The first part of this work focuses on the composition and character of the British people, with special emphasis on the Normans. Dividing the peoples of England into three ethnic groups–Anglo-Saxon, Dane, and Norman–the author builds a persuasive case showing that the Normans existed in greater numbers in England than had heretofore been thought.
The second and by far the most important section of the work consists of an alphabetical series of existing Norman names and families. It is, in fact, a directory of Norman names showing origins and derivations. It traces the corruption of Norman usage, clarifying some of the long-standing idiosyncracies of English nomenclature. Moreover, the directory cites the first usage of the name in Normandy and identifies the early bearers of the name in England, where the name becomes vested in a representative family and is later claimed by a multitude of bearers. The alphabetical series contains thousands of entries and is followed by an index of 5,000 Norman surnames found in the work as a whole.