As a one-namer, you will collect any data that you come across mentioning your registered surname, and remember to keep a note of the source of the data.
Data collection is the first and probably most arduous part of a one-name study. One-Namers will use the same data sources as other genealogists, but perhaps in different ways. Ordinary family history tends to be convergent: you focus in on finding your specific ancestors and collateral connections. In contrast, one-name studies tend to be divergent: each new reference may open up a new area of enquiry. Guild registered studies are also worldwide, so the scope is potentially enormous.
Whether you investigate individuals or specific family groups, you will use the same sources, but in order to capture the scope of your one-name study you will wish to explore as much indexed material as possible. Indexes, together with “calendars”, resumes and some directories are termed meta-data, or data pointing to data. With traditional family history we are encouraged always to check out the original primary data. Ideally, one-namers would do the same, but the large scale of many studies precludes this, so one-namers often focus on meta-data and other secondary data compiled by others.
Furthermore, with traditional ancestor-hunting, the search goes cold if you can’t prove the next generation back, whereas a one-name study will take an interest in the continuous presence of a name irrespective of whether the references can be assembled into family groups.
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