Saturday, May 23, 2015

Those RootsTech 2015 Surname Cards, Part 1

the first dozen surnames are done! thanks for your patience

Last weekend I posted that I was working on all those surname cards that those who attended my RootsTech 2015 presentation filled out. It was a simple matter of including their name and email as well as the surname they were interested in on the surname card. Then the fun started as I researched each of the surnames and put together a short report to help them get stared with their one-name study research.  The first dozen reports went out in the email this weekend so if your surname of interest was Allred, Barta, Baumgardner, Bridwell, Brock, Bryan, Burdick, Castle, Chadwick, Clark, Coffield or Cramer - watch your email!

So what did I put together for those attendees who turned in a surname card?
  • I gathered some preliminary information about the classification, origin & meaning of their surname (lots of great websites out there and several were listed on the worksheet I handed out during the presentation - a link to the worksheet was provided in last week's blog post)
  • I checked whether their surname is a registered study with the Guild of One-Name Studies and, if so, I provided the name of the Guild member they can contact
  • I provided some preliminary information about the definition of their surname and the top countries and regions where their surname is found (two great resources are the Dictionary of American Family Names and Public Profiler - websites everyone should check out when researching their surnames)
  • I did a surname frequency analysis using the census collections at for both the United States census and the England & Wales census
  • I ran their surname through Surname Atlas to provide a map of their surname in the 1881 UK Census together with a numerical listing of the results (my thanks to Guild member and software author Steven Archer who graciously allows the Guild to provide these search results to individuals at Guild booths and events)

What did I find most interesting with the first dozen surnames?

There were a few surnames that I thought would be more common (or frequent) than they actually were and are (we are working with censuses from 1790-1940 and 2000 for the USA as well as 1841-1911 for England & Wales). Two of the surnames do not appear in the Surname Atlas (meaning there are no instances in the 1881 UK Census - Barta and Baumgardner). Only two of the surnames are already registered one-name studies with the Guild (Bryan and Burdick). One of the surnames is huge - along the lines of the Smith one-name study (Clark). The dozen surnames are varied and have Hungarian, German, Irish and English origins.

USA Results for Allred-Bryan
have you done a frequency analysis for your surname?

England & Wales Results for Allred-Bryan
it is useful to check out census data for country of origin and major migration

USA Results for Burdick-Crews
as you can see some surnames have many instances, others very few

England & Wales Results for Burdick-Crews
check out the potential size of a surname before getting started with your one-name study
how much work is ahead of you and can you share the workload!

The next dozen will be sent out on May 30 and I will have some more insights to share then as well as an example of results from Surname Atlas. This is an interesting project and I hope that the reports will help the attendees get started with their one-name (surname) research and studies. 

Until next time,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Update - My RootsTech 2015 Presentation on One-Name Studies

Where did the time go? Wasn't it just February? The time flew by and other tasks took precedence - looming deadlines, other conferences and webinars, April's blogging challenge, as well as family matters.

I finally got the chance to finish recording (and editing) the presentation I did for RootsTech 2015 - Who Does That? An Introduction to One-Name Studies. The video is now "live" on my YouTube Channel TessaWatch (also linked below). I wanted to share this presentation with my fellow Guild of One-Name Studies' members, those who watched my Legacy webinar on Specialized Studies (including one-name studies), and those of you in the genealogy community who expressed an interest in learning about surname research. Whether you simply want to learn a bit more about the surnames in your direct line, study a particular surname in greater detail, or decide to look into starting a one-name study - I hope this introduction proves helpful.

You can click on the live link for the worksheet I refer to in my presentation and follow along Who Does That? Handout/Worksheet. I gave a copy to each of the attendees and hope that you find it useful (links to some great resources).

To those who attended my presentation - thanks so much for the terrific reviews (very much appreciated). Thanks again to the FamilySearch team that put together RootsTech 2015 and provided me with the opportunity to share my passion for one-name studies.Those of you who filled out surname cards should watch your email in the coming weeks as your surname information will be winging its way to you (sorry for the delay).