Every member of the Guild of One-Name Studies structures their studies differently. Some members enter their data straight into a genealogical database, others extract data from various sources and they analyse the data. Some collect data and have done since the concept of a study was first considered and is entirely paper based with the thought of making the data available electronically overwhelming because of the need to enter the data into a programme.
There is no right or wrong way to work on a study, merely your way. There is always scope for “improvement” or change. I personally changed my way at least three times before I found the way that was comfortable for me. It is really akin to buying a car, none of us buy the first we see, we take them for a spin first then evaluate. Working on a study is no different.
What I would always recommend is evaluate what you want to do with your study. Do you want a website and to exhibit family reconstructions? Do you want to “collect” and gather material and go no further?
The internet age enables so much more of our studies. It enables us to connect with others quicker on a global scale. It enables us to gather data quicker on a global scale and to display that data for all to see.
As someone who gathered the indexes from St Catherine’s decades ago which took three years to achieve for a “foreign” surname I was able to download the material from FreeBMD in a matter of minutes. I then cut and pasted the data into a workbook in Excel.
The internet has enabled me to create a website and to share the material on that site in almost piecemeal fashion using the marriage index from FreeBMD. I described that process a bit earlier in this series. I also used the Guild indexes which are typically a members’ benefit; that works especially well for a common typically English surname and enables me to at least identify spouses for some of the 37,000 Butcher marriages from 1837-1983 in England and Wales. Having identified the individuals from the marriage, including the names of the respective father’s I can build the family group, their children and their subsequent marriages, the parents and siblings. I use the Census and record every factor as an event as that enables me to build a timeline in the life of an individual.
However you use choose to do your study, enjoy it, use the benefits the Guild offers to it’s members (and the public in the cases of two indexes). Connect with members and engage with them, whether that it sharing information on a marriage between your studies or at a seminar.
One thing I would stress is don’t get into data overload! If you download material have a file in the cloud where you can put the information, record it in your research log and then come back to it in the future.
Do what you enjoy!