What is the surname project?
This project hopes to build a picture of what we think of as Oxfordshire surnames, essentially those that have a significant period of association with the county. The output will be a book, surname reports and some broader web coverage, as we have far too many surnames for a book. We have a basic 1550 surnames and variants for which we are processing records from the Oxfordshire parish registers. To support this information we are extracting records for surnames from other sources, such as the Victoria County Histories and early 15th-19th century lists. OFHS is a family history charity, so we also are interested in individual researched Oxfordshire family histories, which will add some detail to our more general and systematic coverages from the published documentation.
How can I participate in the surname project?
There are three ways:
If you have made a one-name study, or have a good knowledge of your own family history on one or more surname lines in Oxfordshire going back several generations into the 19th century and earlier, please provide a summary of the history of that surname (names, places, dates) and send that with your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will note your information and when we analyse that individual surname will get back in touch to discuss it with you. Please note that it may take many months before that happens.
If you are an accurate transcriber, have access to Microsoft Excel and would like to help the team transcribe indexes from various books/documents of lists of Oxfordshire surnames, please get in touch at surname‑email@example.com. You do not have to be located in Oxfordshire.
Take a DNA test and contribute to the Oxfordshire DNA project. Males with Y-DNA tests with Oxfordshire ancestors on the male (surname) line are especially welcome for this project. See the DNA Project FAQ.
Which surnames are involved?
We have about 1550 surnames that have at least a moderate number of baptisms and burials in the county. Very rare names may not be included. Many of these surnames have several variant spellings, so your names of interest may be included with another name. From that list we are extracting a smaller set of priority names, which will be more volatile as we juggle different criteria and availability of data. See the surname list here.
How does the surname project relate to the Oxfordshire DNA project?
The surname project and the DNA project are separate, but related in that they support each other. DNA can link different family lines of the same surname or surname variant, or, equally important, show no link between them. Y-DNA testing of Oxfordshire surnames, combined with paper research, can map the family line and DNA to specific locations.
See the DNA Project FAQ for more details.
Richard Merry and Sue Honoré
Co-Administrators Oxfordshire Dual Geographic DNA Project and Project Managers of the Oxfordshire Surname Project