Langton names in Australia

By David Langton

25 April 2011

There are 666 Langtons in Australia compared to 3,479 in the UK and 2,261 in the USA. The worldwide total is probably about 10,000 Langtons. Whilst one might think that all Langtons might be descended from a single male Langton or a single Langton village this is not the case. However, we are all sharers of the name and partakers of the heritage of Stephen Langton and Magna Charta. The name Langton will forever be associated with freedom, the rule of law and human rights. Having said that wouldn't it be nice to know which Langton village your ancestors originally came from and which famous Langton bishops, knights and heiresses you might be related to. Let's see how far we can go back and what hurdles there might be in the way. The first problem for a Langton in a young country like Australia is to work out if you are descended from a long line of Langtons or did anyone accidentally change the surname on the way. If you look at the articles about surname distribution in America on this site, you will see there was a lot of surname alteration going on in the USA. Fortunately the situation in Australia was far more stable. The majority of Australians seem to have kept their names intact and whilst there looks as if there was some surname drift it was nothing compared to the wholesale changes in the USA. The amount of name variation is Australia is perhaps only a tenth of what happened in America. Broadly, we would expect that surname population figures in Australia would be roughly in line with the figures drawn from British Census. The table published below shows a comparison with the British Census of 1881. Some random variation should be expected but also in new situations of no established accent and relatively limited record keeping we would expect some surname drift. Some names over perform whilst others lose members to more dominant forms. .

Australian name populations as percentage of British Census 1881 surname totals.

Lynton 452%.

Langdon 56%.

Laughton 36%.

Linton 32%.

Landon 31%.

Lenton 29%.

Langton 28%.

Laxton 24%.

Longton 20%.

Langston 20%.

Lawton 16%.

Let us remark first of all that Langton is slightly below average. This may mean that rather than gaining people with similar surnames Langton may have tended to lose some. The obvious direction of loss is towards the name near the top of the table Langdon. It may be that a few Langtons became Langdons but of course they would continue to carry around Langton DNA. The modest performance by the Langton name is actually good news if you bear the Langton name. It means that because very few or no similar names adjusted to become Langtons, that in fact you are in all probability descended from a long line of Langtons carrying Langton DNA. So unless you have specific evidence that you discovered your great great grandfather was a Linton, you are justified in working on the premise that your family have always been Langtons .

The most successful of the main names in the group is Langdon with 56% of the British 1881 total. This looks like quite a significant overrepresentation that cannot be put down to enthusiastic breeding alone. It looks as if Langdon was the dominant name in the group that fitted in well with the Australian accent and absorbed some other similar names. The most obvious loser is the surname Langston which only registers 20% of the British 1881 census figure. It looks as if some Langstons became Langdons. The poor performance of Langston is quite ironic since in the USA Langston was the surname that gobbled up everyone else faster than a demented "pac-man". The consequence of this for these two surnames is that if you are an Australian Langston you are probably one of the few survivors of a long line of Langstons. If on the other hand you are from the dominant Langdon surname you may originally have been a Langston or Lawton or some other similar surname carrying that surnames DNA. If you have got stuck, tracing back, look under similar names. Linton is a surname that seems to have largely held its own although it looks as if a number of you have drifted to Lynton. There were only 17 Lyntons in the British 1881 census but today there are 77 in Australia and 121 in the UK. It is probably not that you guys have yet to discover contraception but far more likely drift from the far more numerous Linton surname. Laughton is an interesting name. Historically the Laughton name has two groupings. The first, the majority, a grouping in the north of England from a village called Laughton but about 106 were from North West London the Harrow area where the name represents a local pronunciation of Langton and you are really DNA Langtons.

If you are a Laughton and you know your ancestors came from North West London please send in your DNA we'd be most interested. Laughton has done pretty well in Australia perhaps a bit too well and it looks as if you have taken some families from the poorer performing Lawtons. Landon looks to have held pretty steady. Landon is of anglo-dutch origin but a few of you will be descended from Lincolnshire Langtons. For that reason we'd be interested in your DNA as well. Lenton is just beginning to fall into the territory where you may have lost a few. If your name is Lenton your ancestors probably emigrated from Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire or London. If you are a Lenton your name probably derives from the Langton villages South West of Leicester. We will need your DNA to confirm this but you are the first group that left England that we can say with some real confidence that you came from Langton in Leicestershire. This means among other things you may be related to Bishop Walter 53rd richest man ever, acquitted of having sex with the devil and of murdering his mistress's husband. Chancellor John Langton of Cambridge University, chaplain to the Queen and big mate of Henry VI is also one of yours. With only 85 of you and poorly performing you are an endangered species in Australia, but important to us. Whereas Lenton seems to derive from Langton rather than Lenton villages the same is not true of Laxton which has a similar geographical distribution in England. Laxton is an entirely separate name from Langton.

You Laxtons in Australia seem to be the genuine article whereas in the USA Laxton seems to have picked up a lot of similarly named families. So Laxtons of Australia we are interested in your DNA for reasons that are not even entirely clear to me. Longton may have lost out both to Langton and Langdon. If you are a Longton your ancestors either came from Longton which is a Lancashire village where Longton is simply the local pronunciation of what is Langton elsewhere in the country, or your ancestors were originally Langtons (Lancashire Langtons are ultimately from Leicestershire) whose names became pronounced in the local dialect as Longton. Either way you are part of the great Langton family and if you've ever had your DNA tested please send in the results. There may be a few other rare names lurking in Australia which are really Langtons amongst them Langthorn(e), Lankton, Lancton, Langhton, Langliton, Lanton or Langon.

If you are a Langton or any of these variant names then please send in your Y chromosome results if you have been tested. What we aim to do is to get as many as possible of the dispersed Langton results so we know how many Langton sequences there are. We also hope to get results from the static and ancient Langton populations in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Durham, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lancashire, Hertfordshire and Essex. When we have done that (big task I know) we may be in a position to say to one of our Australian cousins, your ancestor came from that Langton village in this county. We will only ever be able to do this if Langtons everywhere send in their Y chromosome results. Please read the DNA project article, look at the map of Australia on the site and if you have researched your Langton tree please send Lost Langtons the results of your research. .