Every now and again when researching our family history we encounter unusual surnames. Names that intrigue, us and make us wonder just where the name came from or perhaps are their others with this surname? I have at least two surnames that intrigued me.
The first is the Italian name of ORLANDO. Put that into Google and it displays thousands upon thousands of entries of where to holiday! I then tweaked the search and found that there were obviously others with the name, which in Italy is a little like Brown and Jones. I pondered and in 2002 Registered the name with the Guild of One Name Studies.
The surname does exist in other parts of the world, but these are the two distribution maps available currently.
The key thing with a One Name Study is to have a plan of action. The Guild can help you, but the study will be fairly unique to you, perhaps your research style, where you live, where the name occurs and so forth. Even two studies hosted by the same researcher can be different, mine are!
I have much data to be processed and placed on line and much more to gather.
The second name I registered with the Guild was the maiden name of my husband's Grandmother, and is the name of WORSHIP.
Again, with Google you do need to be creative in the search style, as you can be presented with thousands of references to religion and churches. I registered this name in 2005 and like the Orlando study there is much more to be collected, processed and uploaded.
One of the observations with undertaking a One Name Study is that you can look beyond the names and dates into the social history & migration studies. For example my own Italian family is complex but has the connection to the UK at the end of the 1950s. When life in Italy, especially the South and the Islands, my own family is from Sicily, was poor. Like many people before them and since many Italians migrated to make a better life for themselves. Some came to the UK, others to the US. In some cases, in the 19th Century Italian walked through Italy into France and came to the UK on their way to the US, and if they ran out of money by the time they got to the UK they stayed here. There could well be similar migration reasons for people of Polish descent or religious groups.
If you have a vague interest in undertaking a one name study I would recommend it. By registering the name you are NOT committing to completing the study within a given period, you are joining a specialised working group with access to a conference, a journal an on line message board where you can share references, learn and develop your knowledge and study.
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