Starting a One-Name Study

A series of videos by Tessa Keough and webinars hosted by the Guild of One-Name Studies (particularly this one by Melanie Caldicott) have recently inspired me to think more seriously about starting my own one-name study. According to the Guild's website, "a one-name study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree (ancestors of one person) or descendancy (descendants of one person or couple)". So basically it's for crazy people!

The Jephson Surname

For my part, I have been interested for a long time in the surname of my 4th great grandmother, Caroline Mary Jephson. The surname stopped with her, but it has been passed down through her male descendants as a middle name. My father, grandfather, 2nd great uncle, 2nd great grandfather and 3rd great grandfather all share the Jephson name. So it is of some interest to me in terms of its origins and importance in my family line.

The Jephsons of Nottingham were apparently quite wealthy, and perhaps the most well-known and studied member of the family was Dr Henry Jephson of Leamington Spa. His patients included Princess Victoria, Florence Nightingale, John Ruskin and George IV.

Genealogy v One-Name Studies

I have never focused so narrowly on one particular name, despite having researched my family history for well over 10 years now. I think a lot of my skills will transfer well to the task, and I hope to gain some new insights and knowledge. The opportunity to widen my geographic knowledge is another big motivator, and learning about diverse record sets is very exciting!

Getting Started

To begin the study, I will register the Jephson surname with the Guild of One-Name Studies and perform an initial survey of the surname globally. I hope to read some more about getting started with a one-name study using the resources supplied by the Guild. Tessa Keough's videos have also been very helpful for getting a grasp on exactly what kind of study I might like to conduct, and she has inspired me to start this journey.

You can read more about one-name studies at the website of the Guild of One-Name Studies. I hope to share more on the blog soon about my Jephson one-name study!