Project: One Name Studies

Categories: One Name Studies

Welcome to the One Name Studies Project


How to Join the One Name Studies Project

Are you interested in the One Name Studies Project?one_name_studies.gif

For questions and answers, see the One Name Studies FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

About the Project

Ours is a project of project leaders. Members of the One Name Studies (ONS) Project help to lead surname projects — genealogy collaborations that are centered around a particular surname.

The term "one name study" may refer more specifically to a genealogical research project to investigate the origins of a family name and sort out the various family lines. Since everything on WikiTree is collaborative we don't make a distinction between research studies and collaborative projects. A One Name Study on WikiTree welcomes and includes the research of all Wiki Genealogists who are interested in the same surname.


  1. You have signed the Honor Code.
  2. You have been on WikiTree for at least 30 days.
  3. You have made at least 100 contributions.

Check First

To see if someone has already started a project, enter your last name in the search box at the top of this page (without entering a first name). This will take you to the surname index page, e.g.

If there is a surname project it will be linked near the top of the page on the right, e.g. "Smith Project".

If you don't see a project linked there, it's a good idea to also check the one name studies index. New projects may not yet be properly linked from the surname's surname index page.

Next Step

If there isn't an existing name study:

  1. Reply to this G2G thread letting Ros know which surname project you would like to start. Ros will:
    • Create your study's free-space page, and add you as the manager.
    • Award you the One Name Studies Project Member badge. (This badge is awarded only to coordinators of a study.)
    • Make sure your study appears properly on the surname index page and one name studies index.
  2. Coordinators should add one_name_studies to your list of followed tags. That way you'll see all our discussions in G2G. Study participants (non-coordinators) should simply follow the appropriate surname.
  3. After Ros creates the project page for you, follow the instructions for getting started.

If there is an existing name study:

  1. Send a private message to the name study's leader to let them know you wish to join their study.
  2. Discuss with them how exactly you can help.
  3. Add one_name_studies to your list of followed tags. That way you'll see all our discussions in G2G.

Important Note: How many Studies can I have? We recommend no more than seven (one for each day of the week!). If you have never run a Study before, we recommend that you start off with one or maybe two. If you have only been on WikiTree for the required 30 days, definitely only one! You can increase the number of Studies you hold as the months go by and you become more settled in a routine.

Getting Started with a New One Name Study

In the past, project members were required to set up the free space page for their study themselves. Now, you only need to reply to the G2G thread and the page will be set up for you. But it will only be a basic outline; it is your responsibility to fill it in.

Once the page has been created, you can find your name study at any time by clicking the Free-Space Watchlist link from your Watchlist.

You could also add a link from the text of your profile for yourself and others like this:

I have started [[Space:X_Name_Study|surname project]], please join me in researching this name!

The URL for your project, of course, will have your surname instead of X, like this:

If you have accidentally created a One Name Study page on your own, please inform the Project leaders right away. It's important that the One Name Studies Project leaders are aware of your page so they can make sure it is properly linked from the appropriate surname index page(s) and appears in the one name studies index.

How to include surname variants

Does your study include more than one variation of the surname, e.g. Smith, Smyth, and Smythe?

It is your decision, based on you and your fellow project members' research interests, whether to include variants and which ones to include. You do not need to include any variants as part of your study, but if you have chosen not to have any, you are required to state on the page that no variants are included.

If you decide to add a new variant to your study in the future, let the One Name Studies Project Leaders know so that we can set up a redirect to your study on the new surname's genealogy index page.

Invite others

The first thing to do after your ONS has been created is to invite other WikiTreers to join you.

Click here to post a message in G2G, our "Genealogist-to-Genealogist" forum.

