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Seven Pillars of a One-Name Study 33rd Conference & AGM


33rd Guild Conference and AGM

This Conference saw a major innovation, in that the proceedings were broadcast for the first time in real time using LiveStream, and recorded for later viewing on YouTube. Each day is represented by a separate video on YouTube and the programme reproduced below gives links to these videos and an approximate timing into the video. Please note that these videos are on YouTube as “Unlisted”, which means that you can only access the videos using the links given – you will not be able to search YouTube for the videos.

Conference Videos

AGM Proceedings

In addition, where the presentation material has been provided for upload to this website, the programme gives links to this material.

“Seven Pillars of a One-Name Study”

Five Lakes Hotel, Golf, Country Club and Spa

Colchester Road, Tolleshunt Knights, Maldon, Essex CM9 8HX

Friday 13th – Sunday 15th April 2012

Main Programme

Saturday 14th April  
Welcome and Opening of the Conference (Guild President) followed by the Annual General Meeting Video
Data collection : Newspaper Sites – Richard Heaton Video
Data Collection : The One-Namer’s Internet – Peter Christian Video
Analysis : Surname distributions and the hearth tax returns of the 1660s and 1670s – David Hey Video
Chairman’s announcements Video
Synthesis : Custodian 2 and 3 – Chris Gray and Alan Moorhouse Video
Sunday 15th April  
Publicising your study : Seven Ways to Publish on the Web – Teresa Pask Video
Collaboration : Family Gatherings (with talk notes) – Colin Ulph Video
Publication of Results : Writing a one-name journal – Bruce Margrett Video
Thirty years on and still a One-Name Society – Janet Few and Chris Braund Video

One-Namers’ Internet Handout by Peter Christian

Link to original handout with a copy of the original presetation

Primary Digital Records

* Commercial site

Document Images

Indexed records

Digitised Print

Civil Registration


Parish registers

Other records

Name Matching

The web site for my book The Genealogist’s Internet has links to all the main UK genealogy sites, categorized by subject, at

Synthesis : Custodian 2 and 3 – Chris Gray and Alan Moorhouse

Publicising your study : Seven Ways to Publish on the Web – Teresa Pask

Collaboration : Family Gatherings (with talk notes) – Colin Ulph

Link to original ORGANISING A ONE-NAME GATHERING handout


ULPH study is quite small –

  • about 500 people called ULPH or HULF around world, including spouses.
  • records of about 5000 individuals, back to 13th century.

This talk is aimed at those thinking of organising for first time.
It’s based on my own experience of seven gatherings.

How you do it depends entirely on size and scope of your own studyand the people who enjoy being part of


What is the point?
A lot of work and you have to expect benefits.

Benefits to the one-namer:

  • will meet and thank in person people you have corresponded with – and others, too
  • people will bring not just themselves but photographs, documents, memorabilia, trophies, medals,
    that will provide talking points and stir memories – new information & clues
  • media publicity may attract others – maybe descendants of females with different surnames but
    keen on family history
  • fires up enthusiasm& stimulates offers of help – eg with research or doing DNA test
  • opportunity to take photos for the records
  • satisfaction when it all works out well

Benefits to the guests:

  • will enjoy meeting others with same surname – comparing notes, looking for characteristics
  • will enjoy meeting you (and reassured to see what a nice person you are!)
  • will like to see and hear about results of your research
  • opportunity to visit places where ancestors lived, worked and worshipped.

Benefits to the local community:

  • will be surprised and flattered at the interest in their town or village
  • will enjoy their moment in the spotlight (newspapers etc)
  • may benefit financially from custom in shops or cafés.


  • a lot of work and time
  • interferes with your programme of research
  • disappointment that there is not long enough to chat with everyone in any depth.

BUT – it’s worth it!

Have looked at WHY, now for WHAT, WHO, WHERE & WHEN.
Start thinking about these questions 1 or more years ahead!


Not too much!

  • Much enjoyment fromsocial &informal, but good to have some structure& focal point.
  • But not too much for the first gathering.
  • Keep it simple!

Test the water

  • Contact a few of the ones you are sure will come.
  • Float a few ideas& get reaction.

Possibilities(don’t attempt all first time!)

  • After journeys they will welcome tea/coffee/biscuits – a ‘reception’.
  • Visitors’ book – useful record of attendance + can you see common characteristics in handwriting?
  • Name badges – colour coded.
  • Something to look at – put up family trees, photographs, also colour coded.
  • Give short, formal welcome and outline plan for the day.
  • Involve local community – perhaps official welcome, talk about the village, or tour of places of interest. See parish registers, tombstones or artefacts?
  • Group photograph always popular, but also smaller groups.
  • Souvenirs – badges, ties, pens, mugs, bookmarks.
  • Afternoon meal, in the venue or somewhere else. Can be provided (WI etc), bring-your-own or eat out.Suggest guests make own arrangements (pub, picnic etc) for lunch – opportunity for children to visit playground.
  • Donation to appropriate local church or charity.
  • Cup of tea before they leave.
  • Final words of thanks and presentation of gifts.


