“One” and Genealogy

“One” usually isn’t a great word when it comes to genealogy. Why? Because we all want more than one – more than one person, one record, one location, etc.

However, there are two of what I consider underused genealogy resources that include the word ONE.

First, there are One Name Studies. Do you have a surname that is of high interest to you? It might be a more unique, single-origin surname like mine – Stufflebean – or it might be common to one locality or it might not be a rare surname at all.

The Guild of One Name Studies is based in England. While many of the surnames are of English origin, there are many with origins in Europe and elsewhere. The society publishes a journal, offers online resources and even has links to members’ websites, if they have one.

I found one of my family tree surnames in the guild – Antrobus.

My ancestress was Joan Antrobus who married (1) Thomas Lawrence and (2) John Tuttle and then settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by 1635.

The Antrobus entry gives background about the study followed by a lengthy list of details about the surname, such as origin and where it is found today.

There is also a short list of General Search results on the website:

There are both public access pages and guild-member only access. Membership levels include guild membership alone or guild member hosting a study. Basic membership for one year is about U.S. $22, depending on the exchange rate. Membership plus registering a study is about U.S. $40.

While browsing, I notice that one of the studies is an FTDNA link.

That is another type of one-name study that can be invaluable to genealogical research – FamilyTree DNA and its DNA surname projects. Most of the projects appear to be free, but some ask for donations to help support the study.

The website description:

A Surname Project studies the different Y-Chromosome DNA (Y-DNA) lineages associated with a surname or group of surnames. It may be narrowly focused on one particularly spelling variant in a specific location. It may also include all known variants of a surname in any time or place.

Even if you are female or a male who hasn’t done a Y-DNA test, many of the project results are publicly available because no personally identifying information is in the charts.

I visit the Williams DNA Project occasionally looking for new clues about my husband’s Williams line centered in Cumberland County, Virginia in the mid-1700s.

The DNA Results link on the left opens a long list of various Williams ancestors grouped by shared DNA results. What is really interesting in the list is how many “earliest known ancestors” don’t have the Williams surname!

That covers the first ONE that is helpful to genealogists.

The second kind of ONE is the One-Place Study. Now, before you say, “Oh, my family is from Chicago, way too big a city for this to help me,” be aware that a PLACE is more than a city – it is a house, an apartment building, a school, one city block, a local church or a small village or town or whatever single place on which you want to focus.

As with one-name studies, there is a Society for One-Place Studies,  also based in the U.K.Membership is about U.S. $15.50 per year.

If you are interested in beginning a one-place study or you would like to search for a particular study, there is a One Place Studies Directory, which includes verified studies in 14 different countries, including well over 400 in the U.S.

WikiTree, free but requires an account to participate, hosts a One-Place Studies Project, too.

There is even a database program website, Name & Place, which you can use to record details in your study.

I had toyed with the idea of creating a one-place study of St. Dimitry’s Church in Udol, Slovakia and subscribed to Name & Place. I ultimately decided I don’t have time to set up, add to and monitor a study like that, but I have to recommend Name & Place. The premium program is very easy to use and when I had questions, the support help was excellent.  A one year subscription for a single user is about $140 U.S. There is also a team rate for 2 users that costs about $215 U.S. However, this small company has offered introductory rates at virtual conferences I’ve attended. There is also an option for a free trial.

Have you been convinced that ONE can be a great number for a genealogist? I hope so. Take some time to explore the websites. You never know when you’ll hit genealogy gold!



One thought on ““One” and Genealogy”

  1. Antrobus is such an interesting surname – how cool you found someone has done an ONS!!! I would love to undertake such a project on a couple of my main line surnames, but at this point in my life, I just don’t have the time… Similarly, I have a couple of places I’d like to concentrate on… maybe one day!

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