Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shapes & Sizes

One-Name Studies come in many different shapes and sizes: shapes, because of the variety of ways in which researchers choose to carry out what is effectively the same task; sizes, well, that one's more obvious - because of the different frequencies of the surnames.

Parry is a fairly frequently occurring surname in the UK (I must stop calling it "common"!). It is not up in the XXL category - only Smith & Jones make that. Nor does it join the XL group, the likes of Hill, Morgan, Fisher, and Gray. But, with almost 23,000 of them in the 1881 census, it is near the top of the L category.

Not for me that process of checking every quarter in the Civil Registration indexes, in the hope of a glimpse of just one entry - mine tumble out, filling rows and rows in spreadsheets.

With more people carrying the name, it follows that there are more people interested in researching it (although probably not proportionately - I imagine a rarer name has more "interest" factor). Yesterday I received one email from a new contact, and three from "pre-existing" contacts (although two of those were "new" just weeks ago). Getting the balance right with regard to communication (speed, frequency, level of detail provided, additional research undertaken as a result etc) is a debated subject amongst One-namers.

And having a blog raises other questions - what am I doing writing this when I haven't yet replied to the people I am writing about!

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