The Guild of One-Name Studies

As the world’s leading organisation for One-Name Studies, the Guild of One-Name Studies is pleased to confirm its charitable aims of promoting the public understanding of one-name studies and the preservation and accessibility of the resultant information. Since the Guild was founded in 1979 its international membership has continued to grow every year - a rarity for a genealogical organisation in the financial climate being experienced in recent years - and currently has over 2,700 members spread across the world, studying over 8,750 individual surnames. Members of the Guild of One-Name Studies are part of a well-respected, very friendly and knowledgeable community of genealogical experts.

The Guild aims to continue to expand the benefits it provides its membership and enhance its international reputation as one of the leading worldwide genealogical organisations. It also aims to increase the help and assistance it provides to the general public, while also assisting its ever growing membership, offering guidance to anyone seeking information on individual surnames. Details of the Guild of One-Name Studies can be found on its website

New Guild services

The Guild is continually expanding the services it provides to its members. Recently the Guild has developed three facilities will be of interest to perspective new members and will give even more value for money to existing Guild members. These new services are:

Lodging of surname interests -a pilot project enabling members to record surname interests other than their registered name(s). This facility provides members with the ability to record an interest in a surname without having to register a full-blown one-name study. If successful the lodgement of surname interests could led to an increase in the number of surnames being registered for a one-name study.

Study Associate - a project to introduce study associates to enable members to collaborate on a one-name study, thus making it easier for members to work together on large studies (such as the surname Smith which has recently been registered by a Guild member). This project will be helpful where multiple people are collaborating on different aspects of research into a surname. It should also help where the member who has registered the name is no longer actively conducting research, allowing another person to provide new input. In addition it will provide for continuity where the member who has registered the study leaves the Guild or decides they no longer want to be the formal owner.

Website preservation -a pilot project enabling members to preserve their one-name study websites with the Guild. The proposal is for the Guild to host the one-name study web sites of members that relate to their registered surname(s). A major purpose of the project is to enable the one-name website of each participating member to continue indefinitely as a live website (that is, one that is publicly accessible) after the member has died or ceased to be a member of the Guild. The project will also allow participants, while they remain members of the Guild, to continue to maintain and develop their websites. This planned website preservation project is being trialled by the Guild because it has the financial resources to undertake such a facility and its long standing pedigree gives an assurance that such a facility is more likely to survive long into the future and so be able to offer an extended potentially unlimited life to members' websites.

About the Guild

The Guild provides its members with the means to share, exchange and publish information about one-name studies as well as encouraging and assisting all those interested in one-name studies by means of conference, seminars, projects and other activities.

The Guild welcomes applications from anyone interested in a particular surname or surnames, from the broader family history community, including those undertaking DNA surname projects, family historians researching a family name on a restricted basis, local historians, librarians, archivists, and those from academia, all of whom may benefit from the learning opportunities. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in surname studies. Undertaking a one-name study is not a pre-requisite for joining, nor a requirement of membership.

A one-name (or surname) 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’ restrict their research geographically, perhaps to one country, but true one-namers collect all occurrences worldwide.

The Guild’s membership subscription is on a sliding scale, depending on the month of application, and will cover up to 23 months until the renewal date (1 November). Full details of the subscription fees can be seen on the Guild’s website at Anyone can join the Guild either by post or online and payment is accepted in any of the six currencies (UK£, AUS$, CAN$, NZ$, US$ or Euros).Subscription renewal is only £14 a year (US$23.00).

Have a look and see if your surname is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies – a search facility is available on the Guild’s home page - If it is not currently registered you may wish to join the Guild and register your name as a study for yourself. Alternatively help and guidance is provided on where information can be found about the surname you are interested in. Check on the Guild website today.

Guild Services

The Guild provides a vast range of services to enable its members to expand on their one-name studies and to provide possible additional information to members of the public requesting assistance on a particular registered surname. Membership benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • a high quality printed quarterly Journal of One-Name Studies
  • a range of one-day seminars throughout the year on one-name study themes
  • an annual conference on a range of one-name study themes
  • an annual Register of One-Name Studies
  • a Profile facility to enable all members to create their own publicly searchable ONS web page
  • a Guild email Forum, a private Facebook group and a Guild Bulletin-Board where members exchange ideas, discuss their research and alert members to useful sources of genealogical data
  • a Guild website - - to provide one-name study information to members and the general public
  • publication of booklets relating to one-name studies, notably Seven Pillars of Wisdom: The Art of One-Name Studies
  • a freephone/toll-free telephone contact point in the UK, North America and Australia to enable members of the public and Guild members to easily contact the Guild
  • Guild email aliases to all Guild members to assist in communicating with the public
  • a range of lookup services to members to assist in the collection of genealogical data
  • a Marriage Challenge for England & Wales in which volunteers search for marriage entries in the deposited Parish Registers for a particular Registration District in England & Wales
  • a Marriage Index to help link members’ knowledge of marriages and to help locate a parish (currently it has over 964,000 entries)
  • a 'BMD Vault' of birth, marriage and death certificates worldwide to assist members with their one-name study research (currently contains nearly 1.1 million names)
  • a Scottish Index to allow searching for any name appearing in Scottish marriage certificates, not just those indexed by the GROs.
  • a Probate Index to provide searches for names not indexed in the various Will Calendars.
  • a ‘Newswatch’ project where volunteers pass on details of surnames to relevant members
  • a facility to produce ‘faux certificates’ using Birth/Marriage/Death transcribed data
  • a 10% discount on various organisation, such as Findmypast, the Genealogist, and My Heritage to assist members to undertake their ONS research
  • development of online distance learning courses on one-name study subjects
  • a discount on Y-DNA kits from FamilyTreeDNA throughout the year
  • a mentoring scheme to support new members of the Guild
  • advice and support to members on DNA testing
  • an E-library of digitised one-name study material to help promote the preservation of data
  • archive material bequeathed or donated to the Guild to assist in the preservation of data
  • an online data archive facility to enable members to backup their ONS data on the Guild website, and to enable other members and the general public to access the data
  • storage facilities to assist members to preserve their one name study material

Corrinne Goodenough, the Chairman of the Guild of One-name Studies, said today,
"Why not join our friendly and knowledgeable community of experts all with varied interests and levels of experience in surnames studies and family history research. Membership of the Guild represents excellent value for money giving access to all the many Guild benefits and resources for anyone interested in surnames, whether they are just starting out on their research, wishing to break down brick walls, or are interested in conducting a registered one-name study.”