Monday, November 10, 2014

Official launch of The Surname Society


Today is the official public launch day for The Surname Society.  I have been involved with this project for quite some time and I have registered the following surnames:

Simmons, Weichert, Glaentzer, Feige, Bodenheim

I chose Simmons because it is my maiden name and because there is a DNA project page to go with it.  I chose the other four because these are my 4 maternal great-grandparent lines and they are fairly rare surnames (in Germany/Poland/Prussia) and doing a surname study on these is much more doable.

You might be familiar with the Guild of One-Name Studies.  This group has been around for a long time (since the 1970s).  So why do we need another group if there is already an established one? 

Both groups have their strengths.  The Guild has a long history with an established presence and excellent support.  The Surname Society comes in with a promise of modern ideas and tools. I think having two groups will make both groups stronger (a little friendly competition).

Here are some highlights from The Surname Society website:

“We launched this new society on 3rd November 2014 for those interested in single surname studies, offering members a fresh, worldwide, collaborative society that is modern, forward thinking and friendly. We do not prescribe how a surname study should be conducted, developed or managed, but we do offer advice and guidance and a whole lot more.

Membership of The Surname Society is just £5 (US $7.95 or €6.30) per year as we are predominantly an online society. We offer a first class service tailored to how the majority of researchers now do their research. Please explore the website and forum and see what we have to offer. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Join our Google+ community so you can participate in our online monthly meetings.

The Surname Society has many plans in the pipeline and we would like to hear your views and thoughts too! We have taken some ideas from the questionnaire responses but our ears are open to more (and offers of help to bring those concepts to fruition).”

Count me in.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Hi Michele. I will join. I'm extremely interested in the Clooz 3.3 aspects of surname studies. Your comment block won't let me post as Clooz.

  2. Sorry, Joe. I don't know why it is blocking it. It must be a Blogger thing. I have it set up to moderate but not block.

  3. As you rightly say, the Guild was launched in 1979 and is now a very mature organisation. It HAD a UK bias because that is where it was formed - but is now very much International in both Membership & outlook.
    Regarding SIMMONS - I was in contact with the Guild member for that name (Sharon SYMONS) some time back and found her to be most helpful - as are most Guild Members. If you continue to have problems contacting Sharon, do report it to the Guild's Registrar (details on their website -
    Kind Regards,
    Ken Toll
    Past Chairman, Guild of One-Name Studies.

    1. When I tried to contact the member the email bounced and the website for the actual page no longer exists. I will try and contact the registrar because I would like to know if anyone is actively working on this project.

      Maybe a little friendly competition between the two sites will make both sites better :)

  4. Hi Michele, I notice your mothers maiden name was Weichert. Is the name pronounced sounding the 't'? I only ask as there is a story in the WHITCHER family that they came from Europe, possibly with the Huguenots, although we can find no connection. Richard

  5. The correct pronunciation is vi-sh-airt. It is hard to do a correct phonetic representation :) My line is still in Germany though branches higher up could have easily immigrated. The Weicherts were ethnic Germans but they came from the area that is now Poland (1757 through 1912 ish). Sometime before WWI they migrated to Germany proper because of the anti German sentiment in the area they were living.