Monday, 29 October 2012

The TIMMINS Surname Distribution in 1851

Following my experiences with Excel and Surname Atlas, recording the TIMMINS folk in the 1881 census, I now need to take this a step further.  Surname Atlas is only able to provide mapping for the 1881 census, so I have purchased GenMap which enables all sorts of distribution mapping.  My first project with GenMap is to discover how to make sense of the 1851 census, then to re-map the 1881 census to GenMap, this will then give me a standard method of presenting TIMMINS population distribution over the census years.

To begin I downloaded the 1851 data required with Outwit Hub from FindMyPast, I then loaded this into an excel spreadsheet.  The first task was to check all the 1329 TIMMINS matches for any obvious errors in the County Born and Parish Born columns.  It is these columns that I will use in GenMap for plotting the distribution.  The obvious transcription errors were soon rectified by using the AutoFilter on the said columns, then looking at the drop-down list for any issues.  West Bromwich was the biggest culprit AGAIN with 5 different spellings!  See one of my previous blogs about this!  The GENUKI site was a brilliant tool for sorting out the issues on identifying parishes and townships - highly recommended.

From the 1329 TIMMINS matches I now extracted only those individuals that were born with the surname, a total of 1073. These records were now copied into a separate worksheet within Excel to enable an easier conversion process.

With all the obvious errors corrected I now converted the Excel file into a dBase IV file, unfortunately GenMap does not accept Excel files.  This dbf file is now loaded into GenMap with the Import Wizard.  The result is not quite as I expected, the import log file tells me that there are many import errors!  Basically the GenMap Gazetteer failed to recognise a large number of parishes even though they were spelt correctly and in the correct county, I also found them manually in the Gazetter (very odd).  These parishes had to be manually input via the copy and update features in the Gazetteer.

I subsequently tried exporting Excel (2003) spreadsheets in every different format that GenMap recognised, then I imported them into GenMap.  Each import presented data error problems with some imports not recognising any counties at all!  Eventually through trial and error I found that the only way to import the data accurately was to use a Microsoft Access database file.  I created a new Access (2003) database then used the Get External Data command to drag the Excel file into a new Table.  This now imported perfectly into GenMap.
As many genealogists use Excel to store their data it is a pity that GenMap cannot import directly from an xls or csv file.
Below is my first GenMap surname distribution map for TIMMINS in 1851.  It depicts the location of birth for the people born with the TIMMINS name from the 1073 matches identified.


The cluster of dots in the centre this surname distribution map again confirms my previous conclusions, that the TIMMINS surname probably originates in the Dudley area of the West Midlands.

With the help of some Excel formulae we can now take a further look at the statistics obtained from the 1851 census.

                  Table1                                         Table 2                                       Table 3                                    Table 4

Table 1 - This shows the variants of the TIMMINS surname as defined by the search in FindMyPast.   This is an area of the study I shall expand on at a later date when I have more information.

Table 2 - Shows a breakdown of individuals born with the surname by the county born.

Table 3 - Is the number of individuals born with the surname but by parish born.

Table 4 - Is an age breakdown from the 1851 census of individuals born with the surname TIMMINS.


From another viewpoint - The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain lasted for about 100 years from c1750 to c1850, where changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had an impact on the movement of people. Workers tended to move away from their agricultural homelands to the new places of employment in the industrialised areas.  It would therefore be interesting to evaluate from this census the birthplaces of TIMMINS individuals who were born in the 18th century.

This census gives 65 individuals born before 1800.  Those born in Dudley amounted to 13 followed by Sedgley with 11.  These were the only two parishes in double figure births.  If you add the 5 born in Tipton then 29 of the 65 (nearly 50%) were born between 1766 and 1799 in the Dudley PLU (Poor Law Union).

My next objective is to produce a similar Surname Distribution Map for the 1881 census using GenMap.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

TIMMINS Surname Frequency Revisited!

Since my last blog post I have been busy collecting census data relating to the surname study. One area that interested me was the 1851 census as this is the earliest census to include place of birth. It was also 30 years earlier than the information I had written about to date (1881 census).

After downloading the 1851 census data relating to the Timmins' I started to produce statistics of birth locations for County and Parish. It was during this that the penny dropped - I had up to now been looking at ALL people with the surname, but what I should have been doing at this point, to determine the geographical origin, was to concentrate on people BORN with the surname. Hence some of the statistics that I had produced in previous blog posts were probably inaccurate. One obvious error is in the surname frequency table that I produced for the Searching for the Geographical Origin article.

The 1851 census spreadsheet that I produced from the downloaded data was easily adapted to exclude people not born with the surname - Widow in the Condition field; Wife, Mother and Mother-in-Law in the Relation field were all excluded via a filter. Interestingly when analysed further this amounted to roughly 19% of all Timmins' in each census year!

Since my previous data gathering exercise to produce a frequency table, FindMyPast had included Scottish records in their census collections. So version 2 of the table below now includes England, Scotland,  Wales, Channel Isles, Isle of Man, and Ships & Overseas Establishments, although the later two vary depending on census date.

Note - The 1841 census does not have a Condition or Relation field so the Born a Timmins figure is estimated (1108 - 19%)

A future development for this table is to include the Timmins' found in Ireland and Australia. If anyone is able to help with this, it would be much appreciated.  I also need to fill in the census gaps for USA and Canada.

As seen in the graph below there are a couple of dips in the number of Timmins recorded for both 1851 and 1891 census. It is not clear why this is the case. There are known issues with most of the census collections, I was surprised to see just how many missing records there are. You can see the complete list of issues for each census at FindMyPast Known Issues.


More light might be thrown on the dips by looking at the statistics for births and deaths of Timmins' in the preceding 10 years of each census. This however is research for another day!

I am now in the process of cleaning up the Timmins 1851 census data ready for use in some surname distribution maps - watch this space.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

10 Ways to Write West Bromwich!

In my last post on the TIMMINS surname I was left with an action to check if I could glean more information on birth locations from the FamilySearch web site, namely the 1881 census of England and Wales.  There are two possibilities for FamilySearch, either I use the old site which displays 200 entries at a time and gives a total hit of 2331 entries of the surname, or I use the new site which gives 2337 hits but only displays 20 entries at a time!

I decided to use the old site as it prevented RSI by requiring fewer mouse actions.  I used my old friend "Outwit Hub" to extract the data; this is now available as a standalone programme so no more dependency on the Firefox browser.  See below for 10% discount offer.

The following two images show the data as presented firstly by FamilySearch into the Outwit Hub add-on for Firefox (this is prior to using the extraction options);  and, secondly the extracted data, exported in Excel format, then manipulated in an Excel spreadsheet.

The search was for TIMMINS with exact match ticked.
Final Excel spreadsheet after a lot of data manipulation

For a better view, if you click on the images they should open in a larger window

One thing you will immediately notice is that Outwit Hub has extracted data that is not visible on screen! An excellent bonus.  Before I move on to analyse the results let's just see how I extracted the data. The following screen image is OH (Outwit Hub) before the export.


In OH I have moved to Tables under the Data option in the left hand panel.  I have filtered by Select Row if Col3 Contains timmins.  I have unticked the Clean Text option as we want all the data.  On Page Load I have selected Catch Selection and unticked Empty.  Columns 2 and 3 contain all the data that is in the final Excel spreadsheet.  Next move back to the web page by selecting Page in the left hand panel.  Go to the bottom of each page and select Next until you reach the bottom of the data, 2331 in this case.  OH will catch all the data.  Go back to the Tables page and select Export Excel in the On Page Load panel at the far right.  You can load the exported file into Excel and manipulate it as you see fit.

I won't go into the ways to manipulate the data as it could easily fill another lengthy blog post, and there are hundreds of different ways to do it!.  Ideally though you want to get the data in each cell into comma separated format, once you have this copy all the data into Notepad and save as a text file, then open the text file in Excel with the delimited option selected.   If you are an Excel guru then there are much more sophisticated ways to extract what you want using Functions and Visual Basic.

Before you start catching data it is a good idea to play around with Outwit Hub to see if more data is available by selecting other options in the left hand panel.  Look at the source option and check through the page using "Find:" input field, just type in what you are looking for e.g. Timmins - this shows no results.  I have previously tried this on a Find My Past page and discovered that there was additional information that did not show up on the screen.

