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Hertfordshire County Council

Oxford Dictionary of Family Names now available on the Online Reference Library


The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland has been published on Oxford Reference Online, login with "hertsb" and your library card number. If you log in using a library computer you will be signed in automatically.  

  • It covers over 45,000 family names in the UK, including immigrant names.
  • Each entry includes the current and 1881 frequencies of the name, its main GB location, and its language or culture of origin.
  • The Dictionary includes every surname that currently has more than 100 bearers.
  • Each main entry explains the name's origins and history, supported by a selection of early bearers taken from a wide range of sources such as wills, tax records, court records, parish registers, Nonconformist circuit records, and many other documents and entries which direct the reader to the main entry where the history and etymology of the name is covered.
  • It explains many surnames never previously explained and corrects many widely believed errors in the light of new evidence.