Langton surname distribution in the USA - PART 2

By David Langton

25 April 2011

USA Langtons Langstons and Others II

The highest concentration of Langtons in the USA is in New England. Rhode Island has a population of 0.005 per million being 53 Langtons, New Hampshire has a density of 0.0024 with 30 Langtons and Massachusetts has a density of 0.0023 per million with 147 Langtons. These are ancient populations and these 230 people hold the key to which Langton groups were early settlers in the USA. These 230 people also hold the key for a lot of frustrated Langston researchers whose name disappears a bit more with every generation traced back. If the DNA from this New England Langton group is also found occurring amongst the far more numerous Langstons, the conclusion would be that such Langstons used to be Langtons. I guess that with a total New England Langton population of 230 we are only talking about 100 males and perhaps 70 adult males which in turn represents perhaps only 20 extended families. You guys undoubtedly are the special ones who hold the keys for everyone. How about opening the lock? Not only is New England the ancient population for Langton it is the original pool for the other surnames associated with Langton.

Langton Massachusetts 147 Rhode Island 53 New Hampshire 30

Laughton Massachusetts 49 New Hampshire 44 Maine 30

Longton Massachusetts 29 Connecticut 20 Vermont 5

Lankton Connecticut 19

Lenton Vermont 6

Landon Vermont 81

Now come on you Laughtons, Longtons, Lanktons, Lentons and Landons of New England with history comes responsibility.

The other surnames Langdon, Langston, Laxton, and Linton do not have their main concentrations in New England. That is not to say that they might not have a higher total than the Langtons in New England but that these other surnames went on to have higher concentrations elsewhere in other states, whereas the Langtons and Laughtons did not. These were the surnames that were the first to start losing adherents to other rival surnames. The LANGTON surname distribution is patchy. Besides the New England group there is what is largely, a northern pattern

New York 178

Great Lakes-Michigan 180

Utah 78, North Dakota 28, Montana 22

Florida 151

California 203

What is particularly interesting is that either the Langton name never occurred in the South or it has been completely wiped out by the move to a -st sound. If the wipe out theory is correct we should expect a strong LANGSTON presence in the South and this is indeed what we get:

Texas 2,133, Florida 1,368, Georgia 1,356, North Carolina 1,232, Arkansas 923, Mississippi 747, South Carolina 887, Alabama 904

The only other high scoring state for Langston is California 1,122. New York doesn't figure. Langston is predominantly a southern name. It may therefore be that accent played a part in the triumphs of the Langstons and that across the South any Langtons became Langstons. The LANKSTONs show a similar southern pattern to Langston Texas 36, Missouri 9, Mississippi 8, Kansas 6, Oklahoma 6 but one wonders if in some northern states the name derives directly from Langton, Illinois 22, Indiana 10, Montana 5. LANKTON pretty much follows the Langton pattern after New England

Great Lakes-Michigan 41, Illinois 22,

Nebraska 7

Florida 26

Kansas 22, Kentucky 11

The last mentioned Kansas and Kentucky being the exceptions. These are relatively southern and may indicate a pronunciation pathway from Langton to Lankton to Langston. LONGTON follows a very similar pattern to Langton. After New England we have:

New York 37

Great Lakes Michigan 80,

Washington 24, Oregon 24

Florida 27

With the exception of 59 for Texas LENTON seems to follow a similar northern pattern. After New England we get

Great Lakes Michigan 60, Minnesota 42,

North Dakota 14, Wyoming 4 Nebraska 12

Florida 54

LAUGHTON also complies with a northern pattern after New England

Great Lakes Minnesota 88

Wyoming 6

Florida 78

California 169

North Carolina 45 and Alaska 10

The North Carolina figure perhaps shows that Laughton couldn't survive further south than that. LANGDON also manages to make it as far south as North Carolina. Below is a comparison with LANDON

Vermont 81 Landon

New York Langdon 859, Landon 549

North Carolina 655 Kentucky 268 Langdon Delaware 66 Landon

Michigan 518 Langdon 454 Landon, Ohio 513 Langdon, 430 Landon, Indiana 337 Langdon, Idaho 319 Landon

Wyoming 30 Langdon 32 Landon, Washington 317 Langdon 399 Landon

California 720 Langdon 882 Landon

The Washington figure in particular shows how tied these names are together with the statistics showing a drift from Langdon to Landon.

