The online resource helps people trace the possible origins and variations of their last name.
The Guild of One-Name Studies, a charitable organization that promotes facts about given surnames, and FamilySearch International, a nonprofit and the largest genealogy organization in the world, announced today that the guild’s collections will now be searchable at FamilySearch.org. The partnership gives guild members another source for preserving their great work while also allowing more researchers across the globe to benefit from exploring the variant spellings of their personal surnames and possibly connect with others throughout the world who have the same last name.
The study of one’s last name (or surname) involves researching all known occurrences of that particular surname in all identifiable resources worldwide, as opposed to researching only the ancestors or descendants of a person. These rich compiled studies can assist a family history researcher to see the geographical distribution of surnames in their tree over centuries, which can help in reconstructing family lines bearing variants of those names. A common hope of customers who use surname studies is to identify the actual geographic locale of origin of a family surname. This outcome could very well happen for unique surnames, but common surnames that reflect an occupation (such as “Farmer” or “Fisher”) or patronymic-type surnames (such as “Johnson” or “Williamson”) may not have a single place of origin.
Cliff Kemball, guild publicity manager, said, “The partnership with FamilySearch gives guild members another method of preserving their one-name study data. Their data is fully preserved for the long term, while still remaining within the control of guild members, who may update, replace, or delete it as their work develops.”
The guild was founded in 1979 and has over 2,980 members studying over 8,935 individual surnames. The Guild of One-Name Studies website launched on April 1, 2016, and is continually expanding its list of surnames. The guild expects the volume of data submitted by guild members to increase significantly now that they can make their research contributions online. And teaming up with FamilySearch.org ensures that more people are making interesting discoveries about their surnames.
David Rencher, the chief genealogy officer for FamilySearch, said, “The rigorous standards and guidelines required by the Guild of One-Name Studies for members of the guild make this the highest quality data available for these surnames. Those who administer and oversee the collection of this data have spent decades collecting all instances of the surnames from a wide variety of records. Since many of these sources are yet to be made available on the Internet, this new set of records on FamilySearch.org is a rich new source of information.”
To see if your surname has been researched by the guild community, go to FamilySearch.org. In the top menu, hover your mouse pointer over Search, and in the drop-down menu, click Genealogies. In the Last Names field, enter the surname you are interested in researching. Click the down arrow on the blue All button, and click Guild of One-name Studies. Then click the blue Search button.
More information about the guild can be found at one-name.org, where researchers can also register their own surnames.