Surname distributions were studied in records of male and female births in Ferrara in the period 1982-89, and in records of male and female deaths in the same period. Average year of birth and standard deviation was 1985 +/- 2.3 for the birth series, and 1912 +/- 14.4 for the death series. Then the surname distributions, in two independent samples at an average distance of 73 years, were compared. It was observed that random isonymy within series, which depends on the shape of the distribution, stays fairly constant at three generations of distance, indicating near-equilibrium of surname turnover. The migrational contribution is indicated by the significant decrease of random isonymy between series, measured with the method of Lasker. It was also observed that immigrants to Ferrara have a life-span significantly longer than people born in the town.
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