What is a One Name Study?
A one-name study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree (ancestors of one person) or descendancy (descendants of one person or couple).
Some "one-namers" may restrict their research geographically, perhaps to one country, but true one-namers collect all occurrences world-wide. A one-name study may concentrate on aspects such as geographical distribution of the name and the changes in that distribution over the centuries, or may attempt to reconstruct the genealogy of as many lines as possible bearing the name.
A frequent aim is to identify a single original location of the name, especially if the name appears to derive from a place name. But for many names, for example those indicating an occupation like Butcher, or a patronymic-type surname such as Peterson, there will not be a single origin.
One-Namers often make some attempt to quantify the rarity of their name. There is much scope for co-operation between one-namers and other genealogists and family historians - they are not a breed apart, and many are also engaged in more conventional pedigree hunting of their other ancestors.
Many drift into a one-name study as a way of eliminating alternatives when researching a particular ancestral name. There is some use for example in having a complete listing of all occurrences of a surname from the IGI or from Civil Registration lists of births, marriages and deaths.
A co-operative effort between people studying the same surname bears much fruit and they have a good chance of discovering Registration Categories
Each sumame entry in the Register of One-Name Studies is classified into one of three categories, A, B or C.
A Surname for which there is a fully constituted one-name society, which publishes a regular one-name periodical or newsletter, researches and collects all references to the registered surname and has collected a substantial body of world-wide data over a period of time.
B Surname which the member researches and for which the member collects all references and has accumulated a substantial body of world-wide data over a period of time. The member may or may not produce a newsletter. (The Yeo/Yoe/Yea/Yeau name is registered under this category, but it is hope that between us we can make it a fully constituted society, Category A)
C Surname for which the member has started a one-name study and has not yet built up a substantial world-wide collection, but fully intends to acquire sufficient data to transfer to Category A or B. The member may or may not produce a newsletter.
The recommended minimum requirements for category A or B registration (and the target for Category C) are:
1. All entries from indexes to births, marriages and deaths at the Family Records Centre, London, New Register House, Edinburgh, the CRO Belfast or ORG Dublin, and/or equivalent record offices elsewhere.
2. A survey of telephone directories to give a rough idea of present day population distribution.
3. All entries from published will indexes, together with the information given in those wills and letters of administration.
4. The entries from time to time in the International Genealogical index and a substantial body of entries from relevant parish registers
5. Entries from the appropriate county histories and the publications of the local historical and antiquarian societies and from census indexes.