Outwit Hub - If it want to try this program there is a free light version.
OutWit Hub breaks down Web pages into their different constituents. Navigating from page to page automatically, it extracts information elements and organizes them into usable collections.
 OutWit Hub Light is free and fully operational, but doesn’t include the automation features and limits the extraction to one or few hundred rows, depending on the extractor.
There are lots of on-line tutorials by the makers and users, some new tutorials now cover the more advanced features like Macros.

Now back to my TIMMINS surname investigations.
Having all the data in an Excel spreadsheet has enabled statistics heaven!!  But it has also highlighted lots of errors in my original investigation using Find My Past, which goes to show that you can't beat working with the original secondary source material, but even the LDS transcript has its anomolies.  For instance West Bromwich has been spelt 10 different ways?  The transcribers have been true to the original text but this does not help when you want to filter in/out certain data.
I noted that none of the commercial sites I tried appeared to have suitable filtering available to enable the results I wanted!
The statistics overall, albeit more accurate than my first pass on FMP, still tell the same story.
Dudley Parish still appears to be the most likely place of the surname origin

The 1881 census gives three fields for birth location -  Birth Place i.e. Parish; Birth County and Birth Country.   It is interesting to note that there were 83 census entries without a precise Birth Place; 74 of these did at least gave a county or country; with only 9 census entries having no birth location whatsoever.

Here is the data relating to the number of Timmins in each of the parishes within the three Poor Law Union boundaries of Dudley, Stourbridge and West Bromwich.  See previous blog post for  map of boundaries, also lists of parishes and townships in the PLU's.  (Note - Poor Law Union boundary is the same as the Registration District).  The % figure is the percentage of total Timmins' in  England and Wales.
Birth Place (Parish)            No   %
Dudley 269 11.97
Sedgley 157 6.98
West Bromwich 138 6.14
Tipton 113 5.03
Stourbridge 71 3.16
W Bromwich 59 2.62
Wednesbury 47 2.09
Oldbury 40 1.78
Halesowen 30 1.33
Kingswinford 29 1.29
Rowley Regis 26 1.16
Brierley Hill 17 0.76
Westbromwich 10 0.44
West Bromch 7 0.31
Brierly Hill 6 0.27
W.B. 6 0.27
Cradley 4 0.18
Oldswinford 3 0.13
W Brom 3 0.13
West Bromh 3 0.13
Lye 2 0.09
Amblecote 1 0.04
Dudley Port 1 0.04
Dudly Port 1 0.04
Quarry Bank 1 0.04
West Brom... 1 0.04
West Broml... 1 0.04
Westbromwichh 1 0.04



                                sub-total 1047 46.57
Total Birth Places Identified   2248
Total Surnames 2331
Blank Birth Place/Parish 83



Birth location other than parish  No  %
Cheshire 4 0.18
Cornwall 2 0.09
Cumberland 2 0.09
Shropshire 4 0.18
Other England 3 0.13
Ireland 48 2.14
Scotland 7 0.31
United States 3 0.13
Malta 1 0.04
No birth location entered 9 0.40



Total 83 3.69



Poor Law Unions  No  %
Stourbridge 1647.30
Dudley 567 25.22
West Bromwich 316 14.06

Conclusions:
There are 10 ways to spell West Bromwich!!
Despite the errors associated with birth place spellings, and missing birth place parishes on some census returns, the TIMMINS surname still appears to have its origins in the Dudley Parish.

Coming Next:
I am currently in the process of data extraction and formulating how to store it.
a) Getting the Timmins birth marriage and death info from FreeBMD, from 1837 to end 1841.
b) Extracting all the Timmins' from the 1841 census returns.
c) Finding all the Timmins (and possible variants) from the Dudley parish records, starting with IGI data.
d) Trial various programmes for suitability of storing and reporting on my One Name Study data.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A Midlands Origin for the TIMMINS Clan

This is a follow on post from Searching for the Geographical Origin which started the exploration of my own surname TIMMINS.  So far we have just considered the name as it is spelt now, ignoring the alternatives.  For this post I intend to continue down this path to see where in the UK that the name is most populous.  It is anticipated that this area will be the most likely origin of the surname.

