British 19th Century Surname Atlas

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Display & print surname distribution maps based on the 1881 census of England, Scotland and Wales.

The Surname Atlas compact disc by Archer Software displays maps showing the historical distributions of all surnames and given names found in the 1881 census of England, Scotland and Wales.

Data from the maps can be plotted by county in Scotland and by county or poor law union for England and Wales. By producing a chart of surname origins for a poor law union the location of surnames can be narrowed down to a few parishes.


  • The distribution of the surname for a colonial immigrant to America can provide clues to what part of England, Scotland or Wales a person may have come from.
  • Check the possibility that a family migrated from another part of the British Isles. This may be inferred when birth or christening information can not be found for a person in the area where they married, raised their family and died. Search the surname atlas for the name you are searching and also use information for variant spellings.

Where to find it

  • The Surname Atlas is available for purchase from Archer Software at
    • The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has the program available on their patron computers.