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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

This Ruby One-name study is unique in that it is an initiative of a small group of Guild members in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Guild in September 2019. No one on the project team has a Ruby surname in their history but the surname was chosen as the ruby gemstone is associated with the 40th anniversary!  When some initial research showed that the surname had so many different country and cultural origins, it seemed ideal for the Guild's international scope. 

The planning and implementation of the study benefitted from the contributions of international members from Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, and the United States.  There is currently a 3 person project team, with volunteers beginning to come on board.  As with any one name study, what you find can change the path or goal of a study. Starting out the  primary goals are:

  • To collect individuals and families with the Ruby surname, starting in England, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, France and depending on volunteer knowledge, will move into Germany, Eastern Europe and other geographic areas where the name exists
  • To identify different origins of Ruby and assign families to appropriate cultural groups
  • To provide Guild members and members of the public with an example of a collaborative one-name study, and to share different experiences


We're looking for help in a number of areas, please.  For the next few months our main aim is to reconstruct many of the Ruby families, though there are other things that need to be done too.  We already have seven people on our team with core data sets downloaded and ready to act as checklists.  We have a blog up and running and will have a website soon enough.  We have a "Desk Aid" available to help ensure some degree of consistency between researchers without eliminating all the fun.
We think we have Australia, Canada, and New Zealand covered for family reconstruction.  For all other countries, particularly the US, we are looking for volunteers to help.  Can you pick a county, region or State and rebuild families from that area?
There are other ways to start family reconstruction and 'knock off" a few data sets in the process:
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission site, where there are ten Rubys.
- Wills - there is one will at the British National Archives for a Ruby - a man on Ascension Island, which looks like an interesting place to start
- One-Name Studies: do you have Rubys in your study?  Can you build the Ruby family from there?  One of our team had two: one in England which daughtered out and one in the US which is quite extensive.
- Is there someone who will take on a newspaper or newspapers and seek out Rubys and then build families from those?  Many volunteers could work on newspapers, though of course when you search for Ruby you will be looking for the gems which are not gems! 
- How about going through Obituary websites, like or
- Probate record sets, and so on.  
All of these data sets will ultimately overlap, of course.  However, we will seek to minimize duplication of work by:
1 - keeping a public list of who is doing what, and thus with whom you might need to co-ordinate
2 - asking people to mark off the checklists once they submit a family reconstruction
3 - within a few weeks, putting our work so far online at
Other tasks:
- early analysis suggests many Rubys emerged from Germany and Eastern Europe.  Do you have skills in those areas which might help us?  There are only so many hours in the day and we've done no work yet to even figure out whether the surname exists there, or was in a local form before perhaps becoming anglicized.
- is there someone with skills in early records who might trawl through and find occurrences of the name before, say 1600 and assemble a database for us?
- is there perhaps a person out there who is good at customer service who might start the process of reaching out to people named Ruby who have public trees or other presence on the web?  Short-term we seek additional help and long-term we may even find another Guild member!
- is there someone who might trawl through a particular repository for interesting data for us?  We have already had a few items from The National Archives in Kew, England donated by a helpful person.  It is far from being the only repository which can be mined for us, however.  With all the data on the web already, we are hesitant to ask for too much extra data, but if you find good material, then by all means send it in.  At the worst, we can store it for a future research team!


Variant names

The Ruby surname, as described above, can arise from a range of different languages, cultures, anglicization, and spellings, and for that reason, no variants are being identified as part of the study at this time.  However, common variants, especially when clustered in particular regions or countries, are being collected. At a point in the study where analysis can be undertaken and patterns identified, a decision will be made whether to add any variants. 

Name origin

There are two ways to examine the origin of the Ruby surname:

  • First is to look at incidence of the surname that seems to have been Ruby ( or a minor spelling difference) where it has existed historically in that form
  • Second, and likely more numerous, is Ruby that has become its own surname through anglicisation over time.

Preliminary review has identified France and Germany as the most frequent source of the name to date, with Eastern European countries next.  There is also a long history of a Ruby surname in England and in Ireland.  MacLysaght's "The Surnames of Ireland" suggests Ruby has existed in Ireland since the 17th century and descends from the French surname, de Roubaix.  The Internet Surname Database proposes a form of de Roubaix that also evolved into Rubie. The German origin includes a diminutive form of Reuben or Reuven.  Forms of Reuben and Reuven may also account for Eastern European surnames. The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland suggests a Norman/English origin and also notes it is a locative name after Roubaix in Nord, France. The Roubaix origin seems to be agreed upon for Ruby in Great Britain, but does not likely account for the Eastern European and German forms of the surname. 


Name frequency

Australia - 1903 Electoral Rolls - 122 adults               New Zealand - 1911 Electoral Rolls - 8 adults

Canada - 1891 Census - 152 (not including Newfoundland and Manitoba)

England  - 1881 Census - 240     Wales - 10    Scotland - 7   

Germany - Births 1558 to 1898 - 507

Ireland - Valuation - 61 

France - Births (not comprehensive) - 286   

United States - 1900 Census - 3,411




In the first stage of data collection, Census data from England and Wales, Canada, United States, and France has been collected as a base.  There are alternative data sources for New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland. These will form the base for family constructions from the outset. Births, Marriages, and Deaths in the formats they exist in the different countries are also being gathered. Volunteers will develop families from records that are available in a particular country, state, or province.  It is important to be aware that this is in all ways a collaborative study.  Differences in genealogy software, methods of family construction, data collection, and of course countries, means that the study encompasses one-namer approaches while adhering to the broad framework of the Seven Pillars. 


At an appropriate stage in the study, it is planned that a Y-DNA analysis will be added to the one-name study.  In this particular case, it is anticipated that assigning people to different branches, descended from different countries and cultural heritage, will benefit from the use of Y-DNA analysis.  It is also planned that a Ruby surname project will be added at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA).  


While plans are in place to establish a TNG website through the Guild web project, a timeframe has not yet been finalized. 

A blog will accompany the project from the beginning, with the aim of telling the story, and providing some educational insights to the process of a collaborative one-name study.  The blog will be operational by the end of February 2018 and will be accessed at this site: