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Organising a One-Name Study
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NOTE: This course requires compulsory materials to be ordered. Please click on the Supplies tab for details.

One-name (surname) studies are not just about collecting documentary event data on a particular surname. According to the Guild of One-Name Studies, the aim of the study “is to research the genealogy and family history of all persons with a given surname and its linked variants.” The study can be as elusive as the wild goose chase for a needle in a hay stack and is certainly a challenging pursuit. Nevertheless, through proper channelling of resources you may find that your research proves to be extremely rewarding.

This course will begin by examining the art of a one-name study and elaborating on the many different elements you should consider. Organising your research, searching for primary sources around the world, analysing the data you acquire, publicising, publishing and preserving your work are thoroughly discussed along with tips and techniques in the field of one-name studies.


Module 1
About One-Name Studies

  • About the “Severn Pillars of Wisdom”

    Required Reading
    What is a One-Name Study?
    Why Do a One-Name Study?

    A Look at Surnames
  • Derivation of Surnames
  • Location Names
  • Topographical Surnames
  • Habitational Surnames
  • Regional & Ethnic Surnames
  • Trade Surnames
  • Rank or Status Surnames
  • Nicknames
  • Patronymics

    Surname Frequency
    The Guild of One-Name Studies

    Getting Started on Your One-Name Study
  • Organisation
  • Spreadsheets
  • Family Tree Software
  • Setting up Binders for Your One-Name Study

    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 2
    Documentary Data Collection
    Required Reading
    Documentary Data

    Indexes of Births, Marriages, and Deaths in England and Wales
  • FreeBMD
  • Commercial Websites

    Original Civil Registration
  • Civil Registration in Scotland
  • Civil Registration in Ireland
  • Miscellaneous Civil Registration

    Census Records
  • United Kingdom Censuses
  • FreeCEN
  • FamilySearch
  • The National Archives
  • 1911 Census
  • Census Indexes
  • Filing Censuses
  • Census Returns for Scotland and Ireland
  • FamilySearch

    Wills and Will Indexes
  • Wills From 1858
  • Wills Before 1858
  • Other Will Indexes in England and Wales
  • Online Will Indexes Outside England and Wales

    The National Archives

    Parish Registers in England and Wales
  • Original Parish Registers

    Gravestones and Memorials
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 3
    General Registration in Other Countries
    Required Reading

    General Registration in Various Countries
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • United States
  • South Africa

    Census Returns & Electoral Rolls in Other Countries
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada
  • United States
  • South Africa

    Other One-Name Studies Sources
  • Australia Newspapers
  • New Zealand Newspapers
  • United States Newspapers
  • South Africa

    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 4
    Analysing The Data
    Required Reading
    Family Reconstruction
    Naming Lineages
    Finding Missing Data
    Migration of Ancestors
    Maps Sources

    How DNA Can Help Analyse One-Name Study Data
  • Registering a Y-chromosome DNA Project

    Synthesis of Data
    Types and Origins of Surnames
    Evaluating Progress
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 5
    Websites for One-Name Studies
    Required Reading

    Guild of One-Name Studies
    Beware! Privacy of Living People
    Websites to Connect With
    Improve Your Chances of Getting Found

    Social Networking
  • Facebook
  • Your One-Name Study on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Why Twitter
  • Using Twitter
  • GenealogyWise
  • Becoming a Member
  • My Page
  • Settings
  • Groups
  • Joining a Group
  • Creating a Group
  • Videos
  • Chats
  • Chat Room
  • Blogs
  • Why Blog?
  • Setting Up a Blog
  • Maintaining a Blog
  • Finding Blogs

    Contacting Name Bearers
    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 6
    Required Reading
    Publishing Your One-Name Study
    Articles in Magazines and Journals

    One-Name Study Books
  • Things to Consider

    Seminars and Conferences

    Publishing on the Web
  • Website
  • Some Website Considerations
  • The Homepage
  • Page Design
  • One-Name Content to include

    Safeguarding Your Study
  • Online Archiving for Guild Members

    Ensuring the Longevity of Your Study
  • When Your Time Comes

    Suggested Reading and Resources

    Module 7
    DNA & Your One-Name Study
    Required Reading
    Finding a Study

    Creating a DNA Study
    Recruiting Volunteers
    Collating & Analyzing Data

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