Having downloaded and acquired data you need to do something with it. Not every member of the Guild does family reconstruction, and that might depend on the size of your study and your personal preference.
Personally I do reconstruct families and with a large study that is time consuming, but worthwhile.
Remember though, this is YOUR study so as long as you meet the requirements of the Guild of One-Name studies, you can make your own rules!
Reconstruction, in the main, can be started from either of two points:
- Marriage Records
However, it does depend on how you have decided to maintain your database. You might have elected to
- include every person in which case you will have random references
- only include family groups and keep others in spreadsheets.
I know Guild members who use both methods and there is no right or wrong answer here. I personally start from marriages and keep a spreadsheet of marriages devised by Country, so England and Wales from a mixture of FreeBMD and the GRO, Scotland and so forth. I add a number of fields into the spreadsheet, which are mainly for my benefit – have I the marriage certificate or a faux certificate from a Guild marriage challenge, have I entered the details into the Guild indexes and have I uploaded a copy of the certificate to the website.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to the Guild Chairman, Paul Howes in which Paul explained that he also starts from a marriage and the details of his spreadsheet. After our conversation I pulled up my spreadsheet and could see an real advantage to adding the extra fields – the date of the marriage and the church.
For readers outside of England and Wales or unfamiliar with the GRO and FreeBMD. The indexes merely tell you the marriage, the registration district and which volume and page. So in order to gain the details such as occupations, father of bride and groom, witnesses you need to send for the certificate which depending, on availability and time frame will between £6 and £9.25. Those of us who have purchased certificates and provided the information to the indexes help others and the marriage information populates into Marriage Locator. Of course, an alternative to the GRO certificate the marriage from the Parish Registers will also provide the relevant details.
Another element to looking at the data you have is spellings of the surnames – Surnames have changed over time caused by a variety of things, language, accents, unfamiliarity to the name, in the case of some, the alphabet changes and the ability of reading & writing.
We look at the topic of variants and deviants in the course and the differences between them. It is not necessary to register a variant and they can be added over time and research.
Analysing death and burial records might lead you to believe that there was an epidemic or alike of illness such as Cholera. Other analysing of London parishes might lead you to Charles Booths study of London
It is during this stage that you will draw a conclusion which might change over time as more research is done, or you might form a hypothesis .
You might find that during this phase that the evidence and tells you one thing, but you get a sense of X, and that can be determined by a DNA project.
We talk more about a number of these points in the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course. Meanwhile, I’ll be back tomorrow talking about drawing conclusions from Data