What do you want your One-Name Study to be?

What is a ONS to be.It wasn’t until I heard Paul Howes, Chairman of the Guild of One-Name Studies say recently in a webinar that he treated his Howes One-Name Study like a business that I considered the question

What do I want my One-Name study to be?

I want my study to do a multitude of things, both to me and other people. I want it to be:

  • A mechanism to share with others
  • An archive
  • A way of connecting with others
  • A resource for others researching the same name to use.

That is of course all achievable, but it won’t happen overnight and I tackled my study in the same way I would any work task – in order of priority AND quick wins.

What a genealogical quick wins?

  • Build up a body of data in several of the locations where your surname appears. I wrote about that earlier in this series and you can see that post HERE
  • Create a Facebook group for your study – let people come to you and share. It maybe that you do not have much to share at the start and that is OK – a One-Name Study is a gentle stroll, it is not a marathon!

Library CatalogueDecide how you are going to build up an archive of material and share with others. My personal view is, as lovely as this image of a library catalogue system is, there is no point in spending decades collecting material if it is stored in a filing cabinet, folders or in boxes – share your knowledge, get it out there! I have had many success finds by browsing catalogues such as these, but sadly they are becoming a thing of the past.

So here are a few considerations, and do not worry if you don’t get it right first time, I didn’t and I wasted a great deal of time procrastinating. My advise, for what that is worth is, just go for it! None of us know what is around the corner and the longer the study sits in a filing cabinet the more opportunity for it to be wasted.

So what are those considerations?:

  • Select your software – I keep material in two places:
    • Raw data, such as Births, Marriage and Deaths etc. in spreadsheets when I create a family the individuals remain the spreadsheet which is annotated and they then move to a
    • Genealogical Program – I use Roots Magic, but any of the big three – Roots Magic, Legacy or Family Historian have the ability to store people who are unconnected to each other. I know that is an issue for some One-Namers because I originally had the same issue and the way I over come the issue is that I start with marriages and enter the person with my study name first, followed by spouse = reconstruction of family. I then proceed through their births and the births of their children. I check the Census too at this point. What I find in the Census will influence where I go next, but it is usually the Census.
  • How are you going to share your findings?
    • Blog – WordPress have an option of a free one such as this, but you can pay for other enhancements and I shall do that at some point. There are other providers, and those who have followed this blog for a while will know I moved from Blogger to WordPress. You can share stories about the folks in your study or share your journey of working on your study.
    • Website 
      • Domain name
      • Hosting service
      • Cost to hose
      • How much space? – oh boy such a lot of questions. I have had a domain for one of my studies for years. It is a co.uk site and does not to me indicate the study is global – sadly at the time the .com and .info was not available. I still pay for that domain name and point the server to my website. I opted to take advantage of the Members Website Project, which is a members benefit for the Guild. As a Guild member I was given, free of charge – but donations accepted, a
        • a domain name on the Guild server
        • a website to host my study and no restriction on space – I opted to use TNG, I paid for the license, and the Guild volunteers loaded the TNG onto the site and got my website set up. All I had to do was upload a GEDCOM from my genealogical database. I can upload a new GEDCOM as often as I would like. To me it is a no brainer! There are options to have other types of sites, HTML or a WordPress site – you can see the range HERE I personally didn’t like the idea of WordPress linking to a TNG site, so I decided to retain my blog on WordPress, but I download the blog contents and make regular backups of the data.
    • Articles in magazines and journals – I have written quite a lot about my Italian One-Name Study, both in the Journal of One-Name Studies, Family Tree Magazine (UK) and a number of Legacy Family Tree blog posts and numerous others. –  I had more interaction with my Italian study in the last 18 months than in the previous decade, probably because it was “out there”.
    • Social media – Share about your study, share other studies information – be active on social media. It takes time. In much the same way Coca-Cola evolved, they established their branding and “worked it” I have a friend who always says it is not Christmas until she has heard the synopsis Coca-Cola advert with the santa on. In fact, it was only as wrote this, did I realise that the Coca-Cola truck is real and does actually go to a number of locations – I must live under a rock because I had no idea!

