Last weekend at Family Tree Live (in London), I finally realised an ambition that I have held for quite a long time now. I finally joined the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS). Not only does it have a brilliant acronym, but it allows me to register the research I have begun on a particular surname.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with One-Name Studies (an ONS for short), an ONS is a branch of genealogy where you research only one particular surname, instead of following all of the different surnames in your own family. Generally, someone’s interest in a particular surname comes from its occurrence in their own family, and this has been the same for my surname of choice.
I have chosen to research the surname ‘Rowsell’ and its variants ‘Rousell’ and ‘Rowswell.’ During my research I will be looking for all mentions of the surname in the records available, which will be the same sorts of records that I would use in conventional family history research. This will mean using Civil Registration Births, Marriages and Deaths indexes first, followed by Census records. Then I will move on to other records such as Parish Baptisms, Marriages and Burials and Will and Probate records. There are so many possible records though (some that might be specific to particular parishes) that it will take me some years to complete my research.
My hope for this research is to see how my family of Rowsells connect to the other families of Rowsells in the Somerset area (although my research will end up being world-wide too). There seem to be a lot in Somerset, but not so many in other parts of England. I will also be able to preserve it for people to see in years to come and perhaps find out the origins of the name and the distribution of the name too. Some people perform a socio-economic on their data too, but I have a long way to go before that step!
My study is only at the beginning right now, but it does have a page on the GOONS website: https://one-name.org
Just type ‘Rowsell’ into the search box and you can see my page. If you have the surname ‘Rowsell,’ or are related to any ‘Rowsell’ families, I would be happy to hear from you- there are contact details on my ‘Rowsell’ page.
If you are interested in undertaking an ONS yourself, then have a good look at the Guild’s website.
In the meantime, I will get on with my ‘Rowsell’ research and keep you posted!