How many Whitneys?

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Miscellaneous > How many Whitneys?

How many people have had the surname Whitney throughout history? How many people today have this surname? How many people are descended from Whitneys? These are all currently unanswered questions, but this page is the start of an effort to solve these questions mathematically.

A review of U.S. and U.K. Census records resulted in the following count of Whitneys:

Year HoH - US Total - US Total - UK Total - All
1640 1 9
1650 3 17
1660 6 34
1670 9 47
1680 11 69
1690 17 104
1700 165
1710 246
1720 361
1730 520
1740 737
1750 1,027
1760 1,407
1770 1,894
1780 2,507
1790 376 3,262 311 3,573
1800 457 4,172 373 4,545
1810 613 5,245 447 5,692
1820 883 6,482 536 7,018
1830 1,116 7,874 643 8,517
1840 1,629 9,403 771 10,174
1850 10,794 931 11,725
1860 12,479 1,120 13,599
1870 14,777 1,323 16,100
1880 16,981 1,530 18,511
1890 17,664 1,875 19,539
1900 18,131 2,262 20,393
1910 5,209 20,398
1920 5,711 21,292
1930 6,006 22,063
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000 34,251

Numbers in green are estimates based upon known family information.
Numbers in black are from published census indices.
Numbers in red are statistical estimates based upon the other numbers.

Statistical Information

Existing data from the count of how many Whitneys there were in the early years (based upon known family growth data) as well as from later years (from census information) was entered into a statistical tool called Minitab. A fitted line was calculated using quadratic regression using the logten of the population numbers. This resulted in a formula which fits the known data fairly well - S=0.0359676 and R-Sq(adj) of 99.9% Using this formula, the following two plots were created. The known population is plotted in blue, and the statistical data is plotted in red. The graph on the left is the actual population graph, and the graph on the right is a logarithmic scale to demonstrate how well this predictive model fits the known population data.

WhCount.jpg WhCountLog.jpg

The formula for calculating the population of Whitneys in the United States from 1640 through 1930 is:

Population = 10^(0.7922+0.2296*((Year-1630)/10)-0.00372*((Year-1630)/10)^2)


Early Whitneys in England

How many different Whitney families lived in England between 1500 and 1700? The earliest comprehensive "snapshot" record is the census of 1841. At that time, there were 698 people named Whitney and/or Whitny. In 1851, the census listed 832 individuals, of which 172 were heads of households. The 1881 census listed 1,424 Whitneys, with 301 heads of households. If we assume the same ratio of Whitney households and individuals to the general population in earlier times, we get the following estimate, based on estimates of English population for the earlier periods:

Year Total Population of England Total Whitneys Total Whitney Heads of Households
1541 2,774,000 (est.) 125 (est.) 27 (est.)
1600 4,066,000 (est.) 183 (est.) 39 (est.)
1640 5,055,000 (est.) 227 (est.) 49 (est.)
1700 5,027,000 (est.) 226 (est.) 48 (est.)
1841 15,914,100 698
1851 17,927,600 832 172
1881 25,974,400 1,424 301

These estimates are, by their nature, limited in their accuracy, but they do allow us to gain some idea of how comprehensive we are in our coverage of this earlier period.

Note: This approach taken from Gifford Origins by Paul Gifford.

Related Information


© 2006, Tim Doyle

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