The distribution of the Smallwood name in the UK can be explored in several ways :

Historic distribution from the IGI

This is based on the occurrence of the Smallwood name relative to other names in each county in the UK, using the International Genealogical Index of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a source. This captures the approximate density of Smallwood births and marriages within each county from around 1600-1850. The highest density is found in Cheshire (about 0.35% of IGI entries), followed by Staffordshire and Warwickshire (about 0.20%), and then Leicestershire, North Yorkshire and Cumbria (about 0.07%). The name appears to have its strongest concentration in the West Midlands, with a satellite branch in North Yorkshire and Cumbria, and relatively thin distribution in the rest of the country apart from the south-east corner (London, Kent, Sussex, around 0.02%).

Historic distribution from civil registration

This could be based on the indices of Smallwood entries in the civil registers of births, marriages and deaths from 1837 to 2000 compiled by David Smallwood, possibly also reflecting data from his probate index. This is a potential area for future research, although suitable data to normalise for national population distribution will need to be found. An overview of the national occurrences of the Smallwood name in the GRO indices is attached.

Historic distribution in 1881

The 1881 census records 2788 Smallwoods across the UK, and their density relative to the overall population in given areas can be calculated from the 1881 census indices. Analysing by birthplace rather than place of residence (although there is still about a 90% overlap in 1881), the highest concentrations of the name occur in Warwickshire (0.075%), Flint (North Wales, 0.062%), Staffordshire (0.055%), Cheshire (0.046%), Worcestershire (0.041%) and Cumberland (0.038%) - a clear indication of the north-western origins of the name. Denbigh (North Wales, 0.017%), Sussex (0.013%) and Yorkshire (0.012%) come next, highlighting two of the main satellite branches (with 305 Smallwoods in Yorkshire but a relatively low density because of the high overall population). The concentration in North Yorkshire alone is probably more in line with the high concentration counties, although further research is needed on this point.

Current distribution

The absolute distribution of Smallwoods in the UK today can be observed from a combination of Burke's and Halbert's directories and national telephone books, which record a total of around 3850 across the country. Although this data is not normalised for population distribution by county, it tells a similar story to the historic data available so far. The largest concentrations of Smallwoods occur in the Cheshire, Lancashire and Staffordshire area (around 22% of the UK total), with large groups in the West Midlands (14%) and the North East, principally Yorkshire (15%). There is also a large concentration in London and the home counties (23%), although this would be diluted by normalisation for population density.


This page was last updated 16 March 2006 Return to main page >>>