LANTON seems to be something of a hotch potch. It is the only name associated with Langton that lacks a strong New England base. This may be because the name simply didn't exist in old England. It is undoubtedly a corruption. We begin to get a northern pattern

New York 35

Illinois 53, Ohio 43

Idaho 5

But then we get some southern states

Alabama 35, Tenesee31

Florida 43

It is surprising how Lanton against the trend managed to survive in the South. Perhaps the early dropping of the -g from Langton caused the hardening of the -t enabling the name to survive the onslaught of the Langstons. LAXTON an entirely separate surname from Langton in origin, is an interesting example of how one might expect a general distribution of an English name in the USA when, in fact what one gets is a specific cigar like shape skirting to the north of the southern coastal states; North Carolina 210, West Virginia 110, Tennessee 285, Missouri 146, Oklahoma 124, Florida 122. LINTON is a sizeable surname which has a dual origin in the UK being partly Scottish and partly from Yorkshire in Northern England, the latter area also a traditional Langton area. The settlement pattern for LINTON and LYNTON (figures in brackets) looks quite distinct and involved the eastern seaboard south of New York

New York 800(41)

Delaware 95, Maryland 631, West Virginia 161, Kentucky 414 (Georgia 17, Alabama 10)

Florida 1,333(17)

Texas 938

California 850(33)(Colorado 13)

Michigan 642(Indiana 12)

Linton does not seem to have fallen prey to the Langston onslaught in the same way as Langton and its associated names, possibly because of the hardness of the initial i sound. It should be evident from the above that there are particular distribution patterns associated with various names. LANGTON spreads from New England to the Great Lakes across to the north west but is poorly represented in the south. LANGDON is similar but lacks the New England concentrations and has a greater presence in the eastern seaboard and Washington State. LINTON lacks New England is strong on the Eastern seaboard, in Michigan and Texas but seems to lack penetration inland and in the south. LAXTON as observed above is a cigar shape, whilst LANGSTON has this high scoring southern concentration. It seems difficult to account for these variations by settlement patterns alone, rather it looks as if there has been rampant name capture occurring with the Langston name with its strong -st sound being the chief predator. In case any should doubt this -st hypothesis, let us look at two other pieces of evidence. Firstly the variant of Lawton that is Lawston. Lawston as a name doesn't exist in Britain and in 1880 in America there were only 3, today there are 124. The -st sound has created this new American surname out of the more numerous Lawton one. Secondly the Scottish surname Liston which had a mere 465 in the 1881 British census magically shot to 1048 in 1880 in the USA with a current figure of 4,715 absolutely trouncing Langton over the same period. It is interesting to compare the USA surname experience to the Australian one. The table below lists first the current USA surname population as a percentage of the British 1881 surname population, then the current Australian figure

LANDON 1515% LANGDON 56% LANGSTON 1243% LAUGHTON 36% LINTON 555% LINTON 32% LANGDON 375% LANDON 31% LANGTON 95% LANGTON 28% LAUGHTON 65% LANGSTON 20% Whereas the situation in the USA is that Landon and Langston have gobbled up other names and Langton, Laughton and Langdon have been victims, in Australia Langdon has been the predator and Langston the victim. This produces an almost insane contrast for Langston in the two countries; Whereas USA can boast of 18,979 Langstons, Australia has just 169. The American accent particularly in the South worked in favour of the Langstons in Australia their accent worked against the Langstons and in favour of the Langdons. What then should we conclude for our different surnames. LANGTON: There are less of us than there should be. Looks like plenty of Langtons became Langstons particularly in the South. The good news is that those who bear the name Langton have a very high probability that the surname hasn't changed and that you're from a long line of Langtons. This gives some real optimism that if you send in your DNA we may eventually be able to match it with a Langton group in England and perhaps even a particular Langton village. Archbishop Stephen and Magna Carta? Well, maybe! Who knows?

