Tuesday, September 29

One-Name Studies

Most people researching their family history are hoping to find out more about...well...about their family history.

But a select group of researchers want to take it even further, and find out everything there is to know about their surname.  Doesn't make a difference how distantly related someone with the surname is to you.  In fact, makes no difference if they're related at all.  If they have the same name, you want to know about them.

Thus was born GONS -- the Guild of One-Name Studies.    Yes, that really is what they're called, and yes, the guild members are devoted (fanatical?) researchers learning everything there is to know about a single name.

And if that name happens to be your name, then you've hit a goldmine.  Contact the appropriate guild member, swap names, and soon you'll be learning more than you ever thought possible about the clan Clulee, the far-flung Fantrop's or Farrissey's, the world of the Welbelove's, or the guild of Gubben's.

Just don't go looking for Smith's.  The GONS-people tend to focus on unusual surnames, which makes good practical sense.  It would take several lifetimes to compile a list of all Smith's, but Smythesonne's can be handled with a reasonable commitment of time and effort.

Here is the master lookup list of one-name study surnames.  

The site has a definite UK focus, but surnames will go where they will, eh wot?  There are some intriguing resources here, so do some exploring when you visit GONS.

Happy hunting.

Visit the main page of Free Genealogy Tools for more, umm, free genealogical tools.

Also take a look at
Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive.com. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.


Hugh W said...

GOONS please

One-name studies work best with "smaller" names
around about 500 living individuals

use this to check it out

". . .an extract of an Office of National Statistics database, and contains a list of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002. The list contains almost 270,000 surnames, shared by 54.4 million people."

dissertation said...

the GOONS-citizens tend to center on unusual surnames, which makes good sensible sense,

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