One-name studies: how to record your surname findings on FreeBMD


05 March 2020
One-name studies
In this step-by-step guide, Julie Goucher shows us how to record the instances of your chosen surname produced by searches on the FreeBMD website.

If you’re embarking upon a one-name study to gather data on the various instances of a particular surname it’s useful to know how to capture your findings when working with multiple instances of the same surname.

In the below project, Julie takes us on a step-by-step tour through how to use the FreeBMD genealogy website to capture surname data for your chosen name.

Visit FreeBMD and do a search for your surname of choice. When conducting your own research you want to record every instance of a surname in the records ie on FreeBMD this means birth, marriage and death registrations (marriage demonstration is shown below).

Follow the steps below to record your findings for use in your one-name study.

Step 1

At the top, by the search box, there is an option to download the data. Click download. The file downloads as a Text (TXT) file.

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Step 2

Then open a spreadsheet such as Excel or Google Sheets, placing the cursor at the top.

Step 3

Return to the downloaded TXT file and copy the data by clicking on CTRL and A, then CTRL and C. Then head back to the spreadsheet and pressing CTRL and V the data from the text file should fall nicely into the spreadsheet. Delete any information above the row.

Step 4

Then repeat the process for any varations of spellings. In the case of the name Dwerryhouse here, I also downloaded Dweryhouse and inserted into the same marriages spreadsheet.

Step 5

Repeat the process for births and deaths in the same way and copy them across into separate pages in the same workbook.

Step 6

I always add an extra field at the end of my spreadsheets for notes where I record anything relevant, such as a death located in Scotland where the birth or marriage took place in England and Wales.

Having downloaded that material I can then build on it using other datasets, such as the census, migration records and the 1939 Register.

Julie Goucher has been researching her family history since the late 1980s and has an interest
in Italian ancestry. Julie is conducting a number of one-name studies and is an administrator for several DNA projects.

She is the tutor for the One-Name Studies courses run by Pharos Tutors and is a Trustee for the Guild of One-Name Studies. Visit her website here.

Starting a one-name study? Julie has more advice in an in-depth article in the March issue of Family Tree magazine.