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The method of isonymy is now well established as a means for estimating inbreeding. Until recently the use of surnames to investigate general patterns of mating structure was more limited. In the present study we review the application of isonymy to historical population data by selecting the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts as a case study. We demonstrate the model for estimating inbreeding on the community of Deerfield and employ a temporal framework to observe longitudinal trends. We then turn to a consideration of mating structure in 12 contiguous communities including Deerfield. Finally, we look at the ways in which isonymy can be utilized to measure nonrandom mating of socioeconomic subdivisions within communities. We conclude that the results of isonymy must be interpreted cautiously with regard to inbreeding, but that for more general considerations of mating structure, isonymy holds much promise.