MyMap plots the geographical distribution of your surname in England, Wales and Scotland, and is a popular tool for locating its historical origin.
The data used to compile your MyMap is taken from the 1881 Census. This is the earliest census to have been transposed into manageable maps, and is therefore more likely than present-day distributions to reveal the historical origins of a surname. This version was complied by Steve Archer.
MyMap shows two geographical distributions by county. The first is a relative frequency map which shows the number of occurrences per 100,000 inhabitants while the second shows absolute numbers. Historical origins in rural areas are more likely to be correctly located in the relative frequency maps as they are less distorted by the high populations of very large towns.
Also included in the MyMap package is a high resolution map based on Poor Law Unions. Beginning in the 16th century, parishes in England assumed partial responsibility for the poor and destitute who lived among them. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, which also applied to Wales, allowed parishes to club together into Poor Law Unions, which gradually became administrative divisions with many other uses, including national censuses.
Poor Law Union (PLU) distribution maps have a higher resolution than county maps, so give a more precise location to help you locate the historical origins of a surname.
Although Scotland and Ireland also passed Poor Laws, they did not amalgamate parishes into Unions.