The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland contains detailed information about the linguistic origins of more than 45,600 common and rare surnames. Each entry also includes how many bearers of the name were recorded on the 1881 and 2011 censuses, as well as its geographical distribution over time.
The creation of the four volume dictionary is the result of a four year project – the largest of its kind ever undertaken, with data sourced from medieval and modern sources such as tax records, church registers and census returns.
Some names have their origins in occupations, for example Webber and Baker. Other names can be linked to place such as Hill or Green.
Knowledge of the origin of surnames helps the family history researcher understand their own story and maps the origins of their ancestors.
Yarra Plenty Regional Library is the first Australian organisation to order this landmark reference tool from Oxford University Press.
Check these other resources to explore the origins of your surname and learn more via this video from the University of West Bristol England who were a partner on the project.