Surnames and Social Mobility: England 1230-2012

"The relative constancy of the intergenerational correlation of underlying social status across very different social environments in England from 1800 to 2012 suggests that it stems from the nature of inheritance of characteristics within families. Strong forces of familial culture, social connections, and genetics must connect the generations. There really are quasi-physical “Laws of Inheritance.” This interpretation is reinforced by the finding of Clark in work with other co-authors that all societies observed – including the USA, Sweden, India, China and Japan - have similar low rates of social mobility when surnames are used to identify elites and underclasses, despite an even wider range of social institutions (Clark et al. 2014)."