Call for Papers: Special Issue of Genealogy “Family Names: Origins, History, Anthropology and Sociology”

From Prof. Dr. Richard Coates:

Dear Colleagues,

We propose to jointly guest-edit a Special Issue of the online periodical Genealogy on the topic of Family Names and Naming. This is a call for papers.

Relatively little is published globally on this topic. We therefore consider that it would be timely to bring together contributions from as many as possible of the different disciplines which have an established or potential professional interest in personal naming at the family level: linguistics/onomastics, lexicography, history, genealogy, social psychology, anthropology, human biology, genetics, computer science and AI, marketing, etc.,  and from as many geographical, linguistic and cultural areas as possible. Much published work involving family names is genealogical (therefore highly specific) and lexicographical (therefore essentially summarizing a current state of historical knowledge).

Seeing just how little is published in comparison with work in toponymy, given-naming and business and institutional naming, for example, we consider that a useful step would be to bring together work of disparate types without a single overarching theme in order to expose scholars in the various fields to the full richness of current thinking about family names and possible directions for further research and cross-disciplinary collaboration. For the purposes of this issue, the Guest Editors will understand “family name” (or “surname”) to include names which perform an analogous role in a range of cultures, such as patronyms and metronyms, clan names, nasab and nisba, etc.—any name, in fact, which explicitly positions the individual within a larger social structure. Lack of family name is also a topic of interest. The Guest Editors will be pleased to consider submissions from any disciplinary area, whether oriented to history, praxis or theory, but will look especially favourably on papers that endeavour to make links across conventional disciplinary boundaries or seek to establish new methodological approaches to the study of family names. We expect submissions may fall into five broad areas:

  1. Projects and methods in family name research;
  2. Systematic aspects of family names and naming;
  3. Linguistic aspects of family names and naming;
  4. Praxis in relation to family naming;
  5. Studies relating to individual family names (in which the focus should be on the  name itself rather than on wider genealogical matters).

We offer a range of references below as an indication of some of the directions that might be followed by contributors, but without seeking to limit submissions to predefined topic areas.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words, in English, summarizing their intended contribution, within one month of this call for papers. Please send it to the Guest Editors ( and or to Genealogy editorial office ( Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

For those for whom it is relevant, the policy of Genealogy on article fees is set out at:

We look forward to hearing from you. Please pass on this call to any scholar you think might wish to contribute.

Dr. Harry Parkin
Prof. Dr. Richard Coates
Guest Editors


For manuscript submission information, follow the link to the journal here.