February 12th, 2014

Getting Connected Through Surname Interests and Pedigrees

One of the most important compiled sources for genealogists is surname and pedigree compilations. There are many people who have posted their pedigree online, and there are a number of websites to which genealogists can submit details of the surnames that they’re interested in. This enables other researchers who are following a similar vein of research to get in touch with genealogists who might have information that they are looking for, or whom may be looking for info that they have. Let’s take a look at surname interests and how they can help us to find our ancestors.

Surname Interests

One of the fastest ways to make progress with your family pedigree is by working with other genealogists who have an interest in the same surnames as yourself. It is known for genealogists to find cousins who are pursuing the same family line; I can confirm this as it has happened to me. At the very least, it will help you to find out how much research has been done on the name that you’re studying. Some genealogists undertake what is known as a “one name study” and may contain valuable information from primary sources that they may be willing to share with you.

This ability to connect rather quickly with other researchers is one of the major assets of the internet. Previously you would have had to research many individual sources; both published and unpublished, burrowed through volume upon volume of genealogical directories, and still not have gotten very far. You’ll still have to verify the data you discover online with these original sources, but the internet hastens that part of your research by letting you know exactly where they can be found. Whatever you do, don’t completely overlook offline sources. Many professional and experienced genealogists do not have a website; some don’t even use the internet.

If coming upon a surname interests database you find that it doesn’t contain certain information that you possess, please consider submitting your own data. This is how genealogy works, by sharing information freely, it’s how families are brought together and ancestors are found. It is the very heart and soul of genealogy, so give something back whenever you can. Provide a way for other genealogists to contact you as well, whether by post or email, that’s up to you. Many websites have a submission form for you to fill out which makes the procedure an easy one. If there is a means of doing this, read the instructions carefully band fill it in exactly as required, some website managers may ignore something or discard it if it’s not formatted correctly.

Occasionally you may come across contact details that are no longer valid. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about this, except to make sure that it doesn’t happen to other researchers when they try to contact you. Keep you details up to date if you move or begin using a new email address.

Try the Guild of One Name Studies

This is an organization that was set up for people who are researching a particular surname. The website contains a searchable listing for everyone involved in the research of over 7,000 surnames registered with the Guild. This is an international focused organization; in fact a requirement for membership is that your surname search is an international one. Much of the registrants are professional genealogists and other types of researchers, and though you may not have common ancestors with them, they may have uncovered information about your family.