Surname Distribution in the British 1881 Census

The Guild of One-Name Studies, of which Phil is a member, completed a project to map registered surnames appearing in the 1881 census index produced by the Church of LDS. Phil extracted all instances of Sherwood, Sharwood, Shearwood and Sheerwood, and the resulting distribution density is shown in this map. 
The density values for each county were calculated as the ratio of number in county to population of county divided by the ratio of total number to population of Britain in 1881. Thus if the occurrence is average the density is 1.0 The density varied from zero for some counties e.g.. Cornwall to 5 for Berkshire. The total number for all variants was 4,085 of whom  58 were Sharwood,  158 Shearwood and  17 Sheerwood. Sharwood mainly occurred in Kent, London & Northampton. I did not included Sher(r)ard and Sharrard which has a different origin and distribution, although doubtless some Sherwoods were enumerated under these names. 
London had the highest number 647 closely followed by Yorkshire with 616, but because of their high population the density was only 1.2 and 1.6 respectively. The main conclusion is that our surname was (and still is according to phone books) clustered in the Home Counties around London, with other large clusters in Yorks, Norfolk and Worcs. This distribution is in broad agreement with those found in the GRO indexes from 1837 and the IGI. Certainly the Sherwoods do not appear to have spread out from Nottingham Forest! Like other toponymic surnames such as Wood, our surname probably sprung up independently in several different places. (Scir-wood, dweller in the bright wood or shire wood). Statistics for the highest density counties were:


No. out of 4,085





3.6 5.0
Worcestershire 171 4.2 3.3
Oxfordshire 74 1.8 3.0
Radnor 9 0.2 2.8
Dorset 71 1.7 2.7
Northamptonshire 91 2.2 2.4
Shropshire 79 1.9 2.3
Norfolk 139 3.4 2.3
Kent 196 4.8 2.1


Sherwoods in the US 1880 Census on CD
Recently I had the opportunity to search the LDS indexes of the 1880 census for the USA on CD-ROM. As for the British 1881 Census, families can be displayed in as-enumerated order, but in addition it is possible to search by Gender and Race (White, Black, Mulatto, Asian or Native American). I was amazed to find 8,545 Sherwoods (over twice as many as in the British 1881 census) of which 182 were of Black race, 39 Mulatto, and 3 Native American Indians in Washington & California. 154 gave birthplace as England of whom 81 were male, 73 were born in Ireland and 16 in Scotland. Most (3,402) lived in the Atlantic States Region, followed by 806 in New England and 433 in the Cumberland Region. 473 lived in New York City, 1,834 in upstate NY, 123 in NJ, 54 in Delaware, 582 in CT (where the earliest Sherwoods settled in 1634), 118 in MA and 170 in Texas. Presumably most of the Sherwoods of black race were ex-slaves who took their name from their owners?
 I have a Word or Excel file containing all Sherwoods listed in the National Index if anyone would like a copy. These CDs are definitely a 'must have' for American Sherwoods.

Sherwood Baptisms on the IGI for Yorkshire

This map shows the three Ridings of Yorkshire, North, West and East centred on York. The diameters of circles are proportional to the number of baptisms at each place listed on the IGI, and are colour-coded for 4 time periods: Red- before 1601, Yellow 1601-1700, Blue 1701-1800, and Green 1801-1900. In early times the name was concentrated in the W & E Ridings, but after 1701 was more concentrated in the N Riding between Northallerton & the River Tees. The county has one of the largest clusters of the name in England.

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