Wide grins for Cheshire’s catchy map

Story in The Atlantic
The cartographer James Cheshire has looked at over 900 different areas of London and graphed the most popular last names of each. He’s then placed those over a map of the city, made it all zoomable and interactive, and highlighted which 15 last names – and nationalities – dominate each area. It’s an awesome window into how people actually inhabit the city. Spend some time with it and seemingly homogenous areas break apart. An ocean of Smiths, an English name, suddenly is revealed to be riven with currents of the Welsh Williams. . . .


The reader should be mindful that, owing to migration over centuries, even in the heart of old Londinium the surname Smith can quite often denote an Irish or Scots origin, being a name frequently derived from the Gaelic patronymic Mac Gobhann, meaning “son of the smith”.

To be sure, Smith is an English name as well, but it is the most common surname in Scotland (followed by Brown, Wilson, Campbell, and Stewart in the Top 5). Smith is commonly found in Ireland as well, sometimes being another form of that recurring “MacGowan” (Mac Gabhann) occupational name, and sometimes representing the old English Smith qua Smith families who had settled in Ireland. ~Q~









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