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Surnames, Genes and Genealogy

Books and magazines

The books listed should be available through booksellers or your local library. Some may currently be out of print.

The following have online bookshops specialising in family and local history publications:
The Society of Genealogists:
The Federation of Family History Societies:
Family Tree Magazine:

For introductions to the history and distribution of surnames:
David Hey, Family Names and Family History (Hambledon and London, 2000)
Richard McKinley, A History of British Surnames (Longman, 1990)
Colin D. Rogers, The Surname Detective (Manchester University Press, 1995)

On the ways in which surnames have changed over time:
George Redmonds, Surnames and Genealogy: A New Approach (reprint, 2001, Round Tower Books, PO Box 12407, Fort Wayne, IN 46863-2407, USA)

On the DNA approach:
Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve (Bantam Press, 2001)
Bryan Sykes, ed., The Human Inheritance: Genes, Language and Evolution (Oxford University Press, 1999)
Alan Savin, DNA for Family Historians (published by the author, 9 Bannard Road, Maidenhead SL6 4NG)

The first book to argue the single-family origins of many of our surnames was:
George Redmonds, Yorkshire West Riding (English Surnames Series, Phillimore, 1973)

The other books in the English Surnames Series are:
Richard McKinley, Norfolk and Suffolk Surnames in the Middle Ages (Phillimore, 1975)
Richard McKinley, The Surnames of Oxfordshire (Leopard's Head Press, 1977)
Richard McKinley, The Surnames of Lancashire (Leopard's Head Press, 1981)
Richard McKinley, The Surnames of Sussex (Leopard's Head Press, 1988)
David Postles, The Surnames of Devon (Leopard's Head Press, 1995)
David Postles, The Surnames of Leicestershire and Rutland (Leopard's Head Press, 1999)

The standard dictionaries of English surnames are:
P.H. Reaney and R. M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames (Oxford University Press, 1997)
Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames (Oxford University Press, new edn 1997)

For other countries in the British Isles:
Robert Bell, The Book of Ulster Surnames (Blackstaff Press, new edn 1997)
George F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland (Birlinn, 1996)
Edward MacLysaght, Surnames of Ireland (Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1991)
T.J. and Prys Morgan, Welsh Surnames (University of Wales Press, 1985)
John and Sheila Rowlands, The Surnames of Wales (Federation of Family History Societies, 1996)

On how to trace a family tree:
Anthony J. Camp, First Steps in Family History (Society of Genealogists, 3rd edn, 1998)
Jean Cole, Tracing Your Family Tree (Countryside Books, 3rd edn, 2000)
Mark D. Herber, Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History (Sutton Publishing, 1997)
David Hey, The Oxford Guide to Family History (Oxford University Press, 1998)
Explore Your Family's Past (Reader's Digest, 2000)

Magazines devoted to family history

Published bi-monthly by the Public Record Office; available on subscription from:
Ancestors, Wharncliffe Publishing Limited, The Drill Hall, Eastgate, Barnsley S70 2EU
Tel: 01226 734627
Or subscribe online at:

Computers in Genealogy
Published quarterly by the Society of Genealogists; available on subscription from:
Computers in Genealogy, The Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA
Tel: 020 7251 8799. Fax: 020 7250 1800
Or subscribe online at:

Family Tree Magazine
Practical Family History (aimed at beginners)
Both published monthly, from newsagents or on subscription from:
Family Tree Magazine, 61 Great Whyte, Ramsey, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE17 1HL
Tel: 01487 814050. Fax: 01487 711361
Or subscribe online at:
Family Tree Magazine also has a mail order and online book service.

Family History Monthly
Published monthly, from newsagents or on subscription from:
Family History Monthly, 43�45 St Mary�s Road, Ealing, London W5 5RQ

Journal of One-Name Studies
Published quarterly by the Guild of One-Name Studies, free to members or on sale at the Society of Genealogists and Public Record Office bookshops; for back numbers, see the Publications page on the Guild's website:

Origins of surnames | The Black Death | The distribution of surnames | Tracing your family tree | DNA
Books and magazines | Further information