The Guild of One-Name Studies seeks to ensure that a Study will not duplicate work that has already been done. Therefore, before a name is accepted for registration certain checks will be made, e.g. on the names already registered and also on the names in which members have ‘expressed an interest’. There will also be a check on the feasibility of doing a Study on the preferred name; obviously, a very common surname poses very many problems. It is, though, possible for several researchers to work together on a huge study. My advice would be to accept the Guild’s guidance.
There is a small one-off fee to be paid on registration.
When you register a name, you undertake to deal with any queries about the name in a polite and ‘timely’ manner should you get an enquiry by email or by post. (A postal enquiry should include a stamped addressed envelope for an answer.) You also undertake to publish your research, which is why I have set up this blog (Ezard – The Name and Its History). The Guild aims to increase the public’s understanding of surname studies and the insights and benefits that arise from the work. So – by doing an ONS, you are doing your bit(!).
Once you have registered, you will be able to set up a Profile Page for your Study on the Guild website. The page should start with the surname itself, e.g. Ezard One-Name Study, to increase the likelihood of the page being picked up by search engines when an internet user keys the name into their browser’s search box.
The Guild of One-Name Studies was formed in 1979 and now, over 35 years later, over 8,700 names are registered. The owner of a Study aims to collect every instance of the ‘name’ worldwide – this means in the countries where there are significant numbers – and as far back in time as possible. For a newcomer, this is daunting. In practice, though, and assuming that you have a name from the UK or Ireland, it could mean looking for information in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. The work has to be broken down into achievable bite-size chunks. And slowly, very slowly, it starts to seem less daunting.