In the last post we determined that three Poor Law Unions in the West Midlands had the majority of the surname distribution, that is TIMMINS living in the district, not those born there.  Out of the 2414 occurrences of the name 1580 (66%) are in the counties of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire; and of these 1136 (47%) lie in the Poor Law Unions of Dudley, West Bromwich and Stourbridge.  The largest cluster of 569 (24%) being in Dudley.

Now I want to find the birth parishes so we must first find the names of the locations that people would have given the Enumerators.  I covered some of this in a recent blog post British Settlements and the Census on my Ancestral Wormhole blog.

Using the book The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers  by Cecil R. Humphery-Smith I drew a map showing the parishes that make up the Poor Law Union boundaries:

Another resource for investigating the boundaries in England for Parishes, Poor Law Unions and more is the Historical Maps area at FamilySearch.  Here you are able to see the Jurisdictions of 1851, then using layers over Google Maps you are able to view where the various boundaries existed.

The definitive web page for understanding the parishes within registration districts in the UK and Ireland is on the GENUKI web site, so from here lets get the list of parishes and townships that go to make up the districts.
For anyone researching the UK, from outside the UK, the GENUKI web site is a great place to start.
Using the list of parishes found in Genuki I entered them into the Find My Past web site one by one in the "Birth place:" field, with TIMMINS in the "Last name:" field ("Include variants" un-ticked), with all other fields blank.

Stourbridge Registration District or Poor Law Union is made up of the following places (parishes & townships) in 1881.  There are 188 TIMMINS' resident in the district and 164 born here. The number in brackets after place is number born in said parish.
Amblecote [1]
Brierley Hill [23]
Cakemore [0]
Cradley [4]
Halesowen [30]
Hasbury [0]
Hawne [0]
Hill [0]
Illey [0]
Kingswinford [29]
Lapal [0]
Lutley [0]
Lye [2]
Oldswinford [3]
Quarry Bank [1]
Ridgacre [0]
Stourbridge [71]
Upper Swinford [0]
Wollaston [0]
Wollescote [0]

Dudley Registration District or Poor Law Union is made of the following places (parishes & townships) in 1881.  There are 568 TIMMINS' resident in the district and 564 born here.
The number in brackets after place is number born in said parish.
Dudley [268]
Dudley Castle Hill [0]
Rowley Regis [26]
Sedgley [157]
Tipton [113]

West Bromwich Registration District or Poor Law Union is made of the following places (parishes & townships) in 1881.There are 379 TIMMINS' resident in the district with 226 born here. TheNumber in brackets after place is number born in said parish.
Handsworth [0]
Oldbury [40]
Warley-Salop [0]
Warley-Wighorn [0]
Wednesbury [47]
West Bromwich [139]

ONS Statistics for 1881
To further clarify the above I decided to delve a bit deeper into the official statistics.  The number of people in the above are simply that, the number of  people with the TIMMINS surname recorded in that PLU.  So what if I look at the number of people with the surname as a percentage of the total population of the PLU.  Also lets look at the number density in relation to the area in acres.  I rated each of the three types of stats from 1 to 630 (630 being the no of PLU's) then extropolated the results into an average rating.  The results are in the table below.


Column Descriptions:
Actual No - The number of Timmins in the Reg Dist / Poor law Union (rated in No column)
RD Pop - Population of the individual Reg Dist / Poor Law Union
per 100,00 - The number of Timmins per 100,000 in the RD/PLU (rated in Pop column)
Area in Acres - Physical size of the RD in Acres
per 100 Acres - The number of Timmins per 100 acres in the RD (rated in Acre column)
Ratings highlighted in yellow are in the top ten.

Comments on the Results from the ONS Stats:
Dudley is clearly the centre of the TIMMINS population, followed by West Bromwich and Stourbridge, as per my previous conclusion.
Birmingham has the most in area density but is only 15th in population density.
Nine out of the top ten are either in the Midlands or North West of England.
Falmouth on the south coast is interesting with a small conclave which deserves a closer look.