  • Use a title such as "Got Smiths? Join the new Smith Surname Project" or "Would you like to help research Johnson families?"
  • In the text describe what you're working on and where you think others might be able to help. Don't just write a couple bland sentences. Genuinely invite other volunteers to collaborate on the project.
  • End the text by saying something like, "Reply here if you're interested or comment below if you have any questions." This is better than inviting people to contact you privately.
  • In the "WikiTree ID/URL" field enter the URL of your project page, e.g. Space:Noland_Name_Study
  • In the "Surnames and Tags" field enter the main surname and any related surname like this: noland van_noland nolend (3 separate tags)

Important Note: The green tags on your Name Study page are for surnames only, because they link to the index pages of profiles who have that surname. So do not put locations like "England", or you will link to the surname page of all people with the surname 'England'. Likewise, do not put 'one_name_studies' here. Put it on your own profile as a G2G tag you are following. And don't squash all the variants together. Give each of them their individual tag.

Next, click to the list of members who are following the surname tag. From the surname index page (e.g. click the "Genealogists" link. This will take you a page like Click to each one of these members' profiles and post a comment on their profile or send them a private message to tell them about the new project.

How to Lead a One Name Study

Here's what to do after you've started the project.

WikiTree resources

Familiarize yourself with WikiTree's surname-related features and tools.

On the "My WikiTree" pull-down menu select "Surnames". This will show you the links for your family names. These same links are available on surname index pages from the pull-down menu that starts with the surname and in the right column after you resort the list of names.

Click on each link to experiment and see what it does. WikiTree is always adding more tools so you might find something new.

Rick Pierpont's excellent page of sources and resources is essential viewing.

Project page

The project page is the center of your one name study.

Confirm that the project page appears:

  1. In the one name studies index. See the section on categorization below if not.
  2. On the surname's surname index page. If it doesn't, ask one of the ONS project leaders to add it. See "How to Join" section above.

All project pages should have the following four sections. Although creative formatting is allowed on free-space profiles (unlike on person profiles) the standard format is to use level-two headlines, like this:

== How to Participate ==
== Goals ==
== Surname Variants ==
== Task List ==

How to Participate: You can invite people to respond to your open invitation on G2G, post a comment on the page or send you a private message.

Goals: Do you have any specific goals for your Name Study, such as following migration patterns?

Surname Variants: List the variants that are included as part of this study, or state that there are no variants included.

Task List

What is the current state of the research? What are you and other members working on, and what remains to be done? Also consider:

Ideas for what else to include:

  1. Research Notes section.
    • Are there any weak links that need more sources?
    • Post your direct family line as a family unit and invite others to do the same. The goal is to find a link between family units using traditional and/or DNA research.
  2. Resources section.
    • Are there any published books based on your surname with possible links?
    • Historical societies in your geographical area of study that hold files on your surname?
    • Family Historical Societies?
    • Websites that are dedicated to your surname?
    • Links for further research?
  3. Pictures. Upload them through the link in the right column.
  4. Surname Origins and/or Surname Meaning section.
  5. DNA section. See the information on DNA below.
  6. Famous people. Are there celebrities or historical figures with the surname? Add them to your study and encourage members to post a comment about their connections to famous people with the name.

You might also create and link separate free-space pages for things like:

  • Maps and migratory paths.
  • Family homesteads.
  • Family bibles or heirlooms.
  • Reunions.



Use G2G for more than just your initial invitation for others to join the project.

Discussing issues and questions here means that others will see them — project members and potential project members. Many people follow surname tags and will therefore see your tagged conversations. They are also linked from surname index pages, appear in Google search results, etc.

One idea for a post is to tell about your journey on the research trail. What exciting things did you discover? Any skeletons in the closet? Any wise old tales debunked?

If a few months have gone by since your last post, post an update about what is new or interesting in your project.

On any G2G post, be sure to include the URL of your project page in the "WikiTree ID/URL" field and the surname tag(s).

Use other forums and social media

Are there other surname projects for the same name on other websites? Are there surname-specific web sites or blogs? Discussion forums or e-mail lists? Search Google to see what you can find. Whether or not these genealogists use WikiTree, they may be interested in what you are doing with your project.

If you use Facebook, join or create a surname group there. You will be surprised at how effective this can be for reaching new people.

Follow the surname tag

You are probably already following the surname tag. If not, you should be. This will mean you see new G2G activity in your daily Wiki Genealogy Feed e-mail update.

