Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Surname distribution in the United States

I came across a delightful mapping tool on the web today. It is a simple mash-up of surname data from the Census Bureau and white pages telephone directories on the one hand, and a map of the 50 states on the other. It's a lot of fun and rather informative to look at how certain last names have "traveled through time" across the United States.

Here are a few of my favorite examples:

A common Amish (Pennsylvania Dutch) name, like Yoder:


A surname with strong ties to the Mormon faith, such as Larsen:


The predominantly Hispanic surnames of Gomez:


...and of Sanchez:


Or, there is Olson, a common Scandinavian surname popularly found in the northern plains:


It's interesting to note the wide distribution of the Vietnamese name Nguyen, but the only significant record begins in 1990:


Many thanks to the Hamrick Software company for devising this useful tool. (Hamrick's primary product is photo scanning software, so if you're in the market for that, check them out.)


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4 Comments:

At 6:27 PM, February 16, 2007, Anonymous GMI Blog said...

This is a great find. There are limitless research possiblities with that tool. It is also interesting checking up on your own name.

 
At 10:43 PM, February 28, 2007, Anonymous Movie blog said...

What is the data based on? Census data? When was the last census taken? 2001?

 
At 10:44 PM, February 28, 2007, Anonymous Movie review website said...

Sort of cool, if it's accurate.

 
At 6:00 PM, August 20, 2007, Anonymous Hot Karl said...

I think I just inoculated.

 

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