Nothing compares to meeting blood relatives

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15 December 2017
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Anne Wilkinson from Stonehewer to Stanier Society talks to us about their One-Name Study.

In a town near you, there’s likely an enthusiastic band of family historians  - your local family history society members. These hardworking volunteers run family history societies to help teach people about family history and work to preserve the historic records of the area for the future. The range of historic projects they are involved in is vast. Read on for an inspiring example…

Q A One-Name Study society is a very specialist sort of family history society. Do members of the Stonehewer to Stanier Society find this has both pros and cons?

A (Anne Wilkinson) People have different ideas about one-name societies. Some concentrate on the statistics, such as where the name is found most commonly. Our society especially likes to bring people together simply to meet and make friends and exchange information on the family. We hold annual get-togethers to meet new members or renew friendships, generally located between the areas where the families originated (mainly Cheshire and Staffordshire) and somewhere in the south for members who live there. At the get-together, we hold our annual general meeting but apart from that the committee members communicate through emails, post or telephone. We produce a quarterly newsletter to keep the membership informed and encourage contributions on research. 

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Q What tips can you offer someone starting a one-name study?

A Starting a one-name society is not for the faint-hearted. The continuation of our society is mainly due to the hard work and continued interest of a few dedicated members. I personally have met relatively close relations through the society who I would not otherwise have known about and this is one reason why people should be encouraged to join. There is nothing to compare to meeting blood relatives face to face and discovering genetic resemblances and sharing family photos and memorabilia. It is worth travelling across the country once a year to renew such friendships.

To find out more about family history societies, buy the Christmas issue of Family Tree, in the shops now, priced £5.99 and bagged with the Family History Handbook. The Handbook is packed with behind-the-scenes interviews with key family history society members and a directory of family history societies worldwide. Now SOLD OUT from the Family Tree website but still available from your newsagents or download the digital version here!