LANGSTON: Well there's some very good news and some very bad news. The good news is that you wiped the floor with almost everybody else. The bad news is that only a minority of you are descended ultimately from Langstons. In tracing back your ancestors this may help you get beyond a dead end. You need to look among the Langtons, Laughtons and Langdons etc. Many of you are walking round with other family names DNA. If there is a chance that you are descended from Langtons we may be able to match your DNA. Such has been the amazing success of the Langston surname in the USA with Langtons becoming Langstons that I have been forced to ask myself the question, was this process going on in England at an earlier time? Further are all Langstons really Langtons? I think the answers to these two questions are Possibly and No, but that's another article (Now written - will appear on the site in due course).

LANGDON: Well it has to be said that you did a better job of holding out against the attack than we Langtons did, but you certainly had some losses to the Landons in places and you certainly didn't do well in the south where it looks as if some of you did the transition to Langston. Good news is that your DNA is highly likely to be Langdon descent DNA. LANDON: This is going to be a complex answer in that originally most English Landons were originally from Flanders although a few were Lincolnshire Langtons. However more recently Landon has been successful at sucking up other surnames perhaps particularly Langdon. LANTON and LANKTON you guys are bona fide Langton sub groups send in your DNA.

LAUGHTON: it would be easy to assume that you are a minor sub group of the name Lawton. However the distribution matches are not that good with Lawton high scorers like Pennsylvania and New York not registering with Laughton, instead Laughton fits much better with Langton and you probably are Langtons, and yes we would like your DNA. It may be that there has been some drift from Laughton to Lawton. LONGTONS you have resisted bravely. You might just possibly be a distinct independent name from Longton, Lancashire. If you are send in your DNA it should all be the same and distinct from the Langtons. More likely however is that you're Lancashire Langtons descended from the Barons of Makerfield in Lancashire. LANKSTONS it would seem likely that you are really Langstons but a few of you might be Langtons.

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. In the USA I suspect that the 59 or so Texas Lentons might really be Lintons, but you Texans please prove me wrong with your DNA. LINTON and LYNTON there are a lot of you. I'm not convinced that there has been much movement between you and the Langtons or you and anyone else for that matter. If there has been any drift it is probably a few Langtons becoming Lintons. LAXTON Unlike Lenton your surname seems to have entirely separate origins from Langton. Your surname does some surprising things. I think you must have lost people in the South to the Langstons and I suspect you lost people in the North but it is not clear who too. There is a sudden loss of British population after 1881 which might be due to high emigration levels. However since 1880 in the USA your name seems to have exploded multiplying almost tenfold. Can you not find anything else to do in your rural idyll other than breed? It looks like you must have captured other surnames to grow this rapidly. You are giving me a headache. Chances are you have absorbed some Langtons. In any event send in your DNA we'll try and sort it out.

LAYNTONS, LANTHONS, LANCTONS and LANGTHORNS if there are any of you out there which there doesn't seem to be, you are probably really LANGTON sub groups, send in your DNA. LISTON you are another very successful surname acquiring people from similar sounding names. LAWTON you are a sizeable group with a high degree of likelihood that you are of Lawton descent but you have also had members flaking off to other surnames. You may feel that the existence of those 124 LAWSTONS is just adding insult to injury. Still worse is the rise of the LORTON surname from 128 in 1880 to 1,219 currently. I hope these few comments help anyone tracing their ancestors to know where to look. With surname changes you may end up having to guess. DNA you don't need to guess, all you have to do is find a match which in itself is not easy. If you are carrying Langton DNA whatever your current surname we will try and find the English Langton match, but if you don't tell us your DNA we can't do that. Please have a look at the DNA project.