences. </li></ul><ul><li>Principle level of geography: 657 Registration Districts. </li></ul><ul><li>2001 Enhanced Electoral Roll. </li></ul><ul><li>45.6 Million People. </li></ul><ul><li>1,597, 805 Surnames. </li></ul><ul><li>1,457, 681< 10 occurrences. </li></ul><ul><li>Principle level of geography: 1.8m Postcodes. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Flett Richards
  8. 8. How have the spatial characteristics of surnames in Great Britain changed between 1881 and 2001? - At an individual level. - At an aggregate level.
  9. 9. Individual Surnames: Methods <ul><li>Kernel density estimation (KDE) </li></ul><ul><li>Percent volume contours. </li></ul><ul><li>Output Area Level (2001), Reg. Dist. (1881). </li></ul>
  10. 10. Individual Surnames: Density Analysis
  11. 11. Individual Surnames: Density Analysis
  12. 12. Individual Surnames: Results Approx. 20,000 surnames analysed.
  13. 13. <ul><li>Lasker Distance Measure. </li></ul><ul><li>Hierarchical clustering. </li></ul><ul><li>Multidimensional scaling (MDS). </li></ul><ul><li>Ward and Admin. Dist. (2001), Reg .Dist. (1881). </li></ul>Groups of Surnames: Methods
  14. 14. Groups of Surnames: Distance Measures Can be thought of as placing the districts in “surname space”.
  15. 15. <ul><li>Considers union of every cluster pair. </li></ul><ul><li>The two clusters with the minimum increase in ‘information loss’ are combined. </li></ul><ul><li>Information loss is defined in terms of an error sum-of-squares criterion. </li></ul>Groups of Surnames: Clustering
  16. 16. Groups of Surnames: Results 1
  17. 17. Groups of Surnames: Results 2 1881 2001
  18. 18. Groups of Surnames: Results 3 1881 2001
  19. 19. Groups of Surnames: Results 2 1881 2001
  20. 20. Summary <ul><li>The question “what’s in a name?” can require a surprisingly long answer. </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative analysis of large datasets provides some contemporary and historical insights into population structure and its evolution over time. </li></ul>
  21. 21. References Cheshire, J.A., Longley, P.A. and Singleton, A.D. (2010) The Surname Regions of Great Britain, v2010, 401-409. 10.4113/jom.2010.1103. Cheshire, J., Mateos, P., Longley, P. 2009, Family Names as Indicators of Britain's Changing Regional Geography. CASA Working Paper 149. Available from Colantonio, S., Lasker, G., Kaplan, B., Fuster, V. 2003. Use of Surname models in Human Population Biology: A Review of Recent Developments. Human Biology. 75, 6: 785-787. Everitt, B., Landau, S., Leese, M. 2001. Cluster Analysis 4th Edition. Hodder, London. Gatrell, A. C. 1981. Multidimensional Scaling. In Wrigley, N., and Bennett, R. J., Quantitative Geography. Routledge, Oxon. . Gordon, A. 1999. Classification. CRC Press, Florida. King, T., Jobling, M. 2009. What's in a name. Y chromosomes, surnames and the genetic genealogy revolution. Trends in Genetics. 25, 8: 351-360. Székely, G., Rizzo, M. 2005 Hierarchical Clustering via Joint Between-Within Distances: Extending Ward's Minimum Variance Method. Journal of Classification. 22: 151-183. Ward, J. 1963. “Hierachical Grouping to Optimize an Objective Function”. Journal of the American Statistical Association 58, 301:236-244 Zelinsky, W. 1997. Along the Frontiers of Name Geography. Professional Geographer. 49, 4: 465-466.
  22. 22. Thank You James Cheshire UCL Department of Geography [email_address] @spatialanalysis