Going round the HOWSes - September 2018

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Going round the HOWSes - September 2018

Post by mardler »

Hello folks. It's our tenth anniversary! If you've been with us all that time, thank you so much for your support. If you've just joined us, welcome; please do contribute. Whenever there is an event in your family, please do let us know. Our confidentiality guarantee means that we do not share any information on living people. However, we still do collect births and marriage information wherever we can find it.

What have we done?
Here are a few numbers to show we have achieved in those ten years:
-- our database contains information on over 137,250 people - we added 1,400 this month alone.

-- depending on which software I use, that's between 700,000 facts (Family Historian) and 1,400,000 facts (Family Tree Maker). Goodness only knows why there is such a difference!

-- our GEDCOM file (the standard file for exchanging genealogy data) is very nearly 100MB in size. That GEDCOM file is now over 4.8million lines of data, almost all of it having been entered by hand!

-- we have over 1,400 correspondents, most of whom receive our monthly newsletter. Between 20 and 25% of people read it - that's you! - and my marketing friends tell me that that is a high readership rate!

-- we've now issued almost 120 monthly newsletters (I missed one or two early months) They're all available, warts and all, in this section of our site.

-- we have over 3,000 images on our site. Some are pictures of people, some are of headstones or places where people lived, or of churches where family members were baptized, married or buried. Most pictures are certificates we have bought to solve problems or ones donated by subscribers. We bought 20 certificates this month and will buy another few this month. Please do send in more pix!

-- we serve up close to 20,000 webpage views every month

-- we have a DNA study with about 200 participants in it. About one-half have taken Family Finder tests (the ones you see advertized) and the other half have taken yDNA tests. And, please, if you have older male House, Howes, Hows, Howse or Howze relatives, please do ask them to take a yDNA test - see last month's newsletter!

-- we have a team of people all over the world helping us, mainly with finding data.

-- about one-half of our correspondents have shared information with us. If you are one of the half which hasn't, please do consider it.

-- we've been members of the Guild of One-Name Studies for ten years. I can't say enough about how much this has helped us, but here are two big ways. (1) We now have 170 other One-Name Studies listed as sources on our site and intend to get that number to 200 by year's end. (2) We've also received information on about 1,400 marriages from Guild members, saving us about £13,000 in certificate costs alone.

-- I've given numerous speeches about our study at national, regional and local society events. In the course of that I have been privileged to meet many of the people reading this. This is probably a good point too to say that I have been accepted as a speaker at RootsTech 2019 at the end of February in Salt Lake City, Utah to talk about this very study. If you are in the area or otherwise planing on attending the world's largest genealogy show, do let me know so we can meet up.

-- I've received hundreds of emails thanking us for our efforts, two just in the last 24 hours. People are amazed at how much detail we go into. I reckon we are just scratching the surface as yet. I hope that more people will write in with reminiscences about some of those who have passed, to really bring their stories to life and go beyond the basic facts.

What have we learned?
Here are just a few things:
-- "Four eyes are always better than two". it is always good to have one's work checked over by someone else with a fresh pair of eyes and perhaps different experience or way of looking at things. I've said it often: I've been blessed to work with my cousin Ian, who thinks at 90 degrees to me. And his eye for detail is way better than mine. Together we can achieve more than one of us alone.

-- "The perfect is the enemy of the good". So often, people are wary of sharing their work online for fear that it's not up to snuff or that other people will poke holes in it. I say, "Phooey!" We put our material online knowing for sure that with that so many facts, some of them will be wrong. We ask that people tell us where we have goofed and we'll put it right. At least, if something looks dodgy, ask us about it. We will both learn from the process. We often work on a family as far as we can and then come back to it later when more information has come to light.

-- Most family historians are very generous, only too willing to share if acknowledged. We try our best to do that.

-- Everyone works to different standards. When we first started, we accepted GEDCOM files from or correspondents and added them straight in to our database. It was a great way of bulking up our site very quickly. BUT: there were two problems: (1) nothing was formatted the way we like it and the whole site deteriorated. So we took a month or so out at one point and knocked it back into shape (2) there were more than the average number of mistakes in some of the files. So these days, we take other people's files and re-enter them in our format, checking the facts as we go and adding to them where we can.

-- We've learned that the Howes/Howse/Hows surnames are native to Southern England. House is the same, except a good proportion of people named House in the US have German roots, their name having changed from Haus to the English translation.

-- We've learned too to question the academic theories about the origin of our name. It's about time I wrote
more on this topic as I haven't updated this web page in a few years: https://howesfamilies.com/histories/distrib.php!

-- From our DNA study, we've learned SO FAR that there are no singular-sounding HOW[E] families with the same yDNA as any plural-sounding HOWES/etc families. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it does appear that the names have different origin.

-- One-Name Studies are fun and give purpose to retirement from business life, in my case at least, and a great way to give back to the community! After ten years, I can say that I have not been bored.

As a boss once said to me, "Paul, this is a marathon, not a dash!" It sure is! I never expected to have achieved as much in ten years as we have. Let's hope the next ten are as productive.

Thank you all for your continued support.
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