Introduction to One-Name Studies (901)

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Copyright – Pharos Tutors

**Disclaimer**  Any views shared here are my own and do not form or imply any official view point of Pharos Tutors or the Guild of One-Name Studies.

As a Pharos tutor, one of the things I enjoy most is inspiring others to fully understand the entire strategic thinking of a surname project & One-Name Study.

The introduction course is the first course in the suite of One-Name study courses. Focus is on the history of surnames, understanding what a one-name study is, collecting records & gathering records, making sense of the records collected and then practical aspects of such a study. You can read more HERE and you can read any of the extensive posts on the topic of surnames via the surname research link.

Each week there is a lesson and a chat session. The forum provides a platform to get to know fellow classmates and to share answers to the exercise questions, or to ask questions etc. The course is aimed at those researching in England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, but not exclusively so. I have taught a number of students residing across the globe and a number of students who are researching a surname whose origins are elsewhere.

I am a Trustee of the Guild, and have been since 2015, though that is not entwined with my role as a tutor with Pharos.

The next course begins 4th February 2020 and there are still a few places available. The following intake of this introduction course will be early June 2020.

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Choosing a Surname Course

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Copyright – Pharos Tutors

**Disclaimer**  Any views shared here are my own and do not form or imply any official view point of Pharos Tutors or the Guild of One-Name Studies.

There are relatively few formal genealogical based courses, though there are some out there and there are even fewer surname based courses available. Pharos has offered over the last ten years two courses, the introduction course that I now teach and the advanced course. From March 2020 there is to be a third offering from Pharos, written by myself and called Practicalities of a One-Name Study and we will talk about them in more detail over the coming days. All three courses are in association with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

The Pharos courses are offered over five or six weeks and take the format of Tutor directed learning. There are weekly lessons, with each lesson accompanied by an online chat where we discuss the various elements of the lessons.  There is also a forum platform to accompany each course where students can discuss the lesson material, ask questions and respond to the various exercises.

The courses are a welcomed opportunity to strengthen what is already learnt in an informal approach, but also lends itself to being able to be what I would referred to as layered learning. This means that participants can take advantage of seminar, conference and webinar sessions provided by the Guild as a member benefit in addition to wider learning where it is possible to learn and add context to research. Whatever learning we do, it is worth keeping some form of log or diary – key factors learnt, what you want to explore next and anything else deemed of being note worthy.

Posted in One-Name Studies, Pharos - Advanced One-Name Studies, Pharos - Introduction to One-Name Studies course, Pharos - Practicalities of a One-Name Studies Course | Leave a comment

Genealogy Blog Party – Organise and Prioritise


Copyright of Elizabeth O’Neal

Taking part in the Genealogy Blog Party, hosted by Elizabeth at

I have kept notebooks, journals and planners since I was 12 and I have written about them here where I explain how the obsession came to be. I subsequently wrote two more posts, firstly about the Benefits and Thoughts and about Notebooks and Inbox Review.

Readers of this blog will likely have noticed that I often create mini series of posts, typically surname related but not necessarily so. I have tended to scope out any series in my usual notebook, but since about last autumn, I have kept a separate planner, so that I can ensure that I have posts written or at the very least have the day highlighted when they should be published or scheduled. I often write posts months ahead of when they are published. Though I have on occasions drafted the posts and then subsequently forgotten to schedule them, which was another benefit of a separate planner. Writing this blog is not the only writing I undertake, so it is essential that I am organised.

MaldenA5PearThis separate planner is actually an A5 Malden Filofax which I purchased for another purpose originally, in this gorgeous colour which Filofax call pear.  The planner I have divided into sections:

  1. General posts
  2. Surname posts
  3. European Ancestors material
  4. UK and Ireland series
  5. Software and Apps
  6. Other writing

I have set up the planner like this so I can plan and ensure that any subsequent plan actually works out correctly, with a view that there will be no periods of quietness on this site, though that does not always work out! I also list other potential posts, that might be time specific.

The last section covers genealogical articles, such as those for Family Tree Magazine, or WDYTYA? Magazine, or Pharos course material, such as the new Practicalities of a One-Name Studies course. Also in this section is a writing project I have been working on for over a year; the end is in sight!