So what can we determine from this exercise?
  • The parish of Dudley has by far the largest populous of the TIMMINS surname and is the best area to look deeper.
  • In my next blog I will cross check my findings at the old FamilySearch IGI web site to see if I can glean more detail from a wider 1881 census record search.
  • Then following this I will investigate the parish records for the churches in the Dudley Poor Law Union.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Searching For The Geographical Origin

This blog post is a re-work of an article I originally posted on my Ancestral Wormhole blog. Since I am now a member of the Guild of One Name Studies I decided to re appraise this article and add some new findings.

I originally thought it would be easy to research my TIMMINS surname - but how wrong can you be?  There are a large number of books and on-line articles speculating on the origin of the TIMMINS surname and the location it evolved from.  Not surprisingly they don't all agree!  There are also the variant or deviant spellings like TIMMONS and TIMMS (and many others).  I have made the decision at this early stage of the study to concentrate solely on the TIMMINS name and put the variants/deviants to one side until I have a better grasp of the project.

First I want to look at some concrete information on where the surname may have come from - the 1881 census of England and Wales  looks like a good place to start - or is it?    Doing an exact name search on Find My Past produced 2,335 matches.  The same search on Ancestry gave 2,391 whilst on FamilySearch I got 2,337 matches.  I chose the 1881 census as I presumed that all the transcriptions would be identical, also the Guild uses the 1881 as a base line to decide the size of the study.  So based on the number of surname matches this study is classed as a Medium by the Guild.

In addition to the above Ancestry was able to give a little more information as it also looks at the Scottish census - this added a further 62 names to the mix (new Ancestry total 2453).  Since I first produced this post Find My Past have also added Scotland, 84 names in fact, which also disagrees with Ancestry!

Just to give a wider perspective to the surname numbers and coverage I checked other census years and other geographies.  The table below shows the results, together with the sources of data.


You would think that computer databases these days could come up with precisely the same answer to a simple query.  Perhaps someone out there in blogger land can explain the differences.

To find the origin of a surname you really have to understand where a person was born rather than where they lived when the census was taken.  Another factor is that you need to look at the older people in the census as this this will give a view of what was happening to the population prior to the mass migration caused by the Industrial Revolution.  This is now starting to look too complicated a search for the likes of the usual suspects i.e. Find My Past, Ancestry and FamilySearch.

So come to the rescue rootsmap.com .  This is an on-line paid for service that provides a map and data matching the criteria I mentioned above.  So here we have it, with the added bonus of Scotland.  Note that if you click on an image you will get a higher resolution view. 


An advantage of the rootsmap.com web site is that it can also determine if there are any surname matches in Ireland; it uses the Griffith's Valuation 1847 -1864 to achieve the results.  Unfortunately my TIMMINS surname is not currently in their database.

I have other options to find out any Ireland/Eire Timmins':
  • FamilySearch - for Timmins born in Ireland between 1788 and 1860 there are 1031 matches.
  • Ancestry - for Timmins in the Griffiths Valuation gives 218 matches.
  • Ask About Ireland - the raw data for Timmins in Griffiths Valuation gives 263 matches; this search also includes the Landlord which skews the result, also it does not take into account one person renting more than one piece of land.
  • Irish Times - this gives a more precise figure of 121 matches, plus more valuable information on alternate names, also the households in each county and parish.
The Irish Times site is by far the best resource for searching any potential Irish surname connection.  So from the Irish Times:

The top 4 counties in Ireland for the Timmins surname are:
Carlow 37
Wicklow 21
Kildare 15
Cavan 10

Surname and alternative numbers are:
Timmins121
Timmons67
Timmon11
Timmin4
Timmonds1

Other alternative name given are: 
Timins, Timmans, Tymanns,  Ó Tiomáin (Wicklow), Mac Toimín (Mayo).

Leaving Ireland behind for a while I need to look at the more dense population of Timmins in the West Midlands (Staffordshire and Worcestershire) to see if I can narrow down the parishes they frequented.

I just happened to glance up at my CD genealogy collection and spotted a programme that I had forgotten about - Surname Atlas by Archer Software - I purchased it back in 2003, this is exactly what I need.  
"The British 19th Century Surname Atlas is a fully interactive CD-Rom product that allows you to plot floodfill-style distribution maps for all of the surnames and forenames found in the 1881 census of England, Scotland and Wales."
So I run the software and get 2,414 matches, not quite as many matches as Ancestry?  But here we have the Counties that I am interested in together with the data.


