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Origins and Distribution of the Surname
Arms of East Suffolk (Coastal)

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Arms of Yorkshire

Distribution of Precious Surname in 1881

Origins and Distribution of the Surname

The origins of the Precious Surname are uncertain but probably stem from the Latin word "pretiosus" - meaning expensive, valuable - and its derivative, the old French word "precios".

According to the Historical Research Center, "precious" or "preciosa" was a frequently used medieval name for women. It was also common practice in the Middle Ages, before the evolution of hereditary family surnames, to identify children by the first name of the mother or father. One of the earliest recorded instances of the surname, in the form of "Preciosa", is in the Curia Regis Rolls for Hertfordshire in 1203. In another instance, a "John Precious" is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk for the year 1327.

The surname "Precious" is rather uncommon in the UK. Using data extracted from the 1881 British Census CD, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and GenMap UK, a mapping utility, the distribution of the Precious Surname in England is shown in the accompanying map.The largest number of occurences of the surname are in West Yorkshire, the City of York, Humberside, Norfolk, Suffolk and London (Middlesex).

Of the 39 Preciouses residing in Suffolk on Census Night 1881, all except two are members of this Precious Family. The remaining two are probably also related but it has not yet been possible to tie them in to the family tree.

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