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There is perhaps room for a new history of British surnames since Bardsley and Harrison published their works on the subject. Mr. Ewen has given his history a wider scope than Bardsley and has brought into use much new material. Obviously the â€œHistoryâ€œ has been a labour of love, and there is an inclination to overload it with matter, industriously collected, which has not much direct bearing on the subject in hand and is not always culled from the best authorities. Apart from this criticism, however, Mr. Ewen has given us a work which will be of considerable value to the genealogist and to a lesser extent to the anthropologist. Although the history of personal names has not the scientific value of its sister study of place names, yet much can be learnt by a cautious use of it to show the migrations of races and the settlements of groups of immigrants from other lands, the prevalence of industries in particular districts and the distribution of dialect. But the mobility of the human race and the change of surnames necessitate the greatest care in its use for these purposes. Mr. Ewen has recognised this difficulty and so has wisely emphasised the genealogical value of his study. Of not the least importance is the bibliography given at the end of the volume, which appears to be most comprehensive.
English Edition, Paperback
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