The Guild Fellowship Scheme was set up in order to recognise those Guild members considered especially worthy of honour, either because of their level of expertise in genealogy and one-name studies, or for their contribution to the running of the Guild - or both.

In keeping with the concept of a Guild, each individual recognised in this manner shall be known as a Master Craftsman of the Guild (MCG). Membership is restricted to a maximum of fifty Master Craftsmen at any one time, and no more than five new candidates may be admitted in any one year, except that in 2009/10, the first year of the scheme, up to 20 candidates were allowed.


The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held April 2013:


Sheila Rowlands

Sheila Rowlands is an individual who has made a significant contribution to the study of surnames and surname distribution with the publication of the seminal book 'The Surnames of Wales'. This book was the first book to use mapping techniques to explore the distribution of surnames in Wales. This lady has also co-authored two other books on Welsh family history with her husband John, entitled 'Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research' and 'Second Stages in Researching Welsh Ancestry'.

Already a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists, Sheila said she was absolutely delighted to be honoured with this award. She said: 'As far as I can work out, I joined the Guild in 1980 - certainly just after the first wave of members, and after listening to some of the marvellous founder members speaking at an FFHS Conference. What they said inspired me to start on many happy years of one-name study, greatly supported by Guild facilities and interaction with fellow members. My co-author and husband, John, and I are working flat out to finish a much-enlarged new edition of our Surnames of Wales, which I do hope some members will profit from in due course.'


Polly Rubery

The second award goes to a long standing member of the Guild (for something like 30 years), Polly Rubery. In all that time, she has never lost her enthusiasm for her two one-name studies and is always keen to demonstrate to other members her experience in how to run her one-name studies from how to use Excel spreadsheets for ONS, organising one-name gatherings, or the application of DNA to her study.

She is a frequent contributor to the Guild forum and is always willing to give the benefit of her experience. Over the years she has also contributed to the Guild in an administrative role, a former member of the Guild Seminar subcommittee, Regional Rep for Berkshire and then Herefordshire and Worcestershire.


Anne Shankland

The third award goes to another lady whose tremendous efforts could not be overlooked and her identity will be obvious from the outset.

She has ensured that we have a website with many outstanding features which we often take for granted, including PayPal for subscription renewals, seminar and conference payments and online sales, as well as the development of the Bulletin-Board and the development and maintenance of the various Guild indexes.


Colin Ulph

The fourth and final award for 2013 goes to someone for 'embracing DNA studies with enthusiasm'.

His nominee referred to 'the scope and comprehensiveness of his research regarding his registered name'. He has successfully recruited over 60 participants, out of a small population of his surname, where there are only 350 name bearers today. DNA has led to discoveries that assisted his one-name study, though some of these discoveries were unexpected. I am sure we can all relate to that, DNA study or not!


The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held 14th April 2012:


Wendy Archer

Wendy Archer, MCG

Wendy has held a sometimes challenging role as manager of the Guild's Rootsweb mailing list (the Forum) for a number of years now and does so in an exemplary manner. One of her nominations stated, "She undertakes her 'policing' responsibilities with a light but firm hand. Her administrative postings are rare but always timely and carefully considered. Behind the scenes she does much unseen work, dealing with many 'bounces', reposting relevant messages, contacting members when there are problems or postings breach Forum FAQs, and reporting to the Committee. She is always willing to help new members of the Forum." She does much to ensure the smooth running, relevance and success of what is one of the Guild's most appreciated facilities.


Peter Copsey, MCG

Peter Copsey

Peter has been nominated every year since the fellowship scheme was launched, and in one nominator's words, "I'm horrified that he isn't a Master Craftsman yet, after all the work he has done initiating, refining, conducting and supporting Marriage Challenges," (the Guild's project where members search for marriage entries in local Record Offices on behalf of other members). Others talk of his "untiring work for the Guild . . . keeping the Marriage Challenge in the news as well as representing the Guild on the FFHS." Looking back at his initial nomination in 2010, his "vision, organising ability, persistence and sheer effort in conceiving and implementing the concept of Marriage Challenges" was recognised and these qualities have served to see his superb initiative go from strength to strength over the years. Until now, Peter - humble as ever - did not feel that he was worthy of the honour of Master Craftsman of the Guild as his contribution was too short-lived.


The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held 16th April 2011:


Gordon Adshead

Gordon Adshead, MCG

Gordon has seemingly never-ending energy and enthusiasm in providing superb seminars. These events are a vital and significant part of the Guild's activities, contributing as they do to the general level of expertise of Guild members as well as to a very real sense of community. And it must further be recognised that the seminars, being open to the public as well as to the Guild membership, are a splendid "shop window" for the Guild, presenting our membership as not only scholarly and serious about genealogy but also as friendly and welcoming. He works very hard to direct and organise these seminars. His work was perhaps shown to its greatest extent in the Computer Seminar at Epsom in August 2010, which alone would have represented a significant contribution to the Guild - but it was only one of four seminars during the course of the year, and he also organised the 2011 Conference!


Roger Goacher, MCG

Roger Goacher

Roger has been a Guild member since 1998 and during this time he has served on the main Committee and Seminar Subcommittee, served as Registrar and Renewals Secretary, and managed a Guild Conference. He is always available to answer questions on One-Name Studies, is a quick participant on the Guild Forum, and has laboured away on many Marriage Challenges with his wife and fellow Guild member.


