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).
OCCURRENCES IN THE 1881 CENSUS
ENGLAND AND WALES
Tomlin - 2,736
Thomlin - 14
Tomline - 59
Tomlyn - 93
Tomling - 23
Tomblin - 562
Tomplin - <10
Tomalin - 384
Tomlins - 622
Tomblins - 12
(Tomlinson - 14,060)