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Our 2,744 members have registered
2,396 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

Peggy Chapman

Peggy Chapman

I am a recently retired civil servant living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I have been involved in genealogical research for approximately 20 years to varying degrees. My educational qualifications include an Masters of Library Science and a Bachelor of Education. The benefit of retirement allows for more time to be spent on research and I have also become a member of the executive for my provincial genealogical society. I have been drawn to the One-Name concept for some time and my Messervey branch of the family seemed perfect for this: not high in numbers and with a unique Channel Island background.

Apr 292017

No matter where you are in the world, you can make 2017 the year where you become an active member in the Guild.  What does an active membership mean?  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you become a Committee volunteer, or attend every seminar, or write articles in the Journal.  We all have different levels of time and energy available and going from passive to active status can be as small a step as reviewing the wiki to see what you are missing.  You may not be following the Facebook page and decide to start. Take advantage of the knowledge base that is available to you as you progress in your study.  Perhaps you would like to take on a DNA project but feel intimidated by the entire process.  There are DNA experts, DNA information sources, and services to help you.  Have you given some thought to how to preserve your study?  An entire team of skilled and helpful volunteers can support you to set up a website through the Guild project.  At the very least, take some time to review the website and I guarantee you will find information or a membership benefit of which you were not aware. 

It is true that if you live in Vancouver, Brisbane, or Chicago, there may not be a seminar in your region.  The geography of some countries means there is not a cluster of members in a given area.  As the membership grows internationally, and as technology allows the means to engage regardless of location, opportunities to participate in webinars, watch online presentations given at seminars, and ask questions on Facebook or in a forum, enhance the membership experience. Your regional representative may not live in the neighbourhood but can be a liaison on your behalf.  They are easily accessed through email or perhaps there is a closed Facebook group for your area.  

Get the most from your membership  – explore the topics that have been introduced in these posts and add to your one-name tools! 



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Apr 272017

What is the Guild wiki?  It is a members benefit and members will need to be logged in to view the wiki pages. It represents the collective knowledge of many Guild members on topics ranging from surnames, to conducting a one-name study, to resources by country, to genealogy software, well, almost anything you can think of relevant to a one-name study.  Before you ask a question, try searching the wiki first and you may get the answer you are seeking, or a link to an external resource.  Certainly if you are new to a one-name study, you will see all the pillars of wisdom described and different ways of managing your study.  

Where do you find the wiki?  It is the first topic under the Resources tab on the home page of the Guild website.  The contents of the wiki are displayed in several ways, and you can choose a traditional Table of Contents or you can choose other ways to search, such as, alphabetically or most popular wiki pages.  See the screenshot below for an examples.  The website and wiki editors team have completed the migration from the older system and if you have not visited the wiki recently, now is the time to do so.  Some sections have been revised, updated or if no longer relevant, may have been deleted or assigned to another area of the wiki. 

Do you have a topic that you are particularly interested in?  For example, you have looked at the wiki content for mapping.  Mapping is an area where new developments are occurring rapidly and if new content is added, you would like to know.  At the very bottom of a wiki section, you will see “Notify me of changes”.  Click on this and you should get notified if new content is added.

Do you have information that doesn’t seem to be included on the wiki and is a source useful for one-namers?  You can add content to the wiki, but first ensure it is not duplicate information, is not breaking copyright laws ( no cutting and pasting of others’ information) and familiarise yourself with how to edit, and the layout of the wiki.  If in doubt, you can always email the Wiki Coordinator – the email contact is provided on the first page of the wiki. 


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Apr 262017

Everything that you see, or hear, or do, in the Guild of One-Name Studies is prepared, maintained or facilitated by an individual volunteer or a group of volunteers.  It is how the Guild runs and a total of hours donated by these volunteers would be staggering. Just take a moment to think of how many volunteers have interacted with you during your membership: it began with processing your application to join and ensuring your details were posted to the register; your first of many contacts from a regional representative; the website that is developed, maintained and enhanced for ease of communication and sharing of information; forums, Facebook, Twitter; the assistance and information when you first set up a DNA project; an annual conference; seminars in your region; the new webinar strategy; the website project and the Family Search option; the setup of stands to promote and educate and those who staff the stands, and of course, the Committee that takes on the administration of the Guild.  So many of you have given of your time over the years, and benefit from the experience and engagement that comes from participating in these roles. 

