Sources and acknowledgements
One of the great things about Genealogy is that it has been a popular hobby/pursuit for many years. A lot of information is accessible and available to the Public. Reported below are the main sources which have been used to pull together the genealogical data reported in the FAMILIES DATABASE. Other sources used for particular families are identified on the relevant data page.
For comments on how I view my sources, see Families Database FAQ.
I try to be consistent in the way I identify sources and am normally quite good at enabling people to see where data was sourced. However, as some pages are made up of data taken from several different sources, that is not always easy to do without cluttering the page. I therefore compromise which means that, if there are good clues to help you find the source of some data, I may not spell it out on the page. If you wish to check the data, I suggest you adopt the following approach:
1. Find the Main Source(s) identified at the foot of the page. Sources used many times throughout the database are identified in abbreviated form. The abbreviations used are given below. In a few cases I show Main Sources as “various web sites” without identifying them. This means that I have not yet found a reliable source to cover that particular family but, rather than ignore that family, I show the data we have managed to obtain from other web sites which, perhaps because they have not clearly recorded their own sources, have not convinced me that they are fully reliable. Such data should be viewed with caution.
2. Where the data I show is not found in any of the reported Main Sources, see if the relevant data is found in the Main Sources on a connected page. Many sources do not list all of the female family members so I find daughters through the sources used for the families of the spouses who married them. Similarly, some sources do not name younger sons. If a son has only daughters or granddaughters, the identification of that son might be found through one or more of their marriages. Sometimes I have to guess which generation someone belonged to, usually by reference to dates. This is not always easy to do so I will normally highlight where I am not sure. Normally this is done by adding something like “probably of this generation” to evidence that that person was not identified in any of the Main Sources reported on that page but comes from a source on the linked page.
3. The above two steps should normally be enough to enable you to reconstruct a page but sometimes I add in details, sometimes including the names of spouses or children, from the following sources – for peers: ‘The Complete Peerage’; for baronets: ‘The Complete Baronetage’; for MPs: the HoP site mentioned below. If you still cannot check key data to your satisfaction then I suggest that you repeat Step 2 again. Sometimes, albeit not often, information on a family is found in a source used for another family for which the connection is 2 or 3 generations distant.
4. If you find a source that contradicts what I show, before you contact me to point out ‘the error’, see if another relevant source does support what I show. When sources disagree with each other, which happens frequently, I have to decide which source to follow. If I am not sure which is right then I will normally follow one of them but identify also the alternative(s).
The initial core of the Families Database was developed from family records on certain branches of Graham, Meldrum, Carstairs, and associated families. These came as notes in my Grandmother’s old scrapbooks or as handwritten schedules and notebooks, some quite old. Without that start, and some preparatory work by my Father, it would have effectively been impossible to track connections to many families and so the idea of developing the database would never have arisen.
One notebook was found to be a copy of schedules (an original of which was later found in a Library in Edinburgh) that had been prepared by James Balderston in 1832 to track the relationship between my great-great-grandfather Patrick Graham of Robshill and his wife Janet Pollok who had been married the year before. [It turned out that they were 3rd cousins once removed. Click here to see that relationship and some of the other relationships found.] James, a baker in Glasgow, had been asked to look into the matter by his cousin Jean Pollok (nee Coats, mother of the bride). One can imagine him tracking around East Kilbride, Glasgow and the surrounding area in Central Scotland, talking to distant cousins and digging out family bibles into which names had been entered. He pulled together a significant database that showed all the then-known descendants of Patrick Graham, 1st of Lymekilns (1658-c1720), and his wife Margaret Lindsay (1663-1733) who were the common ancestors of Patrick Graham of Robshill and Janet Pollok. Looking through his database, seeing how people of different ambitions and lifestyles were in fact quite closely related even though they probably did not know it, made me realise how quickly genes spread around a community and how inter-connected we all are. This was the inspiration behind my expanding this database beyond the limits of my own ancestors and close relations.
In the point just above, I mention some schedules which enabled me to establish a Core of families for the Families Database. I was also fortunate in inheriting from my father copies of BP1934, BLG1886 and BLG1952. They are now somewhat broken up because of the amount of handling they have suffered but, were it not for them, it is likely that I would never have started working on the Families Database. I was living near Woking at that time and was able to access the Woking Public Library which had a copy of BE1883, whose pages I used to photocopy and take home to work on before I bought a copy on CD.
Apart from the initial sources mentioned above, all of the sources I have used should be findable by others except possibly for some of the following:
– BP1870 (inherited from an aunt in 2004), BP1895 (bought from a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye in late 2012);
– books/booklets that people have kindly sent me on the following families: Cantwell (JR, 2008), Dethick (JD, 2008), Sproule (JS, 2011), Fermor & Petre (BR, 2011);
– various books I found at various public libraries (not least the Mitchell Reference Library in Glasgow) and the Libraries of the Society of Genealogists in London, the Scottish Genealogy Society in Edinburgh, and the Surrey History Centre in Woking;
– various web sites which have since closed or become too hidden to find (see ‘Various web sites’ below).
Most of the larger public libraries in the UK have copies of at least some editions of the various publications by Burke (see below). However, the most valuable source for souces is now the Internet. Many genie sources are now available for free download without strings (e.g. archive.org), others for free viewing (e.g. Google Books), and others for free downloading or viewing subject to an initial subscription whilst others may be purchased (e.g. archive CD project). @@@ I will expand this in due course. @@@
In the 16th and 17th centuries, many of the counties of England were visited by officers of the College of Arms for the purpose of identifying the pedigrees of those entitled to bear arms. [Wikipedia lists them here.] In the 19th-20th centuries, a number of people & institutions (in particular The Harleian and Surtees Societies – see the next tab below) produced books which pulled together one or more of these Visitations. These books are the best sources of early data on many families which died out before the 19th century and provide a useful supplement for many other families. We did not use them much until early 2005 but now view them as amongst our most useful (if not always reliable) sources. For the Visitations we have often, but not exclusively, used a CD of works by The Harleian Society that includes a selection of the Visitations. ** Some of those works include additional information provided by the Harleian editor to extend or correct the Visitation records, in particular: Rylands Additional Berkshire Pedigrees (1908); Campling’s East Anglian Pedigrees (1939), Berry’s Essex Pedigrees (1838), Metcalfe’s Hertfordshire Pedigrees (1886), Maddison’s Lincolnshire Pedigrees (1903-6), Mundy’s Middlesex Pedigrees (edited by Armytage, 1914), King’s Staffordshire Pedigrees (edited by Armytage & Rylands, 1912), Walker’s Yorkshire Pedigrees (1942). Many of the Visitations may be found through a list in the MedieGen site (see Abbreviations below).
** The CD mentioned above was a limited edition produced by Archive CD Books Limited (England) in 2004. We understand that that company has ceased trading but that many of its works are now available through an Irish company that makes various of its publications available through GenFair.
As one may expect, some web sites are brilliant, others are very poor, and there is a full range in-between. Generally I prefer to use books (and CDs of books) as my sources rather than web sites but that is largely because I have linked to sites in the past and then found that they have disappeared off the Internet. When I use data from another web site which impresses me or at least gives some reason to treat it seriously, I am very happy to identify it. However, as mentioned in ‘Checking the data’ above, I sometimes have no option but to use data from web sites which have not impressed me and so I identify that data as from ‘various web sites’.
For a genie site to impress me does not need anything fancy, just some indication of how its genie data was sourced or why it is shown. It is rare that I use data that I have found only in one unimpressive site but when I do I shall normally identify it as speculative.
I have used the folllowing CountyGen volumes so far. They are compilations of (untitled) pedigrees in ‘drop down’ format and are based on the Visitations and other records.
(1) ‘County Genealogies – Pedigrees of the Families in the County of Kent by William Berry (1830). [I have only extracts of this book. More can be found online.]
(2) ‘County Genealogies – Pedigrees of the Families in the County of Sussex’ by William Berry (1830).
(3) ‘County Genealogies – Pedigrees of Hertfordshire Families’ by William Berry.
(4) ‘County Genealogies – Pedigrees of Berkshire Families by William Berry (1837). [I have only extracts of this book. More can be found online.]
(5) ‘County Genealogies – Pedigrees of Hampshire Families’ by William Berry (1833).
– “The Red Book of Perthshire” (published 2006, ISBN 0-954-562-828)
– “The Red Book of Fife” (coming soon?)
MacGregor’s work is easy to use, appears to have been well researched, and could well become ‘a standard’ for many county families. It appears that Angus & Clackmannanshire will follow Fife. [We may be out-of-date on this for we first accessed his work when his site was a .com and did not require a subscription but later it became a .net which did require a subscription but it seems to have gone to being a .co.uk without requiring a subscription. We wish MacGregor well with his impressive venture.]