Hello everyone. Wow! What a busy month. After a final flurry of activity, I've finally stopped being Chairman of the Guild of One-Name Studies and I wish my successor, who is a reader of these notes and has contributed many gravestone photographs to our gallery, "fair winds and following seas" for his term of office.
Avid readers know that I maintain a checklist of marriages in England and Wales to check our overall progress. Of the 23,900 marriages of Howes/House/etc. people between 1837 and 1950, we now know:
1 - the names of both partners of over 18,000 and have reconstructed families for their families. That's well over 75%. It explains why at this point it is relatively unusual for us to find a person named Howes in a 19th or 20th century database or newspaper and not know who they are. I wish we were as advanced for other countries, but we are working on it. If you click on the PLACES menu in the left hand margin of most pages on our site, you will see that USA is now second only to London as the most popular location.
2 - the actual location of the marriage for over 7,200, that's over 30%.
We passed both of these milestones this month and also achieved a third one. At the Guild conference, we were awarded a Guild Award of Excellence for our website for a third time, no other site having been given the award more than twice. Sites are eligible for consideration only every three years. So we are maintaining our position ahead of the pack. To me, and I hope I am right, it's our customer focus in providing pictures and a wider range of information than other similar sites. However, I am feeling the warm breath of competition racing up just behind us. The software we use for our website is rapidly becoming much more popular among Guild members and we have to do more to stay ahead. It had been on my docket to change the look and feel of our website over the next few months. The site has looked essentially the same since we upgraded our software with some customized edits six or so years ago. Unfortunately, I've had to shelve that redesign desire for the moment, as I explain below.
Before I move on, let me say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has contributed some information, a photograph or some details about their own family, or helped with our research efforts. This isn't my study. It never has been. I've always hoped that it would be a collective effort because it was way to big for me (or even two of us when my cousin Ian signed up too) to do on my own or our own. We now have a team of 7 or 8 regular contributors and helpers and I cannot tell you all how much I appreciate your efforts. We are now sporting an extra badge on our home page in recognition of our efforts.
Howes in the news
This was a bumper month to find interesting news around the world about people named Howes.
- First up, is a lovely story about baby Micah Howes's pushy entry to the world at an Orlando, Florida fire station! Watch the video clip here for parents' Candace and Zach's explanation of what happened. https://www.clickorlando.com/news/it-al ... re-station
- Second: something a little more delayed than childbirth: a happy platinum wedding anniversary to Charles and Sheila Howes of Bromsgrove, near Birmingham in England. When you click on the link article it's clear from their photograph that marriage suits them. Remember: both of them are now well over 90 years old and they look younger today than many 70-year olds looked when I was a young man! Check out their story here: http://www.bromsgroveadvertiser.co.uk/n ... niversary/
- Next up is a tale of redemption and sheer hard work. If you aren't from Britain, you probably don't know that there human weight is denominated in "stones" a unit of 14 pounds. So Lee Howes had an addiction to meat pies which caused him to gain over 220lb (100Kg) in a year and now he's working hard to get back down again! I don't know about you, but I do not believe I have ever eaten two pies in a day, let alone 20! You can see before and after pix here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5775854/l ... -pies-day/
- Until I read this article I thought Wild Turkey calling was shouting my order for adult beverages in a noisy bar. Nope. It's a competition, and people drive hundreds of miles to compete in sounding like wild turkeys. They drive hundreds, even thousands, of miles to compete. I love diversity! Good for the Howes folks for driving 18 hours to Belleville, Ontario for this event, but it is still a bizarre competition: http://www.intelligencer.ca/2018/03/11/ ... f-the-wild. We don't see wild turkeys in Florida, but they did used to visit our yard in New Jersey. "Ornery critters" they are indeed.
- Finally, I cannot let this month pass without reference to the brutal death of David Howes at the hands of the IRA some thirty years ago. I'm not a regular newspaper reader, but I saw no fewer than three different articles about the events of that day. The papers will not let go of this story and I really feel for his family.
Over the past month we have added over 800 people and finished the month with 131, 572 people in our database. I managed to catch up with files of reconstructed families done by Ian and Mike needing to be added to our master file. My next tasks are to review families rebuilt by our obituary team of Chris and Judith, and to review the wills transcribed by Sue and make a dent on past correspondence still outstanding.
Ruby One-Name Study
I remarked above that I am having to wait before redesigning our website. The cause is a worthy one. In December, as chairman I announced a new initiative for the Guild: a collaborative global effort to construct a One-Name Study over the course of the following 20 months until our 40th anniversary in September 2019. What better name to study for our 40th than Ruby? Even better, while the surname is present in the UK in a small way, it seems to have had Continental European origins. Initial research on our part suggested possible origins in France, Germany, Switzerland and points even farther East into Russia which would make the project even more intriguing.
Unfortunately, within a few weeks the small initial team started to disintegrate and it looked like I might have to un-announce the project. Call it pride or stubbornness on my part but I couldn't let it go and have an obvious failure at the end of my watch. I would have more time to spare once I stopped being Chairman, and thanks to my own Study and past career I have some experience with managing global projects and finding volunteers. So I have taken it on, in the hope of finding enough volunteers to share the load. So far 18 Guild members have stepped forward to help, so far proving that I am right when I say that the Guild is the single-most collaborative group of people I have ever encountered.
Why mention all of this? Simply, do you know anyone named Ruby? If so, please do give them this email address where they can contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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