Why did I choose to use the Guild to host my study?

That was simple and I was truly quite relieved when I finally made the decision. There is zero cost to me as a member. The Guild volunteer members were fabulous in not only setting my site up so it was ready to go, but for answering any questions, even the ones that vague because I didn’t quite know how to verbalise the issue or question. If I join my ancestors tomorrow the GEDCOM(s) that is uploaded will be preserved and should someone else come along and want to register the surname they will be invited to take over a copy of the website and all the associated papers (I have left instructions for those as part of my will). If I had chosen to host elsewhere, when I eventually shuffled off and joined my ancestors the domain name costs and website hosting bill won’t be paid and the vanishes. Do you see what I mean by no brainer!

There is a preconceived notion that:

  • the GEDCOM has to be a huge one – wrong! None of us started with a huge volume of data, it grew and evolved just like we do.
  • You can only have one GEDCOM – wrong! I have two (and sometimes more) GEDCOM’s on my TNG site – one that represents my family and the other that represents my One-Name Study.

All of our studies begin with just one person who arouses our curiosity and has the surname you are studying – remember, big trees grow from small acorns!

You can read other posts in my One-Name Study series HERE

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Aims of a One-Name Study

Courtesy of wordclouds.com

The latest Pharos introduction to One-Name Studies course is almost at an end and if you missed the opportunity, a new course begins in May!

As we embarked on the first week, one of the questions that was asked of the course participants was about Organisation. The way we keep our study may differ from that of our own family history research.

As I responded to a question I simply commented that it was important to look at the aims of your study. What followed, was that my fingers travelled across the keyboard at a fairly rapid rate and before I knew where I was I had written a very lengthy post. I then cut and pasted that into a document. That was four weeks ago and since then I have realigned the document along with my thoughts and further comments and created an article for the Journal of One-Name Studies.

How we organise our material will depend on what our aims are for our studies. Are you simply wanting to:

  • Collect instances of the surname
  • Reconstruct families
  • Do you going to want a website to share and preserve your material?

This is not a case of collect or reconstruct, as a number of members, me included do both. The key thing is, if a website is on your horizon, but you have elected to keep your material on index cards then you are going to have to do a whole lot of work and retyping to turn the contents of the index cards into a means used to create a website.

There is nothing wrong with the index card approach, and I use them, but they are not my only means.  I did a review of my aims and methods a year or two ago and decided that I was going to computerise my entire research, digitise 25 years of papers and insert the scrappy bits of paper drawn trees into my software programme and ensure that I had the evidences to support the tree. I also knew I wanted to use TNG and opted to sign up for the Members Website Project, which is a members benefit and enables me to use a website on the Guild’s server AND to preserve my work, whilst still allowing me to update and continue working on my study. I get to the website and TNG from my computerised study by means of a GEDCOM and the ability to add what is referred to a “media” which is images, documents and a number of other elements.

My GEDCOM is not perfect because I have 25 years of work in the filing cabinet and numerous computer files – it remains as a work in progress, as I ensure that I have source citations and so forth all appropriately identified. Over the course of the coming weeks I am going to share how I made the jump from paper to my database.

So, what are your aims for your One-Name Study, where do you want your study to be?

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BBC – Murder, Mystery and My Family Series

Murder, Mystery and My Family

Screen capture from the BBC website

Just last week I was alerted to this BBC series by a fellow Guild of One-Name Studies member. Since then I have binge watched pretty much the entire series. It is fascinating and the BBC get a well done here!

Here is how it works – two legal Barristers review an old case where the person, or persons were determined as guilty and subsequently hanged. We have to accept that not all persons who received this punishment were guilty and that is for a variety of reasons.

