Students who have undertaken the Pharos Introduction to One-Names Studies course will have heard me mention numerous times the website Public Profiler and perhaps if they were very lucky even heard me relay this story!
Just before the last course started, I went through and checked the various links and added a few bits into the course material. For some reason I went to World Family Names Profiler and inserted the surname of Orlando. Quite why I did, I don’t know because I have done it before, numerous times! The map displayed and I have included it below
I noticed to my amazement the patch of colouration over India. Public Profiler allows you to drill down a bit further so you can see the region where the surname appears, like this
Armed with the name of the region which happens to be Maharastra I did a quick Google search to find out about the area. Maharastra came under British rule from 1818, first under East India Company and then from 1858, the Crown. Not getting very far, I turned to FamilySearch
Searching for Orlando in India revealed four results, one Orlando which was a death in 1869 in Barrackpore, Bengal, India, two of the results related to the surname of Orland which I discounted and the other Urlando which I found curious, for no particular reason.
I then put the surname of Urlando through the map at Surname Profiler and was surprised at the results.
Low results in Australia, United States, Europe, India and China, Low results in Canada, but more than the United States, and Italy had a high concentration.
From just this one action of looking at the frequency of the surname, I have found an instance of the surname in India, been surprised by another surname, which may or not be a variant, which we talk about later this month, revisited the map for the output of the surprise surname. I have a hunch that I might explore the surprise surname a little more because I cannot resist a mystery and I will also explore records in China. Not to mention I still need to explore the Orlando & Italian connection to Maharastra.
I then went to my trusty Italian mapping site, Gens.info and inserted the surname of Urlando feeling sure that there would be a concentration of the surname there. Wrong!
Such low instances of the surname in Italy I find surprising, either the map is way off, the surname is dying out, the surname hails from elsewhere or Urlando is perhaps a variant. I need to do more investigation on the Urlando surname and see where that leads.
The distribution of a surname is an integral part of a One-Name Study. It enables us to explore other elements, bring a different dimension to a study. It enables you to explore migration patterns which you can then align with other historical events for example.
As a number of other Guild members can attest I am sure, those genealogists with a One-Name study, are never be genealogically bored!
More details and information about surname distribution maps is covered in the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course.