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Where & When ... Temporal & Geographic Distribution

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Where and When - Temporal & Geographic Distribution

Armed with our list of variants, we can now explore how frequently these names occur in present day and historical records and by so doing obtain an idea of the distribution of the name and its variants in time and place. Analysing the distribution of surnames over time can give us an idea of possible migration patterns that may tie up with known events from our own family histories. In some instances it may be possible to deduce that current populations may all arise from a single individual or group of related families. For examples, all Spierins in Dublin today are likely to be descended from my ggg grandfather, Patrick Spierin (1802-1872).

IRELAND

Temporal Distribution in Ireland - 1850 to present day

Which Spearin variants became the dominant name over time? And where were they most concentrated? The table below gives a crude idea of the frequency of selected variants in Ireland from the time of Griffith's Primary Valuation to the present day. There is some double counting of heads of household in Griffith's and the census values represent all family members rather than heads of households, so we are comparing apples with pears. Nevertheless, certain broad conclusions can be drawn from this comparison.

Name \ Source

Griffith's Primary Valuation (1848-1864) [1]

1901 census [2]

1911 census [3]

Eircom online telephone book 2011 [4]

Spierin

0

20

27

7

Speiran

0

8

12

3

Sperin

0

5

6

5

Spearing

34

13

26

0

Spearin

1

9

12

1

Speirin

0

0

0

0

Sperrin

0

4

1

2

Spearan

1

0

0

0

Spearman

17

64

45

11


Spearing was the most common variant in the mid-1800's but seems to have completely disappeared from modern Ireland (although it could be that some residual Spearing's are ex-directory). Spearman was the second most common name, showing a possible increase in frequency by 1901 followed by a gradual decline. The pattern of names was similar in the 1901 and 1911 censuses with Spearman, Spierin and Spearing being the most frequent, followed by Speiran and Spearin.

But where are all the other Spearin variants that we identified from our trees? Is it the case that they had left the country by the time of Griffiths Valuation? Or did they die out over time? Or did other variants only arise after emigration? Or were these deviants rather than variants?

Geographical Distribution in Ireland - present day

Half of the modern day variants are located in Dublin and surprisingly few remain in Limerick, the putative county of origin of all Irish Spearin's. Of interest, the Sperrin mountains lie between Counties Derry and Tyrone but the variant Sperrin does not appear in either of these counties.

Name / County

Spierin

Speiran

Sperin

Spearing

Spearin

Speirin

Sperrin

Spearan

Spearman

TOTAL

Carlow

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Cavan

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Clare

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

1

Cork

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

2

Donegal

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

-

-

1

Dublin

6

1

5

-

-

-

1

-

2

15

Galway

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Kerry

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Kildare

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

Kilkenny

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Laois

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Leitrim

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Limerick

-

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2

Longford

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

1

1

Louth

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3

3

Mayo

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Meath

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Monaghan

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Offaly

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Roscommon

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sligo

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Tipperary

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3

3

Waterford

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Westmeath

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Wexford

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Wicklow

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Antrim

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Armagh

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Derry

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Down

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Fermanagh

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Tyrone

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

TOTAL

7

3

5

0

1

0

2

0

11

29

Source: online eircom residential telephone book, accessed 24th March 2011 at http://www.eircomphonebook.ie/

Maurice Gleeson, April 2011


[4] http://www.eircomphonebook.ie/. Accessed 24 Mar 2011




What to do now?

Please feel free to email us suggestions, modifications and additions to this page. Specific areas where you could help include:

  1. Do you know any additional interesting facts or links that could go on this page?
  2. If you have access to present day electoral rolls for Ireland, why not repeat the Temporal Distribution calculations using that source?
  3. The Temporal Distributions could be refined by only counting heads of household in each source.
  4. The Geographical Distribution calculations could also be repeated using different sources including:

Copyright 2011 (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~spearinAll Rights Reserved.  Creative Commons License
The Spearin Surname Project at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~spearin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Information and data obtained from the Spearin Surname Project must be attributed to the project as outlined in the Creative Commons License. Please notify administrator when using data for public or private research. 

Last update: April 2011

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