A living family member of the deceased “guilty” party are involved in the programme. They are looking at the family element of the case. Meanwhile the Barristers revisit the case files, and review the evidence. They talk to professionals in the various fields, looking at blood splatter and other forensic elements. One of the Barristers addresses the case from the angle of the prosecution and the other of the defence. They they present their findings to a judge and the judge decides whether the verdict already passed down and carried out was safe one. Where it is determined that the verdict was unsafe it begins a legal process which looks to pardon posthumously.

This is an excellent series and my one criticism of the BBC is that this was broadcast in the morning, so around 9 am London time – I was able to record it and view later, and it is available on BBC iPlayer to those in the UK and with the ability to login to a free iPlayer account. This should have been on in prime time, say 7 -9 pm. I do hope those of you outside the UK are able to see this series, it is fascinating. There is a write up on WDYTYA? website under the news section.

Just as I was watching one of the later episode’s, number 8 possibly, which was set in the Manchester region of the UK and centred around a crime committed in the 1930’s they set the scene on why there was such a “crime wave” and desperation – the financial market and depression, leading to people doing what they could to survive. They used the image on the screen reinforcing that there was significant unemployment and desperation, although it was actually part of a film and I was able to live pause the screen and capture the image below.

Murder Mystery and My Family - episode 8

Why is the image important? Well it has the name Henry Butcher and the Butcher One-Name study is registered with the Guild.

Have you been watching the series? leave a comment below.

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Favourite Book(s) #10 – Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T Bettinger

DNA - Blaine BettingerThis week’s book is a fascinating one and one that is close to my desk as I attempt to understand my DNA matches.

The book covers the three available DNA tests; following the male genetic line, the female genetic line which both males and females can take and the Autosomal test which is known as Family Finder.

My copy of the book has a number of those little sticky flags you can use in books to identify key pages. This book share resources, identifies ethical considerations and fully explains third party tools such as GenMatch.

This is my go to book for all things DNA and is a real favourite – I recommend it!


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Favourite Book(s) #9 – Family History Nuts and Bolts: Family Reconstruction Techniques by Andrew Todd

Even for those of us conducting a large One-Name study, family reconstruction, is possible and especially so in the internet era. This is a book that I recommend in the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course

I have always researched collateral lines, as that adds extra depth to our genealogical pursuits and does give context to our research. I have always drafted quick pencil drawn trees whilst researching, it is the way that my brain works and means that I can quickly spot where I have a gap in the research, perhaps caused by migration to another part of the Country or emigration to another Country entirely.

The concept of a One-Name study is that everyone with one surname is collected. Not all Guild members reconstruct families and whilst I do reconstruct families I am not likely to reconstruct all the families of all the individuals in my One-Name Study because quite simply there won’t be time in my lifetime to achieve it.

The book does give insight to the different levels of reconstruction, from reconstruction of one family using one dataset, through a whole host of reconstruction with the final stage being reconstruction of every family bearing a surname – this of course is achievable if the surname is a small study.

Glancing through the list of reconstruction given in the book from stages 1-10, I have probably covered, at least in some part levels 1-9 at some point.

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Book of Me Prompts – March 2018

Book of Me2018

© 2017 Julie Goucher

Welcome to the third set of prompts for the 2018 Series of the Book of Me. You can read when the prompts are published and about the few changes at my earlier post HERE

There are five prompts each month and you can undertake as many or as few as you wish to.

  • Who do (or what) do you miss?
  • Who do you love?
  • What is something that you would like change, or something you wish you had changed?
  • What are your favourite things?
  • What frightens you?

If you have any questions or want to share thoughts or a blog link, if you decide to share via a blog (remember to, that you don’t have to share to take part in the series) then please leave a comment. Further discussion is also happening in the closed Facebook Group.

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Favourite Book(s) #8 – A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will probably know that this is one of my absolute favourite books. My copy was purchased probably 30 years ago from a wonderful bookshop in Guildford called Thorps, which has long since closed.

It was one of those shops that had books on the shelves, on the floor, stairs, windowsills, on tables, chairs, they were everywhere. The first time I took my husband there he commented that books stacked everywhere liked that were a fire risk and did in some instances hinder a swift exit, but to me and many others the shop was magical.

