This week I read an article about how some unusual surnames have died out. With low numbers a name can become unsustainable. My wife has an unusual maiden name where this could become a possibility, as the current population of her family surname is very low. So what about Daglish?
Since the start of civil registration in the UK in 1837 the number of registered births has consistently exceeded the number of registered deaths. From the start of civil registration in 1837 until 2005 there were 3,624 births and 2,219 deaths recorded.
Another measure is the UK census records. In the 1851 UK Census there is a total of 408 Daglishes listed, of which most were in Durham (198) and in Northumberland (150).
By the 1901 Census the total had increased to 764, with 364 in Durham and 257 in Northumberland. Other Daglish families were living in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumberland and, increasingly, in London.
After the First World War, the drift to other areas of the country increased, reflecting greater mobility.
There are some web sites which can searched for details of surname numbers and distribution.
One is Surname Profiler, which gives a comparison of the distribution of a particular surname in England, Wales and Scotland in 1881 and 1998. This is displayed in figures and on maps - the ones for Daglish are shown here.
The one shown above left is for 1881, showing the high concentration of the name in the counties of Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire. Purple is highest, followed by red and yellow. There were other Daglish families in Lancashire, Cumberland and in London - but these do not register on this particular map.
The second map, right, is for 1998. The highest numbers are still in the North East - but there is a much wider distribution throughout the country.
This spread can also be seen in libraries by looking at telephone directories - there are most entries in the directories for the North East, but there is usually at least one Daglish entry to be found in every directory.
Expressed in numbers, in 1881 there were 23 Daglishes per million names, which had risen to 25 per million in 1998. The ranking of the Daglish surname rose from 5592 in 1881 to 5472 in 1998.
The records also reflect a number of social trends.
One of the most striking is the decline in infant mortality. Comparing the 10 year period 1866-1875 with 100 years later (1966-1975), in 1866-75 39 infants died before their first birthday, and 10 more before the age of 2 (from a total of 141 deaths). One hundred years later there were only 2 deaths before the child's first birthday and no more before age 2 (total 137 deaths).
At the same time life expectancy has increased. In 1866-75, 18 people lived to be older than 70 (12.77%), with 5 of these reaching 80. 100 years later 83 people lived beyond 70 (60.59%), with 29 of these living beyond 80.
So it seems that, although unusual, the Daglish name is thriving - and there is no reason to be concerned for its continuing survival!
Extracts from the UK Daglish Births, Marriages and Deaths registers 1837 to 2005 can be searched in the Daglish Archive.