I’ve been amusing myself for the last few minutes by looking up family names on this website, as commended by Robert Crampton in yesterday’s Times magazine. Very interesting, especially to see how some names were restricted to specific areas of the country in 1881 and have, since then, migrated all over the place. My own maiden name was well represented in the South-East then and now is not recorded – they need at least 100 people with that surname on the electoral register to be in their database. I suspected this, but it caused me a surprising pang to have it confirmed.
So I googled the name to cheer myself up and, to my surprise, found that there is a portrait of my great-great-great grandfather in the National Portrait Gallery. This is not as interesting as it sounds, as he is just one of the sitters for The House of Commons, 1833
by Sir George Hayter, along with several hundred other MPs of the time…I started to count the list of names but got bored at about 150 and gave up. I don’t expect g-g-g-grandad will be easy to pick out in that crowd, so I don’t suppose I’ll look the picture out when I next visit.