Morelli, Laura Cornelia Clotilde and Paoli, Giorgio and Francalacci, Paolo (2002) Surname analysis of the Corsican population reveals an agreement with geographical and linguistic structure. Journal of Biosocial Science, Vol. 34 (3), p. 289-301. eISSN 1469-7599. Article.
The surname is a cultural trait that is extremely useful for historical and linguistic studies and can effectively be used as a genetic marker. In many human populations the surname is inherited in the paternal lineage, and can therefore be considered a marker for the Y chromosome. In this study, surnames were recorded from the white pages of telephone directories in current use in Corsica in 1993. All surnames present in thirteen villages scattered over the whole island and covering the main historical regions were transcribed. Surname variability was found to be higher in coastal villages, and lower in more isolated communities. The isonymy detected among the thirteen villages allowed the calculation of kinship values, visualized in a tree showing two main clusters, one referring to the northern villages and one encompassing the villages of the south. The pattern reflects the administrative division of the island, with the exception of Vico, which belongs to the southern administrative region but is geographically close to the northern villages, and Ghisoni, which belongs to the northern district but is more similar to the village of Bastelica in the southern district. The data presented here show a structure in the surname distribution that is in substantial agreement with the geographical patterns. The kinship values are consistent with a moderated gene flow among villages producing a surname structure according to the geographic features of the territory.
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