If they don’t know, they won’t come, so it’s up to you to decide who you want, and how to find them.
Depends on location, capacity, how much organisation.

  • Contacts (people you have corresponded with & shown the most interest, eg newsletter readers or society members).
  • Others in phone books, but not as comprehensive these days.
  • Get local press/radio publicity – often draws in others you’ve not reached before.
  • Families & descendants. Make it clear people are welcome to bring them, although you would like to know beforehand.
  • Local people – may have memories of ancestors and have something to share.
  • Celebrities? – famous holders of your name? Mayor? Vicar?Guild officers?
  • Press & radio – but make it clear where your priorities lie.


  • Locative name? – obvious choice, especially for 1st gathering.
  • Where today’s clan live – best guarantee of good attendance.
  • Historical connection with clan.
  • Accommodation – ask tourist office or parish council. Block booking at hotel or holiday park may earn discount and provide opportunity to prolong the gathering.
  • Bear in mind practicalities such as halls, car parking, accessibility, transport, eating places,
    playground, cost of venue and what facilities it has.


  • What season. April/May/June best for reliable weather, easier transport and outside activities.
  • School holidays? – if families welcome, but avoid July/August when they have holidays booked.
  • Could be May Bank holiday or half term.
  • Weekend? OK, but not Sunday if parish church involved.
  • How long? Recommend 1 day to start.
  • Take soundings – see what people would prefer. No good organising if they don’t want.


Depends on how your ONS is organised (eg Society?) – assume one-man/woman band, no ready-made

  • Essential to have someone ‘on the ground’ to answer questions, make bookings etc. Maybe one of your correspondents lives nearby. Or council/tourist office/vicar can give you a contact – eg WI secretary, local history society, church officer. Make it clear you will reimburse expenses.
  • Local contact will make enquiries about possible venue, facilities, catering, church/vicar.
  • Make bookings in advance
    o Hall/church
    o Tables/chairs/display boards/restrictions
    o Catering (provisional numbers, to be confirmed later)
    o Photographer, local or bring with you
    o Accommodation – tourist office accommodation guide or holiday park.


Aim for gathering to be self-financing. Organising a gathering will cost money, whatever you do. No-one will expect the organiser to pay for everything from own pocket.
They will appreciate there’s no such thing as a free one-name gathering!

  • Make careful estimate of costs. These are ones to be spread over all guests (except guests of honour)

hire of hall & facilities
refreshments, eg welcome drinks, main meal, cake
speaker or guide
‘thank you’ gifts
stationery& postage (if no email)

  • Estimate numbers likely to attend.
  • Calculate a charge per head (children free?).
  • Appoint a treasurer.
  • Open separate bank account.



A lot for you to do. Remember that venues and speakers have to be booked months in advance, and also
your potential guests have diaries that get filled,so allow plenty of time for the whole process.

After consulting potential attendees, making local enquiries and doing provisional sums,

  • fix date
  • make all bookings, so that it’s all in place: may have to pay deposits.
  • tell everyone – by newsletter or email – and get provisional commitment to attend
  • arrange catering
  • decide what alternatives to offer re accommodation
  • make a personal visit, if possible – or ask a trusted representative!
  • enlist some ‘volunteers’ so it’s not a one-man/woman band


  • estimate costs and fix charge per person
  • send out detailed programme & booking form
  • open special bank account
  • receive money as a firm commitment
  • tell the press & radio: advance publicity brings more interest. Try to discourage last-minute contact when you are most busy.
  • sort out the souvenirs, get estimates & place orders.


May seem early for some things, but don’t leave till last minute in case of hitches!

  • send out receipts & joining instructions, including street map.
  • final press statement.
  • prepare name badges (colour coded); allow blanks for unexpected guests.
  • prepare visitors’ book.
  • prepare exhibition of trees & photographs.
  • prepare numbered cards for group photograph.
  • assemble accessories – notices, bluetac, drawing pins, pens, sellotape, scissors, notepads for guests to add new info.
  • prepare welcome speech.
  • x appoint helpers – don’t leave it till the day.


  • makelist of tasks for the day.
  • makelist of items to take.
  • buy/prepare ‘thank you’ gifts.
  • visit premises & meet locals – ie get there on day before!
  • select place for group photograph & prepare numbered cards.


  • get there first (with helpers) and set up.
  • greet guests & local helpers as they arrive.
  • wander around displays & write down any new information.
  • do welcome speech.
  • keep an eye on the time & make sure everything goes to plan.
  • allow time for ‘own’ lunch, local pub etc, but reassemble for afternoon activities.
  • plan a formal ending – don’t let them drift away. Thank helpers & do presentations.
  • get help to clear away.


  • dofiling – ready for next time?
  • deal with group photograph & numbered cards, do photo orders, unless photographer is handling.
  • write ‘Thank You’ letters.
  • finalise accounts.
  • report for next newsletter – if possible, get a guest to do it!
  • any corrections to database etc

Thirty years on and still a One-Name Society – Janet Few and Chris Braund

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