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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2004-12-15 08:50:36
Subject: Re: One Name Studies.

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Roy Stockdill (8:8/2002) to All.
* Original dated: Tue Dec 14, 16:55

From: roy{at} ("Roy Stockdill")

There seems to be a good deal of misunderstanding about one-name 
studies. I think perhaps the simplest thing I can say is that 
everyone has a different reason for doing one.

Some people do a one-name study a bit like they would collect train 
numbers - the less kind among the genealogical fraternity, in fact, 
refer to us as "train spotters"! This is because some one-namers do 
simply collect names, dates, places, etc and compile them into an 
enormous database without any attempt to reconstruct families - 
somewhat like collecting train numbers.

I gave a talk on this at the FFHS 30th anniversary conference at 
Loughborough in August, entitled "One-Namers - Anoraks or 
Aristocrats" (or maybe it was the other way round, I forget). 
However, one thing you have to say about one-namers is that we are 
pretty hot on sources. One-namers collect references from not just 
the usual, well-known sources, but we tend to find all kinds of rare 
and unusual sources that the average family historian wouldn't think 
of looking for.

The more sophisticated one-namers also attempt to construct family 
trees within their one-name study, tying different branches 
together. Indeed, many one-namers have found that by extending their 
researches beyond the traditional, one-family-based genealogy, they 
have added new ancestors and relatives to their own trees that they 
didn't know existed.

The "new genealogy" of DNA testing - a science about which I readily 
confess personally to being something of a sceptic - is also being 
taken up especially by one-namers. I have just sent off to the 
printers the January-March 2005 Journal of One-Name Studies which 
contains a big article on this subject by Chris Pomery, who has 
written a book "DNA and Family History", which was published by The 
National Archives in September this year. Chris is a Guild member and 
has spoken at our seminars on the topic. By DNA genetic testing you 
can at least hope to establish whether one group of people are 
related to another group with the same surname and then look for the 
documentary evidence using traditional methods to prove it.

One-name studies are just another aspect of family history but one 
which some of us find fascinating. It has nothing whatsoever to do 
with snobbery (as someone suggested in this thread), but is about 
extending one's knowledge of sources and research in a more specific 
and advanced way. Certainly, a one-name study is not something I 
would suggest to either a beginner or someone with a common surname 
(we prefer to use the term "frequent surname").

Roy Stockdill
Web page of the Guild of One-Name Studies:-
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History:-

"Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest
knowledge of how to live, nor the remotest instinct about when to die."

Oscar Wilde


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