Most surname variants have come about as a result of local dialects and the interpretation of their spelling by the parish clerks and others. Subsequent transcription errors have added to these. Also, another source is the abbreviation of the original name which then becomes the standard.

Using the surname 'Tomlin' as the example, the following names have evolved by different phonetic interpretation :-

  • Tomlin / Thomlin
  • Tomlin / Tomline
  • Tomlin / Tomlyn
  • Tomlin / Tomling
  • Tomlin / Tomblin / Tomplin
  • Tomlin / Tomalin
  • Tomlin / Tomlins

There, of course, combinations of the above e.g. Tomlin / Tomblins

The registered variants in this study are :-

Tomlins, Tomblin, Tomalin, Tomlyn, Tomling & Tomblins

These are in order of occurrences in the 1881 England Census (see insert).

The study is not limited to these alone as there are many others. Where these occur, they will be included in the study retaining their unique spelling.

In ‘The Oxford Names Companion’ there are listed over 150 variants world-wide of the original name of which ‘Tomlin’ is itself a variant


The variant ‘Tomlinson’ is not included in this study as these by far outnumber ‘Tomlin’ and is, perhaps, worthy of its own One-Name Study.

(Cf. From 1881 England Census – Tomlin approx. 2,700 / Tomlinson approx. 14,100).





Tomlin - 2,736

Thomlin - 14

Tomline - 59

Tomlyn - 93

Tomling - 23

Tomblin - 562

Tomplin - <10

Tomalin - 384

Tomlins - 622

Tomblins - 12

(Tomlinson - 14,060)