The Guild defines a One-Name Study as:
Research into the genealogy and family history of all persons with the same surname and its variants.
This is distinct from family history, in that it is the surname that is of interest, rather than the family tree of members of the same family with several different surnames. However, it does involve many of the same research skills and techniques as family history, and most one-namers are actively researching both their own family and their one-name study.
People often start one-name studies when they get stuck on part of their own ancestry, and believe that if they were to collect all references they find to the surname then this will lead to a break-through. Often it does. Even if it does not, having collected this data the one-namer becomes an expert on his or her name, even when the name is carried by apparently quite separate family groups. While one-name studies can be quite arduous in terms of data collection, they can also be immensely rewarding, both in their ability to offer new insights into the surname and in being able to assist other family historians around the world.
As well as data collection and analysis, the Guild also encourages members to publicise their study, publish its results and preserve them for posterity.
One-namers build up a unique understanding of their name and its significance both geographically and historically. As a recognised centre of information on the name, they will also receive enquiries from, and exchange information with, members of the public with an interest in the name. Over time, they become the worldwide expert on the name and make new friends around the world.© Guild of One-Name Studies 2012 This page was last modified 12 Jan 2012, 23:45