What is a One-Name or Surname Study?

Created by Julie Goucher 2019

The next Pharos Introduction to One-Name Studies course will begin on 31 May 2022 and won’t run again this year.

I thought that  some people might be wondering what a One-Name study is.

Essentially it is a project which focus’ on a single surname, regardless of any connection between people bearing the same name. If the surname is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies then there is a commitment to aspire to research the surname globally.

Over the years, a number of people have said they find that too challenging, and I have a number of things to reassure. The Guild does not assert any pressure on the study registrant – there is no time span, you work on your study at your own pace.

Global Considerations:

  • Depend on the size of the study
  • Access to records – not everything is online
  • Time commitment from the registrant

I have three studies registered, one I am about to pass to my husband as that relates to his family. That is fairly small, even on a global scale. Certainly in England and Wales it is very regional – predominately in the Counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Yorkshire. Even in the United States there appears to be relatively few instances of the surname.

My two studies that relate to my own family represent the surnames of my parents. One is an occupational name and it is a medium to large study, the other is for an Italian surname. From an assessment of English records, it appears to be a reasonably small study. I said appears to be, because the reality is, in Italy and not surprising the United States the surname is very popular and that means it is another medium to large study.

So I have essentially two large studies that represent my parental families. Over the coming months I will share bits about the studies but the reality is, the few items I have listed above will influence how quick you leave one Country and move to another. If you start your research in the United States it might take you ten years to leave the US because of the availability of records or the amount of records or perhaps both of those elements come into play.

Have a look at the website Forebears and insert your surname of interest and your email address and a map of the world will populate and that will give you an idea of where your surname appears.

Here is the map for the distribution for my two One-Name Studies – Butcher and Orlando. This is based on data for 2014 as that was the only year where both surnames were illustrated clearly.

Distribution of Surnames 2014 for Orlando and Butcher – Copyright Julie Goucher 2020

Both studies are definitely global with the majority for:

ORLANDO name appearing in: Italy, Argentina, Australia, United States, Canada, India and through parts of Europe.

BUTCHER name appearing in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States and parts of South America, parts of Europe including Russia.

Apart from being a surname research project, it is a wonderfully interesting way to add dimension to your family history and genealogical pursuits.

For more details, and to register please visit the Introduction to One-Name Studies course page on the Pharos website

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), One-Name Studies. Bookmark the permalink.

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