Ancestry.com had these Harry Potter-related tidbits in their monthly update (advertising the new census information from the UK that has just recently become available):
A hundred years ago, Harry Potter was working as a general clerk in Lancashire. This twenty-seven-year-old Potter was just one of many Harry Potter’s listed in the 1851 England Census. Proving, as the literary Potter’s Aunt Petunia informed the world in the first magical book, that Harry Potter is a “dreadful common name.”
And, although no Lord Voldemorts are to be found in the census, a thirty-five-year-old Tom Riddle (Voldemort’s-gasp-Muggle name) was working as a general laborer in Cornwall in that same year. Like the clerk Potter, this Tom Riddle was just one of many in the census, suggesting that Tom Riddle is as dreadful and common as Harry Potter.
In fact the Harry Potter books are filled with non-magical surnames, such as Longbottom-someone from a long valley and not a physical description of the person in question-an! d Snape-which, among other meanings, describes an area of boggy land.
The 1851 England census is available online at Ancestry.com, which also houses surname dictionaries among millions of records including the birth registration of Daniel Radcliffe (who plays Mr. Potter in the movies). Log on today to build your family’s tree and discover how many Harry Potters, Tom Riddles, or Daniel Radcliffes you are related to.