For the first time, I recently volunteered on the stand at WDYTYA in Birmingham. I was impressed by the knowledge, enthusiasm, and dedication of the volunteers.  This is a great way to keep connected as well as to share what you know and to learn from your colleagues.

As the saying goes, many hands make light work.  In every organisation, there are some volunteers who have to take on too much.  If the work is shared, it makes everyone’s job easier to manage.  Do you think that you have to be in the UK to volunteer?  I am on a team where the members are from Australia, Ireland, Canada, USA, and the UK.

Do you want to help but you’re not sure what you can do?  The screenshot below shows where you can get some information on volunteering for specific roles.  See the job descriptions and check out the Volunteer Opportunities.  

But also remember the many other activities that do not require an ongoing commitment: marriage challenges; event assistance; seminar organising; writing an article for the Journal; submitting information for the indexes.  There will be an opportunity that meets yours interests and skills! 




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Apr 202017

Under the resources tab on the menu bar of the website, (you must be logged in), click on Guild Services and find a list of member services, some of which have been covered.  But did you know about the Newswatch Project, Mentoring, WARP, Awards of Excellence and many more.  Let’s look at a few and see what you might be missing:

  • Mentoring is often what can make the difference between a satisfying experience and a frustrating one.  No matter what your challenge is, there may be a member who can help you through it.  All you need to do is ask.
  • Newswatch Project refers to other members giving a bit of their time to review their local newspaper for Guild surnames.  This is an excellent way to get hard-to-find information from across the world. Check the list of locations and newspapers. 
  • Awards of Excellence is what is sounds like.  Click on this and see a range of awards that have been given to members for excellence in areas such as, articles, websites, books, blogs completed by Guild members.  I like this site because I can access examples of good research and one-name study methods.
  • RAOGK stands for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, a behaviour that seems to come naturally to most family historians, and the Guild is no different. Once logged in, there is a table of Offers and Requests.  The requests lag behind the offers so don’t overlook these helping hands.   
  • WARP is an acronym for Warning, Advice and Reporting point.  What is that you ask?  This is a service that focuses on computer and Internet security alerts related to your email alias and other Guild technology.  All you need to do is subscribe and if anything does become a concern, you will be in the know.


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Apr 192017

When did you last update your one-name study profile page? Does it still contain the same information that you provided when you registered the study?  Or even more dismaying, did you completely overlook creating one in the first place? April is the month of spring and renewal: a perfect time to refresh (or create) your profile to match the progress of your study. Despite many of us having websites that serve as the focal point to the study, there are many reasons why an informative profile page is advantageous: in doing a google search on my own study using the very broad search of “Messervey surname”, the Guild profile page was fourth in returned hits.  As well, anyone searching the surname on the Guild website will go directly to the profile page. I also find it a way to assess progress: checking the profile page once or twice a year helps to keep focused.  If you do have a website, the profile page gives the reader the URL; Facebook groups and contact information for a DNA study is also listed here.

Have I convinced you?  Why not try a few surnames in the search box on the home page to get an idea of what other members are doing. You will find some with lots of work to do; others have enough information for readers to know the goals of the study, what stage it is, whether there is a DNA project attached, and more.  Some members have extensive profile pages that leave no stone unturned!

The next step is to find your profile page and do the updates. I don’t need to give you all the information here because the very helpful website team has provided an excellent tool entitled “Managing your One-Name Study profile page”.  This is all you need to complete and update your profile: once logged in, you can find this information under the Studies tab on the home page.  See the screen shot below.  Just click on Profile Page Help and get started. 


Where to find the Profile Page help

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