Welcome to the Ruby surname blog! We are a small team of Guild of One-Name Studies members who came together to undertake a project to honour the Guild’s 40th anniversary in September 2019. And what is the Guild, you ask? For readers who are not members, the Guild is a non-profit society of those who work on or have an interest in one-name studies, or surname studies. While traditional genealogy/family history works on a person’s own family line, a one-name study takes on the study of one surname (and perhaps its variants). To learn more about this, and what motivates people to take on what seems a daunting task, visit the Guild’s website at one-name.org. Be warned: one-name studies are known to be addictive.
Why Ruby? For those of you who track such things, the ruby gemstone is associated with a 40th anniversary and seemed an appropriate choice. In looking into the surname, what became apparent was its multinational origins: French, German, Hungarian, Russian, Irish, and more. As the wordle above demonstrates there can be a number of possibilities to connect to Ruby – we hope to find out which ones are true connections. While many Rubys live in English-speaking countries, one can hypothesize that they may have emigrated and perhaps changed (or had changed for them) the spelling of their surname to an anglicized version. This is the story of the international aim of the Guild in one surname. Thus, we have established our first study goal: to collect Ruby individuals and families and to determine their country origins regardless of sharing the same surname.
At the moment, we are sticking strictly to the RUBY spelling of the surname. The many variations of the name that we will encounter along the way will not be ignored, and one or more of them might end up being so integrated with Ruby that we cannot study one without the other. It is always a good strategy to undertake a one-name study in manageable chunks and restricting to Ruby in the initial stage is our way of doing so.
A one-name study always begins with collection of people, using Census records or Census substitutes in countries without a Census; birth, marriage and death information(BMDs); and depending on the country or the surname, other data sets that start to create sufficient data to analyse patterns related to your study goals. The Ruby project team has determined that from the beginning, we aim to construct families as we go. This is the beauty of Census data as many family groups are put together for you. It’s a start.
Another feature of the Ruby study is collaboration. Small and medium size one-name studies can be done by one person. Many large studies are a result of collaboration. For the Ruby study, we have a timeline of September 2019 to make substantial progress. We are also working simultaneously on different geographic areas, making use of peoples’ expertise in different countries. Some standards are being established, while at the same time allowing flexibility for volunteers to have an enjoyable experience. It’s a new adventure for those who have always worked independently and makes the most of the Guild’s longstanding promotion of collaboration among its members.
Do you want to know what we find out about the Ruby surname? Do you want to learn more about a one-name study? Are you a new member of the Guild and want to follow the progress of the study from its inception to a more mature study? Then register to receive blog updates. At least once a month there will be a new post, and in some cases, more frequently. Guest bloggers may post about a particular experience as they work on the study. And of course, we may come across some famous and infamous Rubys with stories you will want to hear!
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Peggy and the Ruby Team