In the early 1970s, amongst the handful of societies for family historians in the UK, there were just a few specialising in a single name. The newly formed Federation of Family History Societies encouraged one-name groups to affiliate. The policy was so successful that by 1977 one-third of the member societies in the Federation were one-name groups.

In 1975, at the request of the Federation, the late Frank Higenbottam started a card index of one-name studies. This was taken over in 1976 by Col. Iain Swinnerton, who, after a thorough review, first published it in 1977 as the Register of One-Name Studies.

The Federation was also instrumental in organising the first weekend conference on one-name studies in Leicester in May 1978. At that conference it was decided to launch a new organisation for one-namers, and the Guild of One-Name Studies formally came into being on 1st September 1979 at a meeting in Plymouth.

The new organisation was set up as a Guild, as the founders were keen to liken members to skilled craftsmen. They also felt that the acronym GoONS would be memorable, and would ensure that members didn't take themselves too seriously.

Since the formation of the Guild, the Guild Registrar has continued to maintain the Register. Editions of the Register are published annually in paper form, and circulated to genealogical institutions and public libraries. The Register also exists as a searchable database on this website. The main purpose of the Register is to enable individuals who specialise in researching specific surnames to have their interests on record.

Long thin blue line © Guild of One-Name Studies 2012 This page was last modified 12 Jan 2012, 23:41
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