Undertaking a One-Name Study and surname research should be fun, so it is worth taking time to think about the way forward.
It doesn’t matter if you change systems, I did three times before I proceeded with what I have now and I wish that someone had said that to me when I started all those years ago with reams of paper!
There is no right or wrong way to proceed, you need to select the option that works for you. If you don’t, the study won’t proceed and it will stop being fun!
What follows below are a few considerations:
- Create your Study Profile – If you are a Guild member with a registered One-Name Study you will have one set up for you. This is the shop window of your study. It alerts others to the study and encourages interaction. The profile can evolve as the study does. Here are a few profile examples:
- Decide how to keep your study
- Raw data into spreadsheets
- Database using a Family History programme. – The most popular amongst Guild members are Roots Magic, Legacy and Family Historian
- I personally keep spreadsheets of vital records and once I have started family reconstruction the individuals are added to the database, I use RootsMagic
- Website – We touch on this a little later in the series, but do give this some consideration, especially if you decide you will want to join the Guild’s Members Website Project and use TNG – A good example of a site using TNG is the Howes Study.
- Be organised – where are you going to keep your archive of material? Material to be processed? Consider Evernote or One-Note and files in Dropbox.
- Use the Guild Library to archive your records, even if you have a website
- Consider paper versus electronic or both
- Data Overload – It is easy to get bogged down in material as data sets are released. By all means download the material as you find it, but process it into your study in a methodical way. If you need to, write out a research flow chart that explains your data process method.
- Keep a ONS Log – This does not need to be grand.
- word document, spreadsheet, your genealogy programme or notebook
- Record where you search and what you find. Include a date and the URL if it is a website.
- Record include nil results so that you know that you have searched
- You can revisit sites as data is continually being uploaded to websites and in some cases records offices may switch providers
- As you search you might find you want to create your to do list
- Citations for your work – this is really important, if you need to revisit a database, document or archive this will help you and will save time. It also means that others can follow your research and know where the information came from.
- Talk to others – Guild members are amongst the friendliest genealogists I know. Sharing of hints, tips and advice is readily available. A One-Name study is not a case of one size fits all, every study is different, just as every researcher is different.
More about Organisation of a study is covered in the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course.