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Mar 092016

The Guild of One-Name Studies has implemented a major new project.– The Guild’s Members’ Website Project. The main purpose of the Members’ Websites Project is to enable the website of each participating member to continue indefinitely as a publicly accessible website after the member has died or ceased to be a member of the Guild. This is a ground-breaking project for the Guild and goes to the heart of the objectives of the Guild’s Constitution which are “to advance the education of the public in one-name studies, and. to promote the preservation and publication of the resultant data, and to maximize its accessibility to interested members of the public. The project and its infrastructure have been through some extensive pilot running and have been thoroughly and successfully tested. The project is planned to go live on the 1st April 2016.

In September 2014 the Guild Committee approved in principle a project to host members’ one-name study websites and gave full support in the following November to a detailed implementation plan. At the end of February 2016, the Guild Committee gave approval for the project to go live.

The Members’ Websites Project, which is to be launched on 1st April after an extensive trial period, is designed to provide a safe haven for Guild members’ one-name study websites. A member who has registered the surname concerned with the Guild can now copy an existing one-name study website or upload a newly created website to the Project’s hosting facility. It will then be accessible to viewers the world over via the address, although existing personal domain names can still also be used.

After uploading their website, a member will still be able to edit, delete and add to its pages. When they pass away or cease membership, it will be preserved by the Guild and available to public to view just as they left it. Research data, surname trees, images, histories, hypotheses, conclusions – all will thus be available to future generations.

By displaying excellence in one-name study websites the Members’ Websites Project has specifically addressed the Guild Vision that the Guild should “strengthen its position as the centre of excellence for surname studies.” It will also increase the visibility of individual members’ websites since the Guild’s main website will act as a portal to the Project. The Project aims to get existing members to make effective use of current technology whatever their computer skill level are whilst, at the same time, encourage new members to join the Guild.

Since the proposal to develop a trial Members’ Website Project was approved in September 2014, extensive test have been on going to ensure that a significant variety of website could be maintained and hosted on a Guild website. During the trial period the Guild have signed up 96 one-name study websites, of which 76 are now live, covering around a half a million names.

Full details of the Project are now available on the Members’ Websites Project pages at

Types of website

The types of website supported will range from free-standing HTML sites to websites using Content Management Systems (currently MediaWiki and WordPress) or The Next Generation (TNG). The TNG option uses input from GEDCOM files to display lineage-linked data as web pages, with trees, person details and indexes. Images and other media files can also be added. The ongoing development plan includes the planned introduction of an enhanced facility that will aggregate all TNG data into a Master Database so that Guild Member can search for a surname across all the TNG sites at once. To-date 30 HTML sites; 15 Content Management Systems; and 51 TNG sites have been successfully uploaded. Two HTML sites include those of the late Judy Stubbs (Elkington ONS) and the late Michael Debenham (Debenham ONS), which are being retained indefinitely at the request of their families. These retained sites are classified as being in a “Legacy state”.

There is no charge to Guild members to join the Members’ Website Project. However those using The Next Generation software will need to pay a licence fee for the use of TNG.

Examples of One-Name Study websites which have been uploaded by this project include:

1. Websites consisting of freestanding HTML pages
Sackett                   Vayro

2. Websites created using a Content Management System such as WordPress
Palgrave                 Audley

3. Websites created using an online database created from a GEDCOM file using The Next Generation software
Benedict                 Toll
Creating and Developing Your Website Seminar

The Guild of One-Name Studies is running a Seminar entitled “Creating and Developing Your Website” on the 9th July 2016 at the Beauchamp College, Ridgeway, Oadby, Leicestershire, LE2 5TP, starting at 09:30am for 10:00am, This seminar will include more information about the Members’ Website Project as well as other help and guidance on creating and developing a website for people undertaking a One-Name Study.

The aim of this much-requested seminar is to guide members (and non-members) who wish to create their own one-name study website or to develop an existing site. Participants will be helped to clarify their aims in having a website and from there to consider the content and the design of such a site. Members will then be able to choose which tools might be best for their purposes, content and design. The options for hosting your website will be examined, including the Members’ Websites Project.

The seminar will be of interest to anyone considering creating a website or are in the process of implementing a website. The Guild seminar is open to the public and details can be found at :

Details of all the other Guild facilities can be found at:
where you can find out:
• more about undertaking a One-Name Study
• the benefits of joining the Guild of One-Name Studies, and the assistance members of the Guild can provide to anyone researching their family history on any of the 8,670-plus names currently being researched.

Paul Howes, the Chairman of the Guild of One-Name Study, said today:
“The implementation of the Guild’s Members’ Website Project is yet another significant development for the Guild of One-Name Studies. Many of our members have been working at their studies for thirty years and more. One of our goals is to promote the preservation of our members’ work for the benefit of the general public. This web-based project materially contributes to that goal and is a testament to the continued willingness of Guild members to help each other. We hope that this development stimulates still more interest in studying surnames. It reaffirms the position of the Guild as the leading organization for One-Name Studies.”

Paul Featherstone, Members’ Websites Project Leader, said today:
“The implementation of the Guild’s Members’ Website Project is the culmination of a tremendous team effort by a special group of members who have given up their valuable spare time, away from their studies, to build a process whereby Guild members now have the opportunity to fulfill two of the core pillars of the Guild. The launching of the project allows members to both preserve and publish their studies. My thanks go out to all the team members for implementing such a special project”

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  6 Responses to “The Members’ Website Project”

  1. I am booked on the seminar on 9 July. In advance of this please let me know what I can be doing to prepare my data for conversion to a format suitable for making into a website – I am a complete beginner in this. My study is stored in Excel spreadsheets for census and parish register data and as Family Historian charts.

    • Michael,

      I have forwarded your comment to the relevant team for this seminar & they will be in touch in due course.

    • W Paul Featherstone

      It is very difficult to answer your question, as I don’t know what you plan to show on your proposed site, We are holding some workshops (breakout sessions), one on producing web pages from Family Historian. With Jane Taubman, leading. This might prove useful for you. The two lectures might help you decide which way to go and what skills you might need, It is a very wide subject to discuss in a message.
      If you want to buy a book as a complete beginner, I would suggest HMTL for Dummies, as all websites contain some form of it.

      W.Paul Featherstone
      Seminar Lead.

  2. PS Your timestamp still shows BST!

  3. GMT

    • Michael,

      Posts made will show the time and typically for us in the UK this will be GMT, but when we change the clocks for Summer it does usually change GMT to BST!