Site notice January, 2014
We recently changed the software we use for our master database (not this website). In the course of that change all of the individual and family reference numbers have changed. Consequently, the links to media no longer work properly, i.e., some individuals have the wrong picture or certificate and others are missing theirs. We are reinstating those links, but it will take some time yet. Please bear with us! If you find other errors please let us know and we will put them right. See also August's newsletter: here
Great oaks from tiny acorns...
Welcome to HowesFamilies.com, dedicated to reconstructing families for people named HOUSE, HOWES, HOWS and HOWSE, which are frequently variant spellings of the same name.
On the links page there are links to several global surname distribution websites. Taken together, what they show is that Southern England is the main source of our name, with individual concentrations for Howes in Norfolk and Northamptonshire, Howse in Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, and House in Somerset, Dorset and Hampshire. When you look at all of them together, it is perfectly obvious that these fit together into a coherent whole. Our suspicion is that we are separated only by strong regional accents! For a longer explanation, click on any of the top three icons in the upper right of your screen.
There are now almost 85,000 named individuals in reconstructed family groups, now we think close to 25% of the ultimate population. We have redesiged the site, with additional pages and information about our names. In particular, we now have a set of pages devoted to notable people with our name. We have two Victoria Cross winners, several notable soldiers, a couple of knights, ship's captains, authors, inventors and a film actress among us, for instance. If you have additional suggestions, do let us know.
Interest in our site has been strong and worldwide. We have over 880 members registered from over twenty countries, as far apart as Argentina,India and Malaysia. After five years we are one of the larger sites devoted to a single name anywhere. What seems to makes this site interesting and useful is that we have built family groups as we have grown. This study is not just about collecting ancestors' names but about connecting people, literally. Several correspondents have been able to take their research back 4 generations or more and many others able to renew contact with parts of their extended family where contact had been lost (us included!).
We welcome all suggestions for change and improvement, and especially more data! If you'd like to join us and collaborate on making this site absolutely THE resource for all people named House, Howes, Hows and Howse worldwide, please use the contact button at bottom right.
Paul, I want to help. What can I do?
Thanks for asking! Five things, please:
- register on the site so we can stay in touch - towards top-left on this page
- send your own tree - GEDCOMs are best, but anything will do
- send copies of any photographs of individuals or headstones, or certificates, to photos "at" howesfamilies.com
- consider whether you can help. Go to November 2008's newsletter here and look at the kinds of thing we need. What gives you energy?
- tell your relatives!
Note: this study is done under the auspices of the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS). Our ultimate goal is to collect as many occurrences of our name as we can find around the world. Under Guild rules we are obliged to respond to all queries. We'd do that anyway but if we don't live up to it, please feel free to let them know at www.one-name.org.
We are pleased to report that in 2012 our study was recognized by the Guild and awarded two Certificates of Excellence, one for the article in Family Tree Magazine and one for this website. As a result, we are proudly able to display the following badge, together with that of Ancestry.co.uk where we have published a blog (click it to read):
A recent correspondent asked
I have just come across your website ... amazing! I would be interested in becoming a registered user. Is it possible to contact other members or is all information shared on the website? Do you have to have permission to put material on or can anyone add anything they find elsewhere? How is authenticity checked?
Thanks for your kind words. That's quite a lot of questions in the following two lines! I'll do my best with them.
To become a user, simply click on the Register New User box toward the top left of most pages. Right now, it's not possible to contact other users except through me. However, when you register if you tell me about your Howse heritage, I will take note of your family connection and if I find then or later another person from the same branch, I'll try to connect you. We connect people only where both parties agree.
Yes, all information is shared on the website, except that all details for anyone born within the last 100 years are hidden from public view unless we know that person to have died.
There are only three of us today who directly update the database. That's one way we can maintain the quality of the information on the site. However, we are always looking for more volunteers . . . . I wish it were possible to allow others to update directly, but it would quickly lead to chaos because everyone works to different standards. If you have material you'd like us to add, please just send it in. A GED file or spreadsheet, or document, or even paper file is just fine, or after you register, you can use the Suggest Edit tabs at the top of every individual's page.
Regarding authenticity, our aim is the truth! Where we can, we use original sources, including scanned or microfilmed images. We use secondary sources a lot, since we can't be everywhere. Although we didn't always do it when we first started out we now record every source so that you, the user, may make your own judgements about what is reliable. When we take data from tertiary sources, like family trees on the web, we filter out what we believe to be not well-researched and frequently use words like "ancestry.com tree" as the source, so that you know to be more cautious. Given how easy it is to copy another person's work we also don't want to waste our time on provenance discussions (who was the original source for a fact). We aim for the truth, but we do recognize that we can't be perfect with nearly 800,000 facts in the database! So we encourage others to question what we have done where they don't feel it's right.