Yorkshire surnames: How to tell if your surname comes from Yorkshire
If you have one of these unusual surnames in your family tree, it's a sign that your family came from God's own country
The historic county of Yorkshire has been influences by Celts, Romans, Angles and Vikings, and many Yorkshire dialect words and aspects of pronunciation derive from old Norse. For example 'Thwaite' comes from the old Norse for 'Meadow' and is found as a name in its own right and at the end of names such as Braithwaite. In the Industrial Revolution, the West Riding became the second most important manufacturing area in the United Kingdom. Many of us have ancestors from Yorkshire – if you have one of these surnames in your family tree, it could show that you have a connection to ‘God’s own country’.
This name is derived from the Old English words ac meaning ‘oak’ and rod meaning ‘clearing’.
This surname might be associated with Ainley Top, a village near Huddersfield.
Alderson is a relationship name from the Middle English personal name Aldus and the word ‘son’.
Atkinson is also a relationship name from the personal name Atkin which was a pet form of Adam.
This is a habitational name from Barrowclough near Halifax, which combines the Old English words for grove and ravine.
This name has the same root as the surname Berwick (from the Old English for an outlying grange or farm), but this form of spelling was more common in North Yorkshire.
Although found throughout Yorkshire, Blands are particularly prevalent in the districts of Clayton, Keighley and Scarborough.
This locative name comes from Bulmer in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.
This is a locative name from a place in Rishworth.
This is a habitational name from North Yorkshire and Lancashire.
This name is taken from Crosland in Almondbury.
This name originates in Over Dinsdale and Low Dinsdale, which are on opposite sides of the Tees.
Heckmondwike, which today is part of the metropolitan borough of Kirklees, was historically a hotspot for the surname Exley.
In the 1881 census records this name was most common in Haworth, Keighley and Thornton, all in Bradford. It originates from the Middle English for father.
Although most common in North Yorkshire, the name comes from the place Featherstone in West Yorkshire.
This habitational name comes from the hamlet Hainworth, near Bradford.
Hardakers pop up all over Yorkshire in the 1881 census, although Horton in Bradford, Idle, Leeds, Eccleshill and Yeadon are the main local hotspots.
Widespread throughout the north of England, Hodgson comes from the Middle English personal name Hodge – itself a pet form of Roger.
Knaggs is a topographic surname for someone whose home was by or near a rugged hill or an outcrop.
This topographic name for someone who lived in a long valley is relatively common throughout the county.
This habitational name is most commonly found in West Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Yorkshire had over 5,500 Metcalfes in 1881.
In the 1881 census this name crops up in the Rotherham registration district.
The surname Ogley can be found frequently in Barnsley, as well as wider Yorkshire.
Oldroyd is a habitational name that derives from a number of places throughout the north of England.
This is the Yorkshire variant of Pullen, which was an occupational name for a horse-breeder or a nickname for someone frisky. It comes from the Old French word poulain meaning ‘colt’.
This Yorkshire surname was originally a medieval nickname for someone who was blessed with business smarts.
The late Sheffield historian David Hey once suggested that a farm named Stonyford in Ecclesfield could be the origin of this South Yorkshire surname.
Although found all over the UK, there are concentrations of Stephensons in County Durham and East Yorkshire.
This habitational name derives from a village in the East Riding that was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the name ‘Wachetone’.
Many Doncaster locals recorded in the 1881 census went by this toponymic surname, which is thought to be derived from Welbourn in Lincolnshire.
Rosemary Collins is the features editor for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine