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Master Craftsmen of the Guild


The Guild Fellowship Scheme was set up in order to recognise those Guild members considered especially worthy of honour, either because of their level of expertise in genealogy and one-name studies, or for their contribution to the running of the Guild – or both.

In keeping with the concept of a Guild, each individual recognised in this manner shall be known as a Master Craftsman of the Guild (MCG). Membership is restricted to a maximum of fifty Master Craftsmen at any one time, and no more than five new candidates may be admitted in any one year, except that in 2009/10, the first year of the scheme, up to 20 candidates were allowed and 12 were awarded the honour. 

Currently the Guild has 32 Master Craftsmen.

2018 Master Craftsmen of the Guild
(l to r) Jim Benedict, Paul Howes and Gerald Cooke
(with Alan Moorhouse standing in for Gerald)

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held March 2018:

Jim Benedict

Jim joined the Guild in 2007 as a member in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has served as a Regional Representative and otherwise supported genealogists in his area with presentations, video tutorials and a helping hand. He has also had five articles in the Journal of One-Name Studies and has spoken at a number of Guild Conferences and elsewhere about the Guild and One-Name Studies.

Jim has played a significant role in the Members Website Project, with focus on the TNG section of the Project. The feasibility group first met in 2014, headed by Mike Spathaky and Jim Benedict. We progressed to presenting a proposal to the Committee for a trial which was approved as a trial project and then subsequently approved as a formal project in 2016.

Jim handles the TNG portion of the project having negotiated with the software author for a deal that would benefit the Guild, working with the webmaster and Krystal on how to insert the software and addresses needed, and training others to help potential users get started. Since then Jim’s work with the project has continued and he is continually developing new tools for members engaged with Type 3 TNG sites.

Paul Howes

​Paul was nominated for this award by no less than three members and has worked tirelessly since he joined the Guild.​

Paul has been a fine and outstanding Chair to work with and the Guild has made significant headway with several matters under his leadership and vision. He has greatly contributed to the Guild and volunteered not only his time, but has steadfastly promoted the ethos of members helping members. He shall be greatly missed from Committee.

Paul also runs a large and global One-Name Study for the Howes surname which has a website ( ) that should be something all members aspire to achieve. The site is excellently presented and is a fine example to the public and members on how a One-Name Study contributes to the wider genealogical community.

Gerald Cook

Gerald is very well known and respected in the Guild and in particular for his contribution and role as Gloucester Regional Representative, one of the few regions to have twice yearly meetings over a ten year period which has expanded and now regularly features members from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire and elsewhere.

Gerald regularly produces a newsletter for his region and was an early adopter of using a Facebook group as a way of reaching out to members.

He encourages members to be aware of the initiatives and events put forward by the Guild. He was one of the first to take up the offer of a TNG website for example.

He has represented and promoted the Guild at many day events especially setting up stalls at Gloucestershire FHS Open Day and the South West Area FHS Fair in Weston super Mare.

Gerald previously served as a Trustee for the Guild and was for a time the Regional Rep Coordinator. At grassroots level volunteers like Gerald are invaluable in showing the aims and values of the Guild.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held April 2017:

Peter Hagger

Peter has worked tirelessly for the Guild for a considerable number of years. He has been a former Chairman, Regional Rep, Volunteers Coordinator and more recently Chairman of the Constitution Review Panel and Returning Officer.

Peter is a respected member of the Guild who has an always been prepared to spend time volunteering and supporting the endeavours our organisation in addition to running his study and photographing any Guild events he attends.

Dominic Johnson

Dominic’s devotion to the Guild started many years ago when she was appointed to the role of Registrar which she carried out with diligence and sensitivity for several years.

Over the years, Dominic has attended many seminars, either as a presenter or a member of the Seminar Subcommittee, where she has organised the catering for seminars for many years. Her contribution to these events has been greatly appreciated by the many attendees.

Dominic can translate Latin and read ancient hand script and has for many years attended courses at Keele University as a pupil and facilitator with the above skills, so much so that she has been involved with the translation of accounts of a monastery workhouse and kitchen increasing our knowledge of the workings of ancient systems. Her studies have helped her give learned talks to the Guild on interpreting old manuscripts and other related subjects.

Alan Moorhouse

Alan is a well-known member of the Guild and is probably one that has encountered many members who have attended Conferences or Seminars organised by the Guild.

Alan handles the bookings and deals with the practical logistics such as attending instructions, dealing with matters at the venue for the delegates on behalf of the Seminar Sub Committee which he joined in 2008. In addition, Alan is often a seminar lead and presenter at the seminars.

Ken Mycock

Ken has been a member of the Guild’s IT presence since 2009 when he became the Guild Email Manager, a role critical to the smooth running of our organisation.

In 2013, as a Committee member and Vice-Chairman, he became the Chairman of the re-formed IT Subcommittee which subsequently made the decision to move the website to WordPress. He is now serving as Assistant Webmaster, busy with supporting our members and building the new website.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held April 2016:

Bob Cumberbatch


Bob’s contribution to the Guild is greatly appreciated by members and should be recognised. Bob spends significant time recording the Guild conference and various seminars with regularity and skill but is also very proactive in hosting and sharing the Cumberbatch One-Name Study. Bob is currently working as part of the Members Website Project and a regular host at the monthly Guild hangouts.

To this end, Bob is not just about being a member and contributing to the workings of the Guild in his current roles and his previous tenure on Committee, but he is committed to sharing his fascinating Cumberbatch study and educating those with an interest in the name and those looking for a fine example of a Guild registered study.

Debbie Kennett


Debbie has been pivotal in managing the Guild’s Social Networking sites which she moderates with a very light and friendly management style. The content and news she brings to members is always of interest.

The Guild’s Facebook and Twitter pages are very popular and provide a valuable resource and benefit to the many members who subscribe to them. In successfully managing these site pages Debbie has made a great contribution to the running of the Guild.

Debbie also has a very high level of expertise in genealogy especially in the field of DNA and she has also made a significant contribution to the study of surnames with the publication of her book ‘The Surname Handbook- A guide to Family Name research in the 21st Century’.

Mike Spathaky


Mike has been a significant contributor to the Guild for many years. In earlier days, he has served on the Committee, including a stint as Secretary, and was the first Guild Webmaster – after apparently having to expend some effort to convince the Committee that a Guild website would be an advantage to the Guild. He encouraged early adopters to venture into the world of the Internet by explaining how to get an email address and how to go online.

But it is a more recent activity that especially merits Mike’s MCG at this time: the Members’ Websites project. Mike first put this recommendation forward in early 2014, and after convincing a fairly sceptical Committee that it was not only a good idea but also feasible, he formed a lively team and steered the project through to its present level of acceptance. The project was carefully planned and documented, and each stage was skilfully managed, with Mike not only keeping his team focused but also handling, with admirable courtesy and resource, any criticisms or objections raised. The Members’ Websites project, in its objective of keeping one-name studies in perpetuity, is so central to the aims of the Guild, that Mike’s contribution has been recognised by the award of the MCG.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held March 2015:

Jan Cooper

Jan Cooper, MCG

Jan has been Secretary of the Guild for the last five years, and has carried out her duties diligently, significantly supporting members of the Committee as well as Guild members, in the day-to-day running of the Guild. Additionally, her guidance and support as Regional Representative to the members in her large region of Surrey has been second-to-none. She held regular monthly meetings which were very well attended and received. Over the past two years she has also supported Teresa Pask as the DNA Kit Coordinator, working with her to deliver nearly 400 DNA kits to Guild members worldwide. In the background, Jan maintains her Greathead One-Name Study, and monthly updates her website at She is a prime example of how to run a one-name study.

Michael Stonehewer

Michael Stonehewer, MCG

Michael started his Stonehewer One-Name Society over ten years ago, and produced his first society newsletter in the spring of 2004. Since then the society has expanded to over 60 members from Canada, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK, with a local point of contact in each country. Michael himself has edited over 40 Stonehewer Journals, winning commendations and awards from FFHS and the Guild. He has also published a number of articles in the Guild Journal, including the Stonehewer/Stanier “Facial Survey Project”, and has further articles in preparation.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held April 2014:

David Evans

David Evans, MCG

David has been a Regional Representative for over a decade, looking after a region which is perhaps one of the largest in the world, and travelling far and wide to represent the Guild and to give lectures about one-name studies. During his tenure as RR there have been several seminars in Australia and the membership “down under” has increased substantially. When any Guild member from elsewhere visits his region, he makes sure to invite them to one of his regional gatherings, and is an extremely welcoming host.

Cliff Kemball

Cliff Kemball, MCG

Not only a long-standing Committee member, but, in the words of one of the nominators, a “superb” Treasurer, and one who has held the post for longer than anyone else. The current state of the accounts in these hard times shows that he has done and continues to do an exceedingly good job. In addition to his Treasurer duties, he has been closely involved in a number of significant projects, including the updating of the Members Handbook and most recently the setting up of the new BMD Vault.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held April 2013:

Sheila Rowlands

Sheila Rowlands, MCG

Sheila Rowlands is an individual who has made a significant contribution to the study of surnames and surname distribution with the publication of the seminal book ‘The Surnames of Wales’. This book was the first book to use mapping techniques to explore the distribution of surnames in Wales. This lady has also co-authored two other books on Welsh family history with her husband John, entitled ‘Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research’ and ‘Second Stages in Researching Welsh Ancestry’.

Already a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists, Sheila said she was absolutely delighted to be honoured with this award. She said: ‘As far as I can work out, I joined the Guild in 1980 – certainly just after the first wave of members, and after listening to some of the marvellous founder members speaking at an FFHS Conference. What they said inspired me to start on many happy years of one-name study, greatly supported by Guild facilities and interaction with fellow members. My co-author and husband, John, and I are working flat out to finish a much-enlarged new edition of our Surnames of Wales, which I do hope some members will profit from in due course.’

Polly Rubery

Polly Rubery, MCG

Polly Rubery is a long standing member of the Guild (for something like 30 years). In all that time, she has never lost her enthusiasm for her two one-name studies and is always keen to demonstrate to other members her experience in how to run her one-name studies from how to use Excel spreadsheets for ONS, organising one-name gatherings, or the application of DNA to her study.

She is a frequent contributor to the Guild forum and is always willing to give the benefit of her experience. Over the years she has also contributed to the Guild in an administrative role, a former member of the Guild Seminar subcommittee, Regional Rep for Berkshire and then Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Anne Shankland

Anne Shankland, MCG

Anne Shankland is someone whose tremendous efforts can not be overlooked. She has ensured that we have a website with many outstanding features which we often take for granted, including PayPal for subscription renewals, seminar and conference payments and online sales, as well as the development of the Bulletin-Board and the development and maintenance of the various Guild indexes.

Colin Ulph

Colin Ulph, MCG

Colin Ulph has ’embraced DNA studies with enthusiasm’. His nominee referred to ‘the scope and comprehensiveness of his research regarding his registered name’. He has successfully recruited over 60 participants, out of a small population of his surname, where there are only 350 name bearers today. DNA has led to discoveries that assisted his one-name study, though some of these discoveries were unexpected. I am sure we can all relate to that, DNA study or not!

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held 14th April 2012:

Wendy Archer

Wendy Archer, MCG

Wendy has held a sometimes challenging role as Forum Manager for a number of years now and does so in an exemplary manner. One of her nominations stated, “She undertakes her ‘policing’ responsibilities with a light but firm hand. Her administrative postings are rare but always timely and carefully considered. Behind the scenes she does much unseen work, dealing with many ‘bounces’, reposting relevant messages, contacting members when there are problems or postings breach Forum FAQs, and reporting to the Committee. She is always willing to help new members of the Forum.” She does much to ensure the smooth running, relevance and success of what is one of the Guild’s most appreciated facilities.

Peter Copsey

Peter Copsey, MCG

Peter has been nominated every year since the fellowship scheme was launched, and in one nominator’s words, “I’m horrified that he isn’t a Master Craftsman yet, after all the work he has done initiating, refining, conducting and supporting marriage challenges.” Others talk of his “untiring work for the Guild … keeping the Marriage Challenge in the news as well as representing the Guild on the FFHS.” Looking back at his initial nomination in 2010, his “vision, organising ability, persistence and sheer effort in conceiving and implementing the concept of Marriage Challenges” was recognised and these qualities have served to see his superb initiative go from strength to strength over the years. Until now, Peter – humble as ever – did not feel that he was worthy of the honour of Master Craftsman of the Guild as his contribution was too short-lived.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held 16th April 2011:

Gordon Adshead

Gordon Adshead, MCG

Gordon has seemingly never-ending energy and enthusiasm in providing superb seminars. These events are a vital and significant part of the Guild’s activities, contributing as they do to the general level of expertise of Guild members as well as to a very real sense of community among us. And it must further be recognised that the seminars, being open to the public as well as to the Guild membership, are a splendid “shop window” for the Guild, presenting our membership as not only scholarly and serious about genealogy but also as friendly and welcoming. He works very hard to direct and organise these seminars. His work was perhaps shown to its greatest extent in the Computer Seminar at Epsom in August 2010, which alone would have represented a significant contribution to the Guild – but it was only one of four seminars during the course of the year, and he also organised the 2011 Conference!

Roger Goacher

Roger Goacher, MCG

Roger has been a Guild member since 1998 and during this time he has served on the main Committee and Seminar Sub-Committee, served as Registrar and Renewals Secretary, and managed a Guild Conference. He is always available to answer questions on One-Name Studies, is a quick participant on the Guild Forum, and has laboured away on many Marriage Challenges with his wife and fellow Guild member.

Mary Rix

Mary Rix, MCG

The Guild Marriage Index has gone from strength to strength from its website debut in early 2004 (with a little over 50,000 entries) to its current version which has half a million entries. It was Mary Rix who, in 2003, originally proposed the Guild Marriage Index to Committee, and got it accepted as a new Guild Project. At the time she had already been running an Index for several years! Her commitment to the project is unquestioned, as not only does she issue a new edition approximately every six months, but she also responds to queries from marriage challengers and individual members who want details of the marriages in the Index. The amount of time, care and skill she puts in to the Index is indubitable, as she spends many hours entering, checking, and correcting the entries she receives. The value of her contribution to maintaining the GMI for the benefit of Guild members is enormous.

The following people were appointed MCGs at the AGM held 10th April 2010:

Steve Archer

Steve Archer, MCG

Steve was nominated for his three iconic programs: LDS Companion, GenMap, and Surname Atlas. All three are much used and appreciated by Guild members in their One-Name Studies. Steve not only developed the software, but has also provided an exemplary level of support to members in their use.

Howard Benbrook

Howard Benbrook, MCG

Howard received more nominations than any other nominee for this first announcement of MCGs. He has been a Chairman of the Guild, and of course has served on the Committee. He has carried out many Marriage Challenges, and pioneered the collection of Cardinal Points. He is well known for his entertaining talks publicising the Guild.

However, he is most well known as the public face of the Guild in his role as the Bookstall Manager. In doing this he has given up numerous weekends, achieved a considerable amount of income for the Guild, and given the Guild a presence at many Family History events as well as our own seminars and Conferences. Through these efforts many people have learnt about the Guild and some of them have joined the Guild.

As our President said, “He has revolutionised the Guild’s publications sales function”.

We must also not forget that he has a wealth of knowledge, particularly concerning London, and he is always willing to offer advice.

Susan Meates

Susan Meates, MCG

Susan is well known for her DNA knowledge, and has done a great deal to support and assist our members undertaking DNA studies. She has acted as an advisor to the Guild Committee on DNA, and also chaired the Guild DNA Advisory Group.

She also has considerable experience and expertise in marketing, and has provided much helpful advice to the Guild on this topic, particularly concerning activities in North America.

Andrew Millard

Andrew Millard, MCG

Andrew was nominated for his “level of expertise in genealogy and one-name studies”. He is a contributor to the Guild Wiki, and is well known for his help and advice on the Guild Forum. One of the nominations for Andrew said, “I can think of none whose postings (on the Forum) carry such authority and clarity.   He would be a very worthy recipient of this honour.”


Paul Millington

Paul Millington, MCG

Paul’s contribution in time and technical skill is second to none. He was very much instrumental in the development of our website, working for seven years as its webmaster, and has continued to do development work on parts of the web site including the archives and the membership database. Often somebody asks a question at a Committee meeting and with a few key clicks he has the answer.

The Guild Profiles facility was one of many of his developments, allowing members to have their own web page without needing the technical knowledge on how to create one.

It was pleasing to see that most of his nominations were from non Committee members, showing that although he usually works in the background his work has been appreciated.

He has for a number of years been Vice Chairman of the Guild and given excellent support to the Chairman. In Committee he often comes up with the comment which makes us all think and question our approach to particular problems.

Derek Palgrave

Derek Palgrave, MCG

Derek was a founder member of the Guild and held office since 1981 when he became Chairman and then President in 1988. One of the nominations described him as “probably the most respected member of the Guild community.”

He can also be described as an expert on one name studies and his work on deviants and variants is used as standard guidance for members.

What more needs to be said?

Chris Pomery

Chris Pomery, MCG

Chris is another DNA expert. He has had two books published on the subject, lectures extensively on the topic and is an active Guild member. He always endeavours to publicise the Guild in his talks and articles etc.

He is always willing to help Guild members.

Roy Rayment

Roy Rayment, MCG

One of the nominations for Roy described him as “an unsung hero of the Guild”. Roy is a very long-serving committee member who is always willing to take on jobs few people would want; recently when membership renewals were slow he telephoned all UK and overseas members to let them know that they had not renewed.

If Howard is the public face of the Guild, Roy is the public voice of the Guild, as he mans the Guild Helpdesk, taking calls from members of the public and Guild members. One of the tasks he has done in this connection is offering a help line to talk members through the creation of their Profile.

Roy Stockdill

Roy Stockdill, MCG

One of the nominations for Roy Stockdill summed up very well why he should receive this award: “He totally transformed the Guild Journal and indeed the Guild’s image, and by exploiting his own journalistic skills set a standard for family history journals in general. This has, of course, been acclaimed by the outstanding results in the Elizabeth Simpson Award competition.”

Roy edited our Journal for ten years, and our present Editor has said he was a hard act to follow!

Iain Swinnerton

Iain Swinnerton, MCG

Iain could fairly be described as another pioneer, as he was one of the founding members of the Guild, served on the Committee, and was Editor of the Journal back in 1984. In 1977, two years prior to the formation of the Guild, he was responsible for publishing the first Register of One-Name Studies.

He is a stalwart not only of the Guild, but was also the first Chairman and later first President of the Federation of Family History Societies. He was instrumental in allowing One Name Societies to join the Fed.

He is also well known for his expertise in military history as it relates to Family History, and regularly writes on this topic.

Ken Toll

Ken Toll, MCG

Ken served on the Committee for a number of years and was Chairman in the early part of this millennium. He has been the Production Manager, continuing to help subsequent holders of this post. He was also Chairman of the Marketing Sub Committee.

He is extremely knowledgeable and always willing to help others.

Peter Walker

Peter Walker, MCG

Peter was the Chairman of the Guild for many years. He proved to be an excellent Chairman, with the Guild moving forward on many fronts under his leadership. He used his excellent technical knowledge of genealogy and technology to the advantage of the Guild.  He has also been an excellent ambassador of the Guild and is very well respected.

Despite having to step down as our Chairman for personal reasons, he continues to support the Guild as Production Manager.

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