Surnames as a measure of Maltese Diaspora
Analysis of surnames has been found a very useful in the study of population. They give a clear indication of genetic structure - a sort of inheritance transmitted usually through the male line.
Surnames have also been found very useful in tracing population movements around the world. A number of studies, such as those of Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza in Italy have been very informative.
In Malta, a number of studies have also been carried out to establish the incidence of surnames within the population of the Islands. Studies like those of M. Caruana in Malta and M. Cauchi in Gozo serve the purpose of establishing a baseline for future reference. Attempts have also been made in the latter study to determine possible movements of people around the Island.
More detailed studies are currently under way to determine the pattern of migration from Malta to places all around the world. Such studies emphasise the spread of Maltese migrants in the 19th century from Malta to North Africa to France.
By taking a single surname and look for its distribution world-wide, one can get a very vivid idea of the pattern of migration of the migrants as a whole. Caruana has done such a study involving several surnames, including those of Abdilla, Attard, Cauchi and Dalli.
An interesting study on "Gozitan Surnames" is also to be found in this section.
Recently added - data on Maltese surnames in Australia compiled by Mark Caruana from the 2000 Australian Telephone Directory.