Q & A – Naming and Numbering Patterns for a One-Name or Surname Study

Created by Julie Goucher – Feb 2020 Using Wordclouds.com

I recently received an email from someone at the beginning of their One-Name or Surname Study. The email contained several questions, which I am going to split into four posts. This is post two. Click to read Post One.

What advice or guidance can you give on naming/numbering patterns?

Over recent years various students have asked me about naming or numbering patterns. I have the general view of lets keep it simple. If you are entering people into software, then the identifying number the software allocates is sufficient. The number itself is nothing more than a way to identify one John Smith from another.

As I enter people into my database the software generates a number. How this is displayed does vary depending on the software used. My Grandfather, individual number 5 was added to my original program which was Family Origins (from the same developer as Roots Magic.). In Roots Magic the display options were the individual number and the year of birth. The individual highlighted is my Grandfather – (you can see it clearer by clicking the image.)

Image showing individual 5 – RootsMagic – Julie Goucher, 2022

I recently began using Family Historian, populated by an extracted GEDCOM from Roots Magic. My maternal Grandfather, George Butcher is individual 5, regardless of the software used. As you can see the layout is very different, but still providing the same individual and the same data.

Image showing individual 5 – Family Historian v7 – Julie Goucher, 2022

The number in my database is also the number I incorporate into the naming schedule for what I will call media items, so things like photographs and documents – I will write a longer post on this, so stay tuned!

The person who asked the next question appearing here is not the same person who asked the question above, but it is relevant to reply to that question also, in this post.

I was planning to transcribe all the individuals with my surname from the census into Excel, what is the best way to give numbers family grouping?

Oh, that is an interesting questions. Before I answer the question, let me ask a few questions – Why? and is that a good use of your genealogical time?

I am going to share my approach as a way of answering the question. The census information is widely available to genealogists, and with my studies being quite big, I am not doing a widescale extraction of the data.

As I build family groups, which I do from a marriage, I then look at the census for each individual. I capture the details provided in the census by adding that to my database as facts:

  • Age of individual
  • Where the individual was living
  • Occupation of individual
  • Marital status of individual

Then all those individual facts have the source as the X Census of England and Wales (or other location) and the reference number for the details.

My paternal great grandmother had the surname of VIRCIGLIO, there are no individuals of that name in England and Wales prior to 1945, but if there was, I would gather those individuals into my records, either by adding the individuals to my separate database and or my notebook.

TRY THIS: If you are not sure of the approach you are wanting to use,  think back to where you were in the census years for your country, make sure to include the following for each census year:

  • Address
  • Who you would have been living with
  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation or Scholar (specify which school and where it was)
  • Religion
  • Other characteristics which would be included for each census in your country

Then add each piece of information into your software, noting the source information.

We discuss this and much more in the Practicalities of a One-Name Study 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 Genealogy, Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos course 901), Practicalities of a One-Name Studies (Pharos Course 903), Q & A. Bookmark the permalink.

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