Mary Rix

The Guild Marriage Index has gone from strength to strength from its website debut in early 2004 (with a little over 50,000 entries) to its current version which has half a million entries. It was Mary Rix who, in 2003, originally proposed the Guild Marriage Index to Committee, and got it accepted as a new Guild Project. At the time she had already been running an Index for several years! Her commitment to the project is unquestioned, as not only does she issue a new edition approximately every six months, but she also responds to queries from marriage challengers and individual members who want details of the marriages in the Index. The amount of time, care and skill she puts in to the Index is indubitable, as she spends many hours entering, checking, and correcting the entries she receives. The value of her contribution to maintaining the GMI for the benefit of Guild members is enormous.


The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held 10th April 2010:


Steve Archer, MCG

Steve Archer

Steve was nominated for his three iconic programs: LDS Companion, GenMap, and Surname Atlas. All three are much used and appreciated by Guild members in their One-Name Studies. Steve not only developed the software, but has also provided an exemplary level of support to members in their use.


Howard Benbrook

Howard received more nominations than any other nominee for the first announcement of MCGs. Howard Benbrook, MCG He has been a Chairman of the Guild, and of course has served on the Committee. He has carried out many Marriage Challenges, and pioneered the collection of Cardinal Points. He is well known for his entertaining talks publicising the Guild.

However, he is most well known as the public face of the Guild in his role as the Bookstall Manager. In doing this he gave up numerous weekends, achieved a considerable amount of income for the Guild, and gave the Guild a presence at many Family History events as well as our own seminars and Conferences. Through these efforts many people have learnt about the Guild and some of them have joined the Guild.

As our President said, "He has revolutionised the Guild's publications sales function".

We must also not forget that he has a wealth of knowledge, particularly concerning London, and he is always willing to offer advice.


Susan Meates, MCG

Susan Meates

Susan is well known for her DNA knowledge, and has done a great deal to support and assist our members undertaking DNA studies. She has acted as an advisor to the Guild Committee on DNA, and also chaired the Guild DNA Advisory Group.

She also has considerable experience and expertise in marketing, and has provided much helpful advice to the Guild on this topic, particularly concerning activities in North America.


Andrew Millard, MCG

Andrew Millard

Andrew was nominated for his "level of expertise in genealogy and one-name studies". He is a contributor to the Guild Wiki, and is well known for his help and advice on the Guild Forum. One of the nominations for Andrew said, "I can think of none whose postings (on the Forum) carry such authority and clarity.   He would be a very worthy recipient of this honour."


Paul Millington

Paul's contribution in time and technical skill is second to none. He was very much instrumental in the development of our website, working for six years as its webmaster, and has continued to do development work on parts of the web site including the archives and the membership database. Paul Millington, MCG

The Guild Profiles facility was one of many of his developments, allowing members to have their own web page without needing the technical knowledge on how to create one.

It was pleasing to see that most of his nominations were from non Committee members, showing that although he usually works in the background his work has been appreciated.

He was for a number of years Vice Chairman of the Guild, giving excellent support to the Chairman. In Committee he often came up with the comment which made the other Committee members think and question their approach to particular problems.


Derek Palgrave, MCG

Derek Palgrave

Derek was a founder member of the Guild and held office since 1981 when he became Chairman and then President in 1988. One of the nominations described him as "probably the most respected member of the Guild community."

He can also be described as an expert on one name studies and his work on deviants and variants is used as standard guidance for members.

What more needs to be said?


Chris Pomery, MCG

Chris Pomery

Chris is another DNA expert. He has had two books published on the subject, lectures extensively on the topic and is an active Guild member. He always endeavours to publicise the Guild in his talks and articles etc.

He is always willing to help Guild members.


Roy Rayment, MCG

Roy Rayment

One of the nominations for Roy described him as "an unsung hero of the Guild". Roy is a very long-serving committee member who is always willing to take on jobs few people would want; recently when membership renewals were slow he telephoned all UK and overseas members to let them know that they had not renewed.

If Howard is the public face of the Guild, Roy is the public voice of the Guild, as he mans the Guild Helpdesk, taking calls from members of the public and Guild members. One of the tasks he has done in this connection is offering a help line to talk members through the creation of their Profile.


Roy Stockdill, MCG

Roy Stockdill

One of the nominations for Roy Stockdill summed up very well why he should receive this award: "He totally transformed the Guild Journal and indeed the Guild's image, and by exploiting his own journalistic skills set a standard for family history journals in general. This has, of course, been acclaimed by the outstanding results in the Elizabeth Simpson Award competition."

Roy edited our Journal for ten years, and his successor as Editor said he was a hard act to follow!


Iain Swinnerton

Iain Swinnerton, MCG

Iain could fairly be described as another pioneer, as he was one of the founding members of the Guild, served on the Committee, and was Editor of the Journal back in 1984. In 1977, two years prior to the formation of the Guild, he was responsible for publishing the first Register of One-Name Studies.

He is a stalwart not only of the Guild, but was also the first Chairman and later first President of the Federation of Family History Societies. He was instrumental in allowing One Name Societies to join the Federation.

He is also well known for his expertise in military history as it relates to Family History, and regularly writes on this topic.


Ken Toll, MCG

Ken Toll

Ken served on the Committee for a number of years and was Chairman in the early part of this millennium. He has been the Production Manager, continuing to help subsequent holders of this post. He was also Chairman of the Marketing Sub Committee.

He is extremely knowledgeable and always willing to help others.


Peter Walker

Peter Walker, MCG

Peter was the Chairman of the Guild for many years. He proved to be an excellent Chairman, with the Guild moving forward on many fronts under his leadership. He used his excellent technical knowledge of genealogy and technology to the advantage of the Guild.  He has also been an excellent ambassador of the Guild and is very well respected.

Despite having to step down as our Chairman for personal reasons, he continues to support the Guild as Production Manager.

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