If you’ve ever stumbled across an unusual name in your research and ended up whacking it in to Google then you’ve probably come across The Guild Of One Name Studies (Goons). If not, it’s a Website that offers a different outlook to the conventional Family Tree. Rather than a focus on a particular members own tree, a One Name Study is exactly what it sounds like. All members of a One Name Study contribute to a common goal which involves a particular surname, this goal could be very broad like: “All instances of the Surname Barber and it’s variations wordwide” which would for obvious reasons be a massive project.
While the Guild insists that all studies be global in scope, it is perfectly acceptable to start with a smaller area like a US state or British county and build out from there, like for example the surname Juden in West Sussex. The techniques you learn on a small scale can then be applied similarly as the geographic scope widens. Some Guild members may choose to be global but restrict the time period on which they initially work and then extend backward or forward from there. There are plenty of reasons to join or start a One-Name Study.
Reason 1: A massive community of like minded individuals all contributing to a common goal.
The nature of a One Name Study tends to attract people that are less likely to be selfish in their studies and share any information and knowledge they might have. This could be in the form of sources, local history or general tips and tricks they have learnt themselves. This might in turn break down brick walls in your own family tree, or give you insights in to collections or sources you might otherwise have missed.
Reason 2: Guild Marriage Challenges.
A Guild Marriage Challenge is a project in which members will visit local archives in specific registration districts and look up marriages. This helps with eliminating the need to spend as much money on Marriage Certificates. Put in to real terms, if you were to only manage to find two records from these challenges then you’ve already paid for your subscription.
Reason 3: Discounted DNA Tests.
The Guild also offers discounted DNA Tests for all of its members. These tests are the same ones found on Family Tree DNA which include: YDNA 37 Marker and the Family Finder Autosomal test. Both can offer different insights in to your ancient ancestry.
Reason 4: Breaking down Brick Walls.
With the enormous wealth of knowledge the members of the Guild have you are certain to find someone that is interested in helping you break down a brick wall in a particular area, the solution might come from local knowledge that only a select few members know about or a search tip that leads you to the breakthrough source.
Reason 5: Free Profile Page on the Guild website.
With a free profile page you can get noticed by new and existing members with the same surname interests. Here you can add everything you know about your chosen surname and outline the goals of your project.
Reason 6: Get more in depth knowledge of a surname.
If for only this reason alone you join The Guild it will be worth it as you’ll actually have some verified history about the surname you choose complete with stats and sources to back your claims up.