UCL News


Nguyen a surprise frontrunner in mix of new and old Australian names

5 September 2006

Analysis of the international spread of family names has revealed Nguyen is the seventh most common surname in Australia after Smith, Jones, Williams, Brown, Wilson and Taylor.

Michael Dove, managing director of Melbourne-based company MD&A, which assisted a study on surnames by UCL, said of the top 20 Australian names originating from outside the British Isles, all but three were Asian. …

Mr Dove said the dominance of Asian names compared to those from other countries with large populations of migrants in Australia could be explained by the fact that many Asian surnames were extremely common in Asia, while there was more of a range of surnames in Europe.

For example, Greek, Greek Cypriot and Italian names are often tied to a particular village or region, while Nguyen is used widely throughout Vietnam. …

Cornish names, while not numerically strong in Australia, are well-represented here compared with the United Kingdom.

A total of 39 Cornish names are more common in Australia than they are in the UK. …

Professor Richard Webber led the study with Pablo Mateos [UCL Geography] looking at 20,000 common surnames using electoral records and census data.

Professor Webber said the prevalence of Cornish names in South Australia reflected the fact that many people migrated because of economic and geographical factors. …

'The Gold Coast Bulletin' (Australia)