Friday, December 2, 2016

The Perfect Match

For genealogists, the union of two organizations with a worldwide focus on family history has got to be good news. Just this last September, news of such a partnership was jointly issued by in both London and Salt Lake City and by the London-based Guild of One-Name Studies. Thus combined the focused research on surnames by members of the Guild of One-Name Studies and the digitizing and preservation muscle of

Bottom line for all of us: through the familiar online tools at FamilySearch, we may now access the records created and hosted by the Guild.

The way to access the records is simple. First, enter the website, then hover your cursor over the "Search" tab at the top of the screen. In the drop-down menu that appears, instead of going to "Records," as you might be accustomed to doing, rather select "Genealogies."

By clicking on "Genealogies," you will be brought to a dialog box labeled "Search Genealogies," where you simply enter the last name you are interested in finding on the Guild's register, nothing more. Then, scrolling down to the bottom of the box, where you would normally click, "Search," instead, first click the down arrow on the "All" button to its right. By clicking this down arrow, you will reveal the choice, "Guild of One Name Studies." By clicking that choice, then clicking the blue "Search" button, you will be taken to a readout of all available documents on your surname of interest within the Guild's holdings.

Since it was the Laws surname that led me to discover what the Guild of One Name Studies might have held concerning this family name, I put FamilySearch's referral search to the test for that specific surname. The search results for the Laws name included two pages of references at the Guild. Most of them, unsurprisingly, came from documents in England. Quite a few, though, were from Australia, underlining the observation referred to yesterday by the founder of the Laws one-name study that he had to resort to international mailings in seeking the answers to overcome his research brick wall.

I'm not sure John Laws ever did find the answer to his brick wall question, but what he did gather was enough material to jump start a robust one-name study. With this partnership between the Guild and, I wonder how many will be inspired to follow suit and begin their own one-name studies. I'm sure quite a few people have their own informal collections; perhaps if we all pool our scribbled notes into one repository, we might assemble enough material to be of help to others.

And isn't that the traditional approach genealogists have used over the years to help each other in our research quests, no matter what the medium?

Above: "Canal in Winter," by French artist Henri Jourdain; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.   


  1. Thanks for the step-by-steps! I would have never found it! When I have a moment - I'm going to look into the many hits I got.

    1. Many hits? Impressive! Yeah, I wouldn't have found this on FamilySearch, either, if I hadn't stumbled upon that press release. Sometimes, it pays to wander through a newly-discovered website!

  2. Replies
    1. Tempted to research? Or...

      I know a surname of yours which would fit that "just right" category ;)


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