Next I want to display the results by Parish, it can't achieve this but it can provide the Poor Law Union breakdown.
"Poor Law Unions were set up in England & Wales following the passing of the Poor Law amendment Act in 1834. The same areas were also used for civil registration and the collection of the 19th century census. They generally contain between 5 and 20 (civil) parishes. The system was less well developed in Scotland and the program only supports mapping by poor law union for England & Wales" 

The density of Timmins' in the Dudley Poor Law Union would appear to indicate that the surname could have established itself here at an early stage.  More investigation into this will follow in my next blog post.

Just as I thought that I had finished another thought popped into my head "Google British Surnames".  Yet more information.................. rather than copy and paste it here I will let you click on the links and explore my surname further at these web sites.  In fact why not explore your own!

gbnames - the Great Britain Family Names Profiling website which presents the findings of a project based at University College London (UCL) that is investigating the distribution of surnames in Great Britain, both current and historic.

britishsurnames -  The British Surnames website. Here, you can find information on similar surnames, most common surnames, surname meanings and etymologies as well as discussing your name in the forum.  As the name suggests, this site primarily lists surnames commonly found in Britain, but many of these are found in other parts of the world as well - so even if you're not British, your name could well be in here! 

americansurnames - See how the name has spread.

canadasurnames - There is a town named Timmins in Ontario Canada - the following is courtesy of wikitravel, also see wikipedia
Timmins is a city in Northern Ontario with a population of nearly 43,000 (2006 census). The City stretches over approximately 2,961.52 km2 (1,840.20 sq mi) of land, making Timmins one of the largest cities in Canada land wise. Timmins was founded January 1, 1912 and is named after Noah Timmins, founder of the Hollinger Gold Mine. The gold rush of 1909 earned Timmins the nickname of the “City with the Heart of Gold”. The city is located in one of the richest mineral producing areas in the Western Hemisphere. It is a leader in the production of gold and base metals. Main attractions are mining tours, outdoor recreation and the Shania Twain Centre.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope you found it interesting.  Please leave comments below, or you can email me direct.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Welcome to the TIMMINS One Name Study

Welcome to my new genealogy blog. This is the place where I will be recording the journey into the one name study of my TIMMINS surname.  I will still keep the existing Ancestral Wormhole blog for my general family history, however items relevant to the ONS (one name study) will be copied over, thus keeping all ONS documentation together in one place.

A bit of background - I have been researching my family history since 1997, starting with my grandparent's names of: TIMMINS, HAYES, WILLIAMS and BENYON, then slowly working through the generations until brick walls started to appear. During the research I became very interested in my own surname, mainly as it appeared to be rare particularly in the area which I lived (Cheshire). The interest in family history subsequently developed into a blog where I could post facts about my research, hopefully encouraging potential cousins to get in touch. Over the years I have acquired a number of unconnected TIMMINS families which I have now decided would help start a One Name Study.

It is early days and I'm just commencing my journey, there are many decisions to make, such as: how wide should the ONS coverage be, what software to use, how to publish data, and then there is all the data to collect.  My first decision though was whether or not to join the Guild of One Name Studies and to officially register the surname.  No one had registered the surname with the GOONS to this point.  However a genealogy friend at Steers ONS convinced me that I was doing the research anyway so why not join up?  So here I am starting my journey which I hope you will follow.

The information here is rather sparse at the moment and you might find some repetition from my Guild Profile, but I will build this up over the coming months.  I have lots of ideas all spinning round in my head they just need harnessing and ordering into some form of Project Plan, which should not be beyond someone who was a Programme Manager at one point in his career!

So to make life easy for me at the start of my ONS adventure I have decided to restrict research by not registering any Deviants (spelt wrong or heard wrong) or Variants (extinct) to the TIMMINS surname.  I will come back to these once I have a better understanding of the surname origins.  My first stab at the surname origins can be found on my Guild Profile, or just go to the Origins Tab on this blog.

I will also be restricting my initial research to England and Wales but I would be pleased to hear from anyone researching the name. I will respond to all enquires and I will be delighted to assist where possible.