In addition to participating in surname-tagged G2G discussions, this will help alert you to new members who are also following the tag. When you see one, post a welcome message on their profile like this:

Hi X. Welcome to WikiTree! I see that you have X ancestors. Me too. Where are yours from? Mine are from X. I know you're just getting started on WikiTree, but when you get a chance come check out the [[Space:X_Name_Study|X surname project page]] and post a comment there to introduce yourself. If there's ever anything I can do to help or any questions I can answer, let me know.


DNA testing is very valuable for surname projects — Y-chromosome tests in particular. By themselves, Y-chromosome test results do not have particular meaning. You need to be able to compare the tests with others. A surname project gives you that opportunity.

Create a table with your family's yDNA results and encourage other members to do the same so that comparisons can be made.

You can find others with your surname who have taken DNA tests by going to your surname index page and selecting "DNA Connections." This will take you to a page like this: YDNA test-takers are the most valuable, but anyone who has taken an autosomal test knows the value of DNA for genealogy and may be able to find a male member of their family who could be tested.

Genetic genealogy is not easy. Others in the WikiTree community are willing to help. Ask a question in G2G using the tag DNA.


Categories group profiles together. This is essential for a one name study. You need to place your Study's category onto a profile in order for it to be included in your Name Study. Only do this if you are the Profile Manager! If you are not, remember to ask first.

A list of every profile per surname (whether in your Study or not) is generated by the system and is called a genealogy page (or surname index). Your Name Study can be categorised into subcategories, such as Devon, Haywood Name Study; or Blacksmiths, Distin Name Study; or Spouses, Blagdon Name Study, whereas the genealogy surname index cannot.

Using categories can be complicated. If you have questions or need help setting up categories, please contact Ros Haywood for assistance.
Note: You do not need to use the new Category Request form for your Name Study.

[[Category:One Name Studies]]

Only put this on your project page. Do not put it on any person profiles, including your own.

Categorization that combines a surname and location

If your study is location-specific, structure the category beginning with the location followed by the surname and ending in "Name Study."

[[Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study]]

You put the category you want (such as [[Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study]]) onto the specific profile you want, then Save.  You will get a red banner saying there's no such category; ignore it and press Save Anyway.

Go to the category you just made at the foot of the profile page.  It will be red.  Click on it, and an empty box will appear.  In this box, type::

[[Category:Haywood Name Study]] and save.

You will only have to do this once.  From now on, every time you put [[Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study]] on another profile, it will always be green.

Now, on your Study's category page, the subcategory [[Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study]] will appear.

If you wanted
[[Category:England, Haywood Name Study]]
as well, you would put [[Category:England, Haywood Name Study]] on the person profile, then follow the instructions above for creating the Devon subcategory.


  • Do not use an "s" on the end of the surname as this, in essence, changes the spelling of the surname.
  • Do not use / (forward slash), () (parentheses or brackets), nor & (ampersand)
  • Like all categories, using the most specific or smallest category is usually recommended, but in this case, also listing the state level category would be helpful. Once you start looking through census records and only have a state listed for the place of birth, you won't want to go searching through all the county categories looking for your names.
  • Remember that families with the same surname living in the same location may not be related, especially if they share a common surname.

Other categorization

If you have a different way of separating people in your study, you can set those categories up in a similar way as with the location categories, namely, XXX, Name Name Study. For example:

[[Category:Kissing Cousins, Flaugher Name Study]]

To target a specific time and place, you could combine location and century. For example:

[[Category:England, 16th Century, Flaugher Name Study]]

See DNA Categorization for Projects for more information on how to categorize for ONS/DNA cross-overs.

Profile Stickers

Profile stickers are feature boxes inserted within the biography section of profiles using what are called templates. They identify something important about a profile that you want to draw attention to.

Add this code anywhere below the == Biography == line:

{{One Name Study|name=Example}}

Do not leave a space after the equal sign. For example, it should be name=Smith not name = Smith.

If your project's categorization does not follow the standard format described above, use this format instead:

{{One Name Study
| name =the name covered by your study
| category =your study's category -- not required if your category follows the usual format

Still Have Questions?

For questions and answers, see the One Name Studies FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

This page was last modified 21:43, 6 August 2019. This page has been accessed 50,234 times.