Now there will be some readers, who will wonder why I bother. The answer to that is to keep me organised and to ensure that my writing portfolio is kept up to date.

Posted in Filofax, Journals & Notebooks, Genealogy Blog Party, Organisation & Structure | Leave a comment

Italian First World War Dead – #GOONSblogchallenge – Post 3

Italy’s involvement in the First World war was nothing short of disastrous. In 1915, knowing that Italy was keen to expand its geographical area Britain promised Italy that upon defeat of the Austro-Hungarian empire there would receive territorial rewards if they supported the cause. Italy broke with The Triple Alliance on 3rd May 1915 and just three weeks later declared war on Austria-Hungary, although not on Germany, 5.8 million Italians were immobilised from a population of 38 million. Italy was both militarily and economically unprepared for war.

The war for Italy lasted just three years, but in that time more than 650,000 Italian soldiers were killed and more than a million seriously wounded. 600,000 Italians were captured by the Austrians and deported of which a 100,000 died. From the 5.8 million immobilised soldiers, 4.2 million were deployed to the front and 56% were former farmers.

At the end of the War, Italy was virtually bankrupted. National debt in 1914 had been more than 15.5 lire by 1919 that number had risen to 85 billion lire. Inflation rose to 400%. More than 500,000 civilians died mostly from food shortages and the poor harvest in 1918.

The promises made in 1915 did not come to fruition, many Italians felt that they had paid a hard price and received almost nothing in return and it was this sentiment that led to Benito Mussolini to rise to power.

For those of us researching Italian ancestors one thing to be mindful of is that if your ancestor retained their Italian Citizenship but lived elsewhere, the UK or US for example they were required to serve in the Italian military.

Full Page

The Golden Books – showing the page containing the name Vircigilo

In the 1930’s Italy’s Ministry of War published what are known as the Golden Books. There were 28 books published plus an additional three appendices commemorating those who perished during the First World War and fought in the Italian Military.

The website can be located at

The website is not the greatest design, and the main page and the initial results can be translated using your internet browser, when your surname yields a response it shows the surname, first name and the father’s first name, which is very helpful, the second field shows which volume the record is in followed by the province, the page and sub-page, the commune or town of birth, date of birth and the last two fields have links, first to the actual page of information (in Italian) and the last field is the personal data and this can be translated in your browser.

The image shown below shows the search box, the transcription and then the excerpt for the surname of Vircigilo, although there were two individuals that perished.

Full example to illustrate

For those of us researching Italian ancestors it is a vital record of our ancestors, because even if they resided elsewhere they may well have returned home to Italy to serve their country. If anyone is researching the surname of Virciglio, especially in Sicily I would be especially delighted to hear from you!


Posted in #GuildBlogChallenge, First World War (WWI), Genealogy, Italy, Vircigilo | 1 Comment

European Ancestors – Russia (Russian Federation)

Russian Flag

Flag of the Russian Federation courtesy of Wikipedia

Russia is the largest country in the world covering an amazing 1/8th of the world’s land mass that is inhabited, with a population of in excess of 150 million. The country spans 9, yes, 9 time zones, linking Eastern European with northern Asia.

The Crimean Peninsular is recognised as Ukrainian territory, but is administered by Russia,

There are key and distinct periods of time that influence the history of Russia, through a variety of political, social and economic influences.

  • 1721 – Imperial Russia proclaimed by Peter the Great
  • 1914 – Russian Republic formed
  • 1918 – Soviet Russia, Civil War
  • 1922 – Soviet Union (USSR)
  • 1991 – Russian Federation

By the 18th Century Russia had expanded through a mixture of annexing and conquering to create an empire that was the third largest in history and stretched from Poland in the west and Alaska in the east.

The Russian Revolution was actually a succession of events, beginning in February 1917 and then subsequently again in November 1917 culminating in Civil War in 1922, though unrest against Soviet rule continued in Asia until the early 1930’s.  The unrest was an attempt to bring about change significant change to the Russian way of life. The Tsarist regime was plagued with unrest by those who were seeking a fairer Country structure. The Country was in chaos and then that was further compromised by the First World War, conscription and famine.

By 1990, the Country was the second largest economy. In 1991 the Soviet Union dissolved, and the emergence of 15 independent republics.

