A-Z Challenge 2018 – Aims of a One-Name Study & Surname Research

a2z-h-smallAs with any research project it is important to have the aims of the project.

Members of the Guild of One-Name Studies will be familiar with the requirements that all studies must be eventually global and that a member must respond to all enquiries.

As someone who has two studies, I have the same aims for both, but essentially someone embarking on such a project should consider the aims before commencing. Of course in a perfect world that is what I would have done when I started back in the late 1980’s, but I didn’t and truth be told I had not actually realised that I was undertaking a One-Name Study.

As I say to all students on the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course, decide where you want your study to be. There is no point collecting references to your surname on card indexes if you want to eventually host a website on your surname.

I am very envious of people starting their study now. Being in the digital age it is much easier to begin a large study. There is likely to be reduced amounts of paper records in the study and the use of genealogical software to record data means that family reconstruction is much easier.

Broadly put:

  • If you simply want to collect material then a spreadsheet works well but this is a simplistic approach, even for a large study.
  • If the aim is to reconstruct families without “fuss” then a family history programme is the way to go.
  • If you know that you want a website for the study and want to get your material and your study out there, then you need a programme that has the ability to produce a GEDCOM file.

So take the time to establish your aims. Choose the right product for the task and remember that in the digital age it is much easier to gather material for a study and it is much easier to publish and share your study.

If you share your study with others using the internet then you are likely to find that others with interest in the surname will come to you and want to either share what information they have or ask questions and see information, and perhaps they will do both.

I wrote an earlier post about the Aims of a One-Name study and we talk more about a number of these points in the Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course.


About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, A-Z Challenge 2018 - Surname Research Series, Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos course 901), One-Name Studies. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A-Z Challenge 2018 – Aims of a One-Name Study & Surname Research

  1. Wendy says:

    I am looking forward to following along. I have SOME interest in a one-name study but I worry about how variations of the name might make the task overwhelming.


    • Hello Wendy, great to have you following along. You haven’t mentioned which surname, but generally speaking focus on the main surname, establish what the key sites suggest is the numbers you are looking at, then begin collecting the references for the surname. The process of collection will depend on where you are geographically speaking, and where the surname appears.

      Later on in the series, I discuss variants. There are a number of posts on this site about surnames on the top menu bar.


  2. BookerTalk says:

    Wise counsel which I wish I’d had when I started my one name study. But at the time you don’t know what you don’t know – fortunately I realised early on that paper files were never going to work.


    • When I started my study, the internet wasn’t available. The only way was to proceed with paper. My plan is to digitise every scrap of paper if applicable and add all individuals for my studies into my genealogical program with the various evidences then upload the lot to my TNG. It is a huge task, but worth it and I am envious of those starting their One-Name study journey.


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