The Ezard Study is in its early stages. I am slowly gathering information about the name from many sources. Here on these Diary pages I will document progress, so you can see how I am getting on – and the Diary might be helpful if you yourself are considering doing a One-Name Study.
As a child, I was always curious about my surname: Why did folk make so many mistakes with it? Why couldn’t they pronounce my name? Why couldn’t they spell it? Why was I often asked ‘Is it foreign or something?’ Why did it get hopelessly mangled to Ezzard/Weezard/Wizard/Giz(z)ard/Geezard/Lizard/Leezard and many more? Put simply: Why did this five-letter two-syllable name cause so many problems?
I checked the meaning in surname dictionaries. EZARD is usually omitted, because it is rare. Sometimes, though, I found ‘definitions’ that even as a youngster I rejected – it was suggested that there was a connection to ‘Iseult’ or perhaps ‘Izod’ (daughter of Isabel(la)). I was not convinced. (But please note that those names may be related to the the ISARD group of surnames (Isard, Issard, Izard, Izzard) that are found in the southern counties of England. There is a well-researched and long-established ISARD One-Name Study; see here for link https://ezardthenameanditshistory.wordpress.com/websites-research/.
So now I am trying to find the answers for myself – answers to questions that you may also have asked if you are an EZARD too.
Making the decision
The hardest part was deciding whether to do some sort of Study – either independently or perhaps under the aegis of the Guild of One-Name Studies. I spent months havering: Would it be too great an undertaking? Did I have the skills needed, or could I learn them? I received help and encouragement from many people, most particularly from the owner of the ISARD One-Name Study and the tutor on the online course I took. But I was still not sure.
I already had a small amount of data relating to my own direct EZARD line traced back to 1812. But I had not bothered with the numerous siblings – so I hadn’t been looking for ‘cousins’ – nor had I looked for standalone examples of the name. I had been doing direct-line family history, that was it. Obviously, all that has to change…
So I started looking for the name, anywhere and everywhere. And I found EZARD in the most surprising places – fighting in the American Civil War; staging a daughter’s wedding in 1864 ‘at his residence’ in Darrebin Creek, Melbourne; in the 1830 United States Census of Heads of Households of Freed Black Slaves; and there was a sea captain who died in Prince Edward Island in 1818. Fast forward to the 21st century, and there is a restaurant in Melbourne and a boutique hotel in Camp’s Bay, near Cape Town. Well, wow…….! So the question changed: With all that to investigate, how could I not do an Study.
So if you are wondering whether to study a name in depth, I’d say ‘look out of the window’ – take the big view, drink it in. If the picture looks amazing, you’ll want to know how it was formed. Then you go back to the registers, censuses, and lists, because now you know that every little scrap of information is a pixel that goes towards making the picture you have glimpsed.
I am convinced that if you have a passion for your chosen Study name, you will find the patience and the skills that are needed.