One-Name Study or Not

Before I started the project I reviewed the information available to the public on both The Guild of One-Name Studies and The Surname Society; I am now a member of both because of the invaluable advice available and the helpful nature of the other members.

Given the British background of the Guild of One-Name Studies, it has become accepted wisdom that a study based upon a surname with between 500 and 1,000 lives in the British 1881 census is easily doable (read more). Using the British 19th Century Surname Atlas (version 1.20 © Archer Software, 2003-2015) I was able to determine the size of the task ahead; in total 1,314 lives including all possible variants.

Produced by Archer Software - click to enlarge
Map of the 1881 Census distribution by County

The Pepperrell surname, including the possible variants found by the software, appears to be spread throughout England with the odd outposts in Wales, Jersey and Guernsey.

However using the main genealogy websites that I have an account with to search the 1881 UK Census, including nicknames and common spelling variations in the results, produces the following results:

Findmypast : 972 when I used wildcards in the surname (P*p*r*l)

MyHeritage : 1,097 after removing the Beverleys, Webberleys, etc.

TheGenealogist : 647 — perhaps their phonetic setting is different and they do not allow wildcards in the middle of a surname.

So the basis for my research will be the 1881 Census Surname & variants/deviants distribution by Country/County (.pdf) that I created from the results extracted from the Archer Software. In the document I have used Chapman Codes to identify the Country/County.