This is not a creative abridgement of a plotted history of Russia. It is a very brief (and I mean brief) look at the key indicators within a country’s history which will affect the lives of your ancestors if you have links to Russia or the countries that were dominated by a Russian mindset and that will determine where you look for traces for your ancestors.

Posted in European Ancestors, Russia, Soviet Union (USSR) | Leave a comment

Genealogical Mailing Lists

Mailing List(2)

Created by Julie Goucher using

In the early days of the genealogical world online, the mailing lists were the way to virtually meet other genealogists, swap information and learn from each other. The world moved on to Facebook, Twitter and a plethora of other methods. As I said last week, the demise of the mailing lists is sad, it is the end of an era, ironic when you think we are at the beginning of a new decade.

The lists have have begun migration, some to, others to Google groups, some to FaceBook and some will fold completely. There is a section on the archives page for each list which provides a space for the new URL for the replacement list. Of course, there might not be replacements for some lists. The archives are remaining on the current Rootsweb site, and whilst they are promised to remain, I will not be relying it on, and instead will be reading through the archives as fast as I can. The message boards ARE remaining, though I wonder for how long?

It is somewhat ironic that the demise of the list structure has for some lists been the most activity they have seen in a few years. Meanwhile, I have not currently made plans to move my own surname lists, but will likely do so. There are Facebook groups associated with both studies, and they are not terribly busy, but better to be in both places and provide opportunities, than in one place and miss out connecting with fellow researchers.

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Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine – February 2020


WDYTYA? Magazine

I am always fascinated by the material folk left behind in the forms of diaries, journals, notebooks etc and the insight it provides to their lives or the communities they lived in.

This month, I share one of those resources with readers of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine (February 2020 issue). Booths Poverty Maps of London are a fascinating asset for those researching in the capital, although the notebooks are in many ways telling a one sided story.

You can see a glimpse of some of the article below, which forms part of the magazine’s Master Class series.

The Magazine is available in both paper and digital format – for more information click HERE


Julie Goucher and WDYTYA Magazine February 2020


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Genealogical Software and Applications


Created by Julie Goucher 2020 using

Ahead of the new Pharos course, Practicalities of a One-Name Study we are going to explore the subject of Software and Applications. Any posts will be categorised the same and will be found HERE.

The software or applications (apps) chosen by researchers will vary depending on what you are planning to do, how and why, in addition to what you are planning to achieve with the overall project as a whole.

In my experience, we often decide to undertake something, then start without considering the impact that starting will have on other things, the how of the project or keeping of the project, much less thinking about why bother the project. By far the most common question asked by Pharos students is about the keeping of a study. Many focus on using a spreadsheet functionality and that is fine, but what are you hoping to achieve?

Consider the aims of any study – do you want a website? and if you do, then you do need to consider how you are going to turn your data into a website without investing in lots of hours retyping. There is little point starting a study of say 50,000 individuals using index cards if you aim is to build a website. Index cards do have their potential place, but as a means to an end, rather than the end.

Like all things, evolution is wonderful. I did not always know the best way forward, I am not even sure that I know the best way forward now. What I do know is, what I wish had been available when I first started my studies. How I wish I had been more organised at the beginning, more contemplative of the way forward. 

We learn by doing, thinking, reflective and questioning behaviours and to some degree by exploring and essentially taking something for a test drive. We also can see reviews and read from the experiences of others. So, stay tuned over the coming weeks for the various posts.

The Practicalities of a One-Name Studies course, commences 17 March 2020, where it is part of the suite of One-Name Studies courses offered by Pharos Tutors.

Posted in Genealogy, One-Name Studies, Pharos - Practicalities of a One-Name Studies Course, Software and Applications | Leave a comment

Demise of RootsWeb Mailing Lists

I do not generally speaking post news announcements, but felt that this one was worthy of sharing.

Earlier this week, RootsWeb shared the following information –

Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails.  Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state.  Administrators may save the emails in their list prior to March 2nd. After that, mailing list archives will remain available and searchable on RootsWeb

I suspect that many of us knew this day would come, but hoped not yet. The Guild of One-Name studies moved their RootsWeb list to another provider about two years ago, because the list was, and still is, a busy one and becoming unstable and losing activity for about two months was disruptive; members missed the list even though there are other methods for communicating with other members.  The archives at RootsWeb are going to remain available, at least for now.

