Six steps to beginning your own One-Name Studyby Anne Brady, guest blogger
A One-Name Study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname (and its variants), as opposed to a particular pedigree or a particular descendancy.
The object is to discover things about the actual surname and the people who have held it.
Step One Is it already being done?
Check http://www.one-name.org/ or Google your surname
Step Two Find out more about the name
- How big a study will it be?
Estimate by using the totals from the 1881 English census:
- 1-30 Tiny (T)
- 30-300 Small (S)
- 300-3000 Medium (M)
- 3000-30,000 Large (L)
- 30,000-300,000 (XXL)
- How common is the name? Look at the ranking of your surname on
- How widespread is the name?
- Variants and Deviants
A VARIANT is an alternate spelling used by individuals themselves, or is one used consistently in official documents.
DEVIANTS are typos, misreadings of handwriting and any other spelling that is not a true variant, it occurs only randomly.
How many variants and deviants are there? Check the IGI (International Genealogical Index) for a good overview, but remember that you will continue to find more.
Step Three Make some decisions
How will you store and record your research? This will be influenced by the size of your study – from Tiny up to XXL
- Family History program?
- Spreadsheets – Excel, Access (e.g. Custodian)?
- All info on one spreadsheet, or broken down by e.g. type of record, country?
- How will you cope with different spellings?
- How far down the line will you take females who marry out of the name?
- Paperwork or scans
- Filing system?
- Odd bits of information?
Step Four Setting up and getting organised
- Make a list of known variants/deviants. Keep a printout of your list with you at all times, and amend it whenever you find more possibilities
- Once you have a basic list, work out how few online searches you can manage with careful use of wildcards (BL*X*G, BL*C*G etc) and record them
- Set up a new family file in your family history program
- Copy across any data you currently have on that name
- Create whatever spreadsheets you have decided to use. Remember to input from large to small, eg YYYYMMDD, or Country/County/Parish to make sorting and searching easier.
The FIRST spreadsheet should be your research log
- Set up files and folders, both hard-copy and on your PC. Mine are organised by place in descending size order, then by type of record and/or repository. (E.g. UK-ENG-KENT- Cemeteries, Census, Certificates, Directories, Houses, Newspapers, Probate, etc.) Or look at the Family Roots organiser system at http://www.123genealogy.com/organizer/
- Draw up a table of the total census records across all available websites for your name, as not all will be found in one place thanks to the huge variety of transcribing errors. You may find a separate table for each main variant is useful.
|Census search results for the name Beachcroft across the|
major genealogy websites - demonstrates the variation
of results you will find across them all
- If you don’t already have a good backup system in place, set one up NOW
- Create a list of the order you plan to search the records in
- Label a folder with ‘To Do’ and keep a separate sheet for each Research Repository, or keep a list in a Word document folder
Step Five - Join the Guild of One Name Studies at www.one-name.org (in order to save lots of money).
Discounts on subscriptions / other offers for different sites:
- Findmypast – 10%
- Lost Cousins – 20%
- The Genealogist (Diamond Subscription) - GBP40 off
- Various other short-term offers are also made
- Use GOONS Marriage, Probate and Scottish indexes; the Wiki; join the Forum and/or the Bulletin Board; get a mentor
- (Use www.marriage-locator.co.uk, a free, public-access website to find the church for many marriages)
Maximise your use of Family Search. If you aren’t sure how to get the best out of it, go to the ‘Learn’ tab and watch some of their videos
In Freebmd download records, and set up saved searches
Trawl Facebook, Youtube and Ebay, look through Gutenberg and Google free books
www.gutenberg.org , www.books.google.com
Use other Google products such as alerts, blogs, images, documents & news at http://www.google.com/intl/en/about/products/
Remember other search engines such as Mocavo at www.mocavo.com
Use www.genuki.org.uk/ to find lots of websites specific to your county and parish.
And of course never forget Cyndis List . . .
Search Rootsweb message boards and lists at www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/
Browse Wikitree www.wikitree.com
Use free webinars and blogs to learn how to research new areas, gather lots of tips and hear of new websites and programs to try, e.g.
- Genealogy webinar calendar http://blog.geneawebinars.com/p/welcome.html
- Legacy Webinars www.legacy.com
- Youtube how-to videos such as the ‘Twenty with Tessa’ series, which includes lessons on Excel, Freebmd, Legacy Family Tree program and One-Name Studies, amongst others
- Find My Past
- The Genealogist
- British (and Irish) Origins
- Family Relatives
- Documents Online (now called Discovery)
- British Newspapers Archive
- Gale Newspapers (use from home)
Have you looked at the bookshelves, the fiche or CD drawers? Have you used the library catalogue to find what there is in any area? Set up Google alerts for your names and areas of interest.
Join Lost Cousins and add the families you find on the specified census pages as ‘One Name Study’ relationships.
Use pay-per-view / subscription sites which allow use of their indexes for free. Sign up for their newsletters so that you know when they are having free weekends for some of their datasets.
About Anne Brady
Anne is the New Zealand representative for the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS and a member of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists NZSG).
Anne spoke about One-Name Studies to our audience at Central Library for our family history lunchtime series talks, that Auckland Libraries holds here fortnightly on Wednesdays between February and November.
She very kindly permitted us to post her informative handout notes here on the Kintalk blog.