Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Monday, November 28, 2011

One-Name Studies

Did you notice an unfamiliar phrase in my post about the Federation of Family History Societies? I consider a one-name study or a one-name society a thoroughly British invention, although some of us are essentially studying one name in an area during a specific time frame as we do our everyday research .

According to the Guild of One-Name Studies in London, this research involves the study of the genealogy and family history of all people with the same surname and its variants. You can find more information at their website
www.one-name.org .

Most of us start with ourselves and go back in time creating what is called an ancestor chart of our direct ancestors, or we look for all the descendants of an ancient relative of ours. Many of us also record any instance of a surname in an area hoping to later connect them to our tree. For example, when reading parish records in Norfolk, I write down people with the names BRETT or HAYLETT. I assume someday I will figure out how they are related to me. One-name studies build on these informal notes, but are much more.

The Guild site gives you guidelines about what names are appropriate for a one-name study, obviously not ‘Smith.’  Frequency, both too few and too many occurrences, is the chief criteria, it seems. The site also has a very good section about the origin of surnames – occupations, place names, etc. 
Perhaps most useful is their list of surnames that already have studies started on them.  Almost 8000 names have been registered by 2500 researchers. I struck out with six of my Norfolk names, but I found that DALGLIESH, the fictional detective, is being studied. By clicking on the name, I found a page detailing the progress of Steven Daglish.

This society has meetings and produces journals, all described on the site. In this electronics age, surprisingly, there is an 800 number for use by North Americans 1-800-647-4100. The email is guild@one-name.org.
One of these 2500 researchers may have information on your branch of the family so check it out.

©2011, Susan Lewis Well

1 comment:

  1. Hello Susan...stopping by after reading your Interview with Gini on GeneaBlogger, which I enjoyed very much. Isn't it something how our Genealogy paths broaden as we explore our ancestors? I read with interest the 'One-Name Studies Guild' in London. Like most, my research includes multiple surnames. However, one of those surnames is unique in American History and from what I have found somewhat unique in it's English origin. Thank you for the mention and link to the one-name organization. Perhaps one day I will give it a try.

    Congratulations on your Interview and your SWell Blog.