Like many others, I have surname lists, which are linked to my One-Name Studies and will need to now ponder on what I am going to do now and going forward. Other lists are moving to Facebook Groups, some to have gone to Google groups, others to  Sadly though, not all groups have been thriving ones in the recent past and I suspect this, coupled with technology changes, and budgets has driven the decision. Either way, do consider posting to those lists, including the quiet ones, as doing so will mean that your contact information will be available to those who search the archives. If you are a current list admin, then consider the options available to you as alternatives.
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Rectors and Curates #GOONSblogchallenge – Post 2

As genealogists we spend a lot of time exploring the parishes our families or those we are researching have lived in. I have been very lucky to have ancestors who resided in two parishes where either the Rector or the Curate kept detailed notes, journals or manuscripts of the people who resided in the parish.

Charles Kerry

Charles Kerry, in later years – From the Puttenham Collection – Julie Goucher

Curate, Rev Charles Kerry was from Derbyshire originally. He spent around 7 years in the rural Surrey parish of Puttenham before moving to Topcliffe in Yorkshire. He eventually returned home to his home County, where he passed away on 1913.

Kerry kept a multitude of notebooks about the people of Puttenham and I was introduced to Kerry by a chap who lived in Puttenham and was active in the local history society there. Kerry’s notebooks can be found at Derby city library, with copies of the notebooks on microfilm at the Surrey History Centre, Puttenham and Wanborough history society and Surrey Archaeological Society.

By the time I was introduced to Kerry I had already researched my family who had lived in the village from the early 1700’s. The moment I mentioned that my several times great Grandfather was Henry Budd I was quickly told of Kerry and in particular vol 10 of his manuscripts. Volume 10 contains a pedigree tree, drawn by Kerry following his conversations with the people of Puttenham. The tree was substantiated by the parish records and other material that I had already located. On the pedigree, aligned with Henry it says “first of the Budd’s“. That small statement confirmed what I had already established, that Henry was from elsewhere. He had moved to Puttenham and began raising his family with his wife Martha. It was to take me another 8 years in total before I actually located the marriage, which was in Surrey but a town in the opposite direction from where I had looked, having systematically worked through every parish from Guildford to the border with Hampshire, then Guildford to the border with Sussex.

Charles Kerry volume 10

Manuscript – Vol 10 Charles Kerry

My own direct line stems from Henry, through to his son and grandson, both called Richard. This part of family links downwards to my maternal Grandfather, but the fascination did not step there. What I especially love about this, is the incidental details, the point that Richard could sing, and had a “fine tenor voice”. This is just one example of the manuscripts value to local and family historians.

The pedigree sat within my only family lines and I switched across to research my maternal Grandmother’s family, which by coincidence descends from the second Richard Budd’s sister, Mary the wife of Richard Bridger. The family connects to the families associated with the paper mills of Hampshire and Sussex owned by the Elstone, Pim and Bridger families who resided in Headley Hampshire.

The Rector of Headley, Wallis Hay Laverty was a character similar to Kerry. He kept and made copious notes of the lives of those who lived in Headley and the neighbouring parishes of Bramshott and Frensham, of which the latter is in Surrey, just over the border. The notebooks are online are again, a true value to local and family historians. My maternal Grandfather’s family through the descendants of the Budd and Ellis families which join with the Harris families and finally into the Butcher’s and are linked, with some featured on this page. A family in true style that gives me a headache as the Harris, Earle (Earl) and Woods families intermarry and then again for good measure!

It was only after I was able to view the scans a few years ago that I was able to spot another genealogical headache and I plan to cover that in a future week of this challenge and thus remove the item from my to do list!

The question of why these men spent hours and hours recording the lives and pedigrees of families they spiritually looked after is worth contemplating. Perhaps this something they found therapeutic, in much the same way we do, in creating these pedigrees. Without the invention of television, nights were likely long, especially in the winter. Perhaps it was also a way of retaining the snippets of information, who married to whom and when etc. Whatever the reason, I am very grateful that the notebooks were kept and they have stood the test of time.


Posted in #GuildBlogChallenge, Budd, Genealogy, Harris, One-Place Studies, Puttenham & Wanborough | 2 Comments