This topic has been on my blog post list for well over two years. One of the popular questions I am asked is how a One-Name Study (surname project/surname research) differs from family history and Lineage projects.
For whatever reason, we embark on our Family history. We start usually by examining what material we have in our families, we talk to relatives and begin a pattern of research, perhaps online using one of the data providers or perhaps using FamilySearch. We might research all of our direct line ancestors, some choose to research only the male line, others research sideways, researching siblings and so forth. Some research what I call the top layer – essential dates, birth, marriage and death, others flesh out the bones of those who went before us.
At some point we come across X which makes us curious about whatever X, represents. It may well be that you have hit a brick wall, and as a way of trying to overcome that brick wall the approach is to track the surname. Some perhaps come across an unusual surname in their family history and they spend time focusing on that. Some want to initially explore a particular family or group of families in a place, in an attempt to answer the question of what came first, the people with the surname, or the place which became the family name?
The true concept of a One-name study or surname research, is one that tracks a specific surname across the globe and across timespans. If you don’t focus globally then there is a chance you will miss someone. Whilst this sounds a daunting task, it is a project that aligned to a marathon rather than a sprint!
Some studies might start small, and maybe of a limited nature. About 30 years ago I started researching the surname of BUDD. My own family were in Surrey, in particular in the area of Guildford. I researched back, gradually arriving at my 6x great grandfather, Henry Budd. Henry is recorded in the village of Puttenham, but he did not originate from there. The local curate, a man called Charles Kerry recorded lots of material relating to the villagers, some material was small and perhaps almost insignificant material, yet these were snippets of history, otherwise lost over time. He also recorded some pedigrees and it was on the Budd and Strudwick pedigree that Henry is identified as being “first of the Budd’s” You can read about the pedigree HERE. The first record if Henry in Puttenham is in 1724 when his daughter, Martha was baptised. He then went on to have another seven children baptised in Puttenham, each of whom went on to have their own families in the village.
I then set out to locate Henry’s birth and marriage. I began by focusing on the within around 10 miles or so of Guildford.
Overtime, I gathered quite a lot on the name BUDD, but they were specifically within a geographical area – Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex. I had no intention on going global, unless I followed one of “my” Budd’s from England to another part of the world.
Some researchers though, start out exactly as I did with my BUDD family, except they carry on, from their focus area and expand outwards as they choose. This is a One-Name Study.
A Lineage Society is essentially researching direct descent from an ancestor; ancestry or pedigree; there is a list of some of the Societies HERE. You could think that my research with Henry Budd was an example of this, and perhaps it is, however, what makes it different, is that I have researched the Budd’s which includes some which is not related to me. Usually with Lineage Societies you provide genealogical evidence with sources cited and pay the subscription fee to join.
Are you researching a Lineage, or embarked upon a Surname Project? If so do leave a comment.