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Thread: People With Norman Names Wealthier Than Other Britons

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    Junior Member Aelred's Avatar
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    Default People With Norman Names Wealthier Than Other Britons

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...r-Britons.html

    People with Norman names wealthier than other Britons
    By Richard Savill 6:50PM BST 03 Apr 2011


    People with "Norman" surnames like Darcy and Mandeville are still wealthier than the general population 1,000 years after their descendants conquered Britain, according to a study into social progress.

    Research shows that the descendants of people who in 1858 had "rich" surnames such as Percy and Glanville, indicating they were descended from the French nobility, are still substantially wealthier in 2011 than those with traditionally "poor" or artisanal surnames. Artisans are defined as skilled manual workers.

    Drawing on data culled from official records that go back as far as the Domesday Book as well as university admissions and probate archives, Gregory Clark, a professor of economics at the University of California, has tracked what became of people whose surnames indicated their ancestors had come from either the aristocratic or artisanal classes.



    By studying the probate records of those with rich and poor surnames every decade since the 1850s, he found that the extreme differences in accumulated wealth narrowed over time.

    But the value of the estates left by those belonging to the rich surname group, immortalised in the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy, in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, were above the national average by at least 10 per cent.

    In addition, today the holders of "rich" surnames live three years longer than average. Life expectancy is a strong indicator of socio-economic status.

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    Progressive Collectivist Agrippa's Avatar
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    Well, while the social injustice and false inequality is surely big in Britain, one has also to consider social selection, as it is much more likely that those which came and how they breed genetically and memetically afterwards was above average of the population too. I wouldn't even wonder if they are racially more progressive on average too, but actually that's what I would expect.

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    Research shows that the descendants of people who in 1858 had "rich" surnames such as Percy and Glanville, indicating they were descended from the French nobility, are still substantially wealthier in 2011 than those with traditionally "poor" or artisanal surnames. Artisans are defined as skilled manual workers.
    Having a surname of Norman origin doesn't necessarily indicate Norman ancestry. In fact, the majority of British bearing Norman surnames wouldn't descend from Norman nobility. Remember that the Normans brought the concept of "hereditary surnames" to England and even then, they weren't in general use until the 13th century. It was common for people to adopt a surname from the area in which they lived... and placenames were often named after their landowners; so, for example, a Norman landowner may have given his name to the lands he owned, (a village may also have been named after him) and then the people who lived in the area would take on that Norman placename as their surname too (even though they were not related to the Norman landowner).

    This is of interest too...

    Most Saxon and early Celtic personal names - names such Oslaf, Oslac, Oswald, Oswin and Osway ('Os' meaning God) - disappeared quite quickly after the Norman invasion. It was not fashionable, and possibly not sensible either, to bear them during those times, so they fell out of use and were not often passed on as surnames.

    Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/familyh...names_01.shtml
    So which surnames did these early Saxons and Celts take on? Well, the fashion of the day was clearly anything Norman.

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    Progressive Collectivist Agrippa's Avatar
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    From that perspective, one has to consider who used second names at all. Obviously the "better off" people had more reasons and adopted surnames earlier again...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    From that perspective, one has to consider who used second names at all. Obviously the "better off" people had more reasons and adopted surnames earlier again...
    Well, surnames became manditory when the poll tax was introduced in England in 1379, but even before this, surnames among the general population were common enough.

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    Progressive Collectivist Agrippa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Bryant View Post
    Well, surnames became manditory when the poll tax was introduced in England in 1379, but even before this, surnames among the general population were common enough.
    Another turn then, who do you think would be "more fashionable" and even caring for a surname to fit into certain expectations? A peasant which just "got his name" or someone who wanted to "represent something".

    I think it is pretty clear, no matter how one tries to turn it, the social uppers will always be more likely to have ended up with a Norman name than the lower ones, from the immigration of a specially selected group of people, I mean bondslaves were not the majority of Norman immigrants, to the fashionable and representative character of the surnames.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    Another turn then, who do you think would be "more fashionable" and even caring for a surname to fit into certain expectations? A peasant which just "got his name" or someone who wanted to "represent something".

    I think it is pretty clear, no matter how one tries to turn it, the social uppers will always be more likely to have ended up with a Norman name than the lower ones, from the immigration of a specially selected group of people, I mean bondslaves were not the majority of Norman immigrants, to the fashionable and representative character of the surnames.
    The argument was that British people bearing surnames of Norman origin are descendants of Norman (or I think it said "French" in the article, specifically) nobility. This is most often not the case, regardless of why they took on Norman surnames to begin with. The bottom line is that Britons and Anglo-Saxons often adopted Norman surnames and they far outnumbered Normans in England at the time.

    As it happens, my surname is of Norman origin and I can assure you that my Dad's side of the family were nothing of "social uppers".

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    Senior Member Oreka Bailoak's Avatar
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    The argument was that British people bearing surnames of Norman origin are descendants of Norman (or I think it said "French" in the article, specifically) nobility. This is most often not the case, regardless of why they took on Norman surnames to begin with.
    Can I see where you got this information from?

    My last name is not the name of any place in england but of a word in the old Norman language, and of a famous family of nobility in France that owned land in England. In the doomsday book the only people with this name were Norman nobility who were landowners in Norfolk.

    As it happens, my surname is of Norman origin and I can assure you that my Dad's side of the family were nothing of "social uppers".
    The article just says that on average people with Norman names make more money. So I'm sure there's plenty of poor Normans- just not as many as non-Norman surnames probably.

    I wonder what percentage of Norman surnames live in London where the income should be greater compared to the percentage of non-Norman names that don't live in London (or major cities).

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    Inactive Account Loddfafner's Avatar
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    It looks like interesting evidence for some long-term stability in English class structure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oreka Bailoak View Post
    Can I see where you got this information from?
    The information is common knowledge. You can start with the link I provided under the quote I used above and then do a search on the history of surnames England, if you like.


    Quote Originally Posted by OB
    My last name is not the name of any place in england but of a word in the old Norman language, and of a famous family of nobility in France that owned land in England. In the doomsday book the only people with this name were Norman nobility who were landowners in Norfolk.
    I've found in my own genealogical research that its often impossible to tell if that branch of your ancestry was originally Brythonic, Anglo-Saxon or Norman when we're speaking of so long ago. I hit a brick wall when trying to determine the origins of an ancestor of mine, Robert de Ainsworth (b. 1175 - first named in a charter in 1212), since while the name "de Ainsworth" would imply a Norman origin, Norman names were sometimes given to prominent Anglo-Saxon or Brythonic families if they were granted lands by the Normans (as was often done. Not all landowners were Norman. Take into account that not many Normans migrated to England, afterall).

    However, matters become even less sure if you haven't traced a direct line all the way back to an ancestor from Norman times. Who knows where your family may have picked up your surname? It wasn't necessarily inherited. Surnames have been highly changeable over the centuries, although these days being more stable, of course. My surname apparently comes from this chap: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_de_Mortimer But it would be very difficult for me to find out if he's actually an ancestor of mine, or if my family just picked up the name somewhere over the centuries (perhaps my ancestors worked for a family named Mortimer at one time and they took on their surname out of respect or favour? Etc. I can't determine.)


    All of this "people bearing Norman surnames are more successful" rubbish smacks of typical English pretentiousness to me.

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