Many family historians have adopted the approach of restricting their searches to ancestors in the direct male line, which can often yield a considerable volume of additional data about other members of the family who are not in the direct male line. As they share the same surname, these extra references tend to be noted so, over a period of time, a one-name study may begin to take shape. If the surname involved is slightly unusual, the chances are that it may encourage the development of a thoroughgoing one-name study.
At this point it is worth checking to see if anyone else is engaged on a similar enterprise to explore either the same surname or a close variant of it. Finding a kindred spirit might spark off the decision to form a new One-Name Group. Consequently this book is dedicated to those family historians who are either involved with extant one-name groups, or who are contemplating the formation of this type of group in the near or distant future.