My copy has this exact cover, held on by sellotape that needs replacing and is not in the greatest of shape. If I donated it, it would be refused and placed in a recycling tub I am sure!

I must read this book at least once a year and it has the effect of meeting an old friend and provokes happy memories. Years ago I saw the film with Brian Brown in it, but have not seen that for years. The story is set part in Malaysia, part England and part Australia. Set during the second world war and addresses the horrific experiences endured by those captured by the Japanese. I won’t tell you the rest, but urge you to buy or borrow a copy and read it; out of the depth of war there can be positive experiences and new friendships.

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Webinar – How Understanding & Researching European Surnames Can Help Your Genealogical Research

WSGS_Header_LogoI am delighted to be talking to the Wisconsin Genealogical Society about how Understanding & Researching European Surnames can help genealogical research. The webinar is to take place on 20 February 2018 at 7pm CST, which is the early hours of the morning for those in the UK!

We begin with an explanation of what a surname study is before covering what might be the catalyst for a study and why such a study might be a resourceful way to research. We then explore the key research methods for exploring European surnames and how they can help when researching in Europe and breaking down brick walls. We explore how to collaborate and undertake analysis of the data and look at surname variants and deviants and if they are an important part of European surname research. We then focus on surname distribution maps and the part they play in understanding surnames in Europe. In the last segments of the presentation we explore promotion of our European surnames so connection can be made with others, the use of social media and DNA surname projects.

The webinar is available to non-members of the Society and you do need to register Registration does not guarantee you a place and access is granted on a first come, first served basis. There is no access to non-members after the recording and it immediately becomes a members benefit.

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Favourite Book(s) #7 – Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton

I have long been an avid reader of the Alphabet series by the late Sue Grafton. The series of books follows the life of a fictional private detective, Kinsey Malone in the United States.

The series begins with A for Alibi and continues through to the last book written by Sue, Y for Yesterday.

Over the years I have acquired a variety of copies, an omnibus edition of the first three books, a variety of others then some of the later books in the series. I also have a few Kindle books. My plan for 2018 is to read the entire series again and divest myself of the actual books and replace with a full Kindle set. I have been fooling myself into believing that Kindle books do not really count as books!

Sue also wrote about titled Kinsey and Me which I read about a decade ago and will read again when I have read the series.

I found that some of the books had got a bit stale towards the end and I have to confess the last book I read was V for vengeance, but perhaps that is more the mood I was in when I was reading rather than the author’s writing.

I was very sad to read that Sue Grafton had passed away just after Christmas. She has left instruction that the last book in the series is not written and I think as readers we have to respect that, even if the OCD in me wishes there was a full set.

This has been a great series and I have read them sitting at the side of a river bank whilst my husband fished, read on trains and planes to domestic and foreign destinations, and at hotels on an abundance of work related trips.

RIP Sue Grafton and thank you for introducing me to the world of Kinsey Malone.

Sue’s website is still online and I understand will remain so. There is also a full list of the Alphabet series HERE

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Learning and One-Name Studies

Courtesy of wordcloud.com

Having decided to work on a One-Name or surname study you will want to be as well informed as possible in terms of methodology, ideas, hints, tips, tricks and everything in between.

The Guild offers seminars to members and non-members alike for a reasonable fee. In the main they are recorded with those being available to members only. We have just launched a webinar series and you read about those at the website. They will be available to non-members for a short period before becoming a members only benefit.

Each year there is a Guild conference and again the sessions are generally recorded and made available to members only.

There is a book that I hearterly recommend, The Surnames Handbook by Guild member Debbie Kennett and is available from the Guild and Amazon. There is also the Guild publication, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: Art of a One-Name Study,again available from Guild and Amazon.

Also the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course which runs usually twice a year and lasts for five weeks. It is totally offered online and global members are encouraged.

I will be back with other One-Name and surname research posts in the future and if you did find this series useful,or would like me to cover a particular topic, then please leave a comment.


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