I had a great time this past weekend when I attended the annual conference of the Guild of One-Name Studies, held in Ashford, Kent, England. I also was invited to speak at the conference. This organization, affectionately referred to as GOONS, is based in England but has more than 2,600 members around the world. Indeed, they are very serious genealogists. Founded in 1979 in Britain, the Guild is widely recognised as a centre of academic excellence in one-name studies.
A one-name study is a project researching facts about a surname and all the people who have held it, as opposed to a particular pedigree (the ancestors of one person) or descendancy (the descendants of one person or couple). Many GOONS members register a surname so as to embark on a Guild-recognised, one-name study and coordinate world-wide activity in studying the surname. Only one person may register a specific surname with the Guild, but membership in the Guild is open to all with an interest in surname studies and is not restricted to those who wish to register a name.