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.
Regarding my ongoing search for new sources, see here.


My aim is to identify my sources sufficiently well so that, should you obtain copies of those same sources, you could reproduce the relevant page to be substantially the same as what I show – normally exactly the same, possibly apart from the odd date or other detail found elsewhere and perhaps the occasional difference in interpretation or reliance between different sources.
I am trying to develop the Families Database with the most reliable sources available. However, I know that some of the sources I have used are not fully reliable and, for several families, I suspect that I have yet to find & use the best available source. From this I accept that, though I do believe that there are few other databases around for which such effort has been taken to ensure that the data is as valid as possible, some of the data in my database are likely to be wrong. Sadly, this is unavoidable. If I was not to include a datum unless it had been reliably verified & confirmed, I would never be able to develop this type of database – nor would anyone else. Be assured that, subject to the constraints of our available resources (which are limited), I am doing the best I can to ensure the validity of the information shown.
Month by month, year by year, I am steadily improving the database partly through my own efforts and partly through the support provided by a wide range of people who are working (informally) with me to reduce the number of errors & inconsistencies given in our sources. Some of these errors & inconsistencies have been around for centuries, and many are still being propagated today, so even with the help of others it will take time for me to identify & correct them. There are some excellent sites which focus on particular regions of the country, or which specialise on particular periods, but, to my knowledge, my database is one of only a few online ‘broad range targeting’ databases which offers people this kind of involvement in improving not just the quantity of the genie data available online but also the quality.
Should you find information in the database which you ‘know’ is incorrect, please advise me of your suggested corrections by e-mail, giving your reasons for why you disagree with what I have shown and identifying your sources. I am always open to suggestions on how I may improve the reliability of the database even though, as advised on Contact us, I am not always as quick as I perhaps should be on responding. For some families in particular we actively seek assistance – see Draft & Temporary Pages – Can You Help?
There are a number of ‘genie traps’ around, often instigated many years ago and repeated so often that they are repeated in many sources. However, that does not make them true. Click here for a page on some of the most famous traps / howlers / challenges that haunt many genealogical databases. If you find that I have missed any, please do let me know. Identifying & correcting such errors was and remains one of the key reasons why I work on the Families Database.


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).


The most valuable source for genie data is now the Internet. Stirnet is just one of several available sites for general research (possibly the best one?!) whilst there are hundreds if not thousands of sites that focus on particular families. Many genie books are available for free download without strings (e.g., 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 through specialist book sites. Many of the larger public libraries in the UK have a section focused on genealogy and hold copies of one or more of Burke’s various publications as do many book shops.

The relevance to this site of the various works by the various forms that Burke (in the various forms it has taken over the years) can be seen by the fact that, in the Abbreviations list below, the following came from Burke: BCG, BE****, BEB***, BIFR1976, BLG****, BP****, BPG****& Commoners. These works vary as to their reliability but, for many families, Burke’s publications provide the only source of genie data still available. Remember that, probably with some exceptions (particularly for BP), most of the information shown in these books was obtained by the editor/publisher from the families involved and so is variable in its reliability. [See here for an example of how one family changed its published information as it carried out further research.] Families placed entries into some editions but not others. Families also ‘died out’ which sometimes makes the early editions (particularly of BLG) the only places where one can track them with any ease. Sometimes, the early editions provide more detail on certain generations than do the later editions (because the information on those generations is scaled down to provide more room for later ones); for other families it is the other way round (showing the fruits of additional research). You can buy copies of the latest editions through or look at them online through that site for an annual subscription fee. To find earlier editions, see the ‘Availability of sources’ tab just above.

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.

The Harleian Society (formed in 1869 :, The Surtees Society (formed in 1834 : and The Chetham Society (formed in 1843 : are venerable organisations in the world of Genealogy. Whilst The Surtees & Chetham Societies focus on particular regions of the country (Durham & Northumberland and Lancashire & Cheshire respectively) and cover a wide range of matters of historical interest, The Harleian Society focuses on the Visitations of the Heralds across England & Wales.
For some sources – I am thinking here in particular but not exclusively of the various publications by Burke (see above) – it is clear that different editions should be viewed as distinct from each other. However, sometimes a work was found to be popular and was rereleased at different times by different people. This can make it difficult to identify which edition/publication is being referred to when the source is referred to in a general rather than a specific way. @@@ I will expand this in due course. @@@

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.

In my book, “Familial But Unfamiliar Roots”, I thank various members of my (extended) family, and a few others, for their help and co-operation in lending me books, keeping me advised of changes to their own families, etc.. I thank them again but spare them from being named here. I want here to acknowledge the work of other people whom I do not know, and will probably never meet, but who have inspired me to take to the Internet to share with others the information I/we have found. In some cases, their sites have given us leads which we had not found elsewhere (where this happens, this is recorded on the relevant Family List). [PCBG, June 2002]


ABBREVIATIONS USED is a most interesting facility to share research & data online, not least through its RootsWeb community. There is a huge amount of data there but I do not use it as a standard source as I have obtained the impression that many of its contributors are not good at identifying their sources or in giving due care to checking their data. [It is one of those sites where a source can be identified but, when you check back to that source, the data is simply not there.] However, I have come across many exceptions as some of its contributors are worthy of praise. When that is the case, I am happy to identify the source. Otherwise, it is often one of the ‘various web sites’ I have seen providing data on a family which I could not otherwise cover properly.
‘Archaeologia Cambrensis’, the Journal of the Cambrian Archaeological Association. Much useful research into many Welsh families, published 1846-1899. Found online in both The National Library of Wales and We did not start using it until 2020.
‘Burke’s Colonial Gentry’, being ‘A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Colonial Gentry’. Published in 2 volumes, the first in 1891 and the second in 1895, this is another useful publication by the House of Burke. It is often one of the few available sources on British/Irish families which produced a branch that emigrated and produced someone ‘of note’. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
‘Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire’. The 1883 edition is the one we have used most. It proved particularly useful when we started the database although we have learned not to rely on it completely as it appears to be at least partly responsible for the propagation of several genealogy howlers. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
‘Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies’ by Burke, using the 2nd edition either in its 1841 version or its 1844 version. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
‘Burke’s Family Records’, the impressive 2-volume collection of pedigrees pulled together by Ashworth P. Burke in 1897.
‘British History Online’, the very impressive wide-ranging site at which provides many fascinating records. It includes, amongst many other things, many of the publications produced by ‘Victoria County History’ – see VCH below. We were slow to recognise the worth of this site but began to do so in early 2008 and now view it as an excellent source.
Burke’s Irish Family Records (1976). This was (in effect) ‘BLGI1976’ but Burke’s chose to title this edition differently. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
‘Burke’s Landed Gentry’, or more fully: ‘Burke’s Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry’, mainly using the 7th Edition (by Sir Bernard Burke in 1886) and the 17th Edition (published by Burke’s Peerage Ltd in 1952). We have also used BLGI1912, focused on families in Ireland. ‘Commoners’ (see below) was a forerunner of this series. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
‘Burke’s Peerage’, or more fully: ‘A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage’, intially by Sir Bernard Burke, mainly the 92nd edition (published by Burke’s Peerage Ltd in 1934) but also other editions such as the 32nd edition (published in 1870) and, since the end of 2012, the 57th edition (published in 1895). Possibly the best known (in Britain) of all sources of genealogical data. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
Some of Burke’s recent productions cover both titled families and Landed Gentry. BPGN2001, BPGS2001, BPGW2001 & BPGY2001 cover the North West of England (plus the Isle of Man), Scotland, Wales & Yorkshire respectively. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]
‘The Peerage of England’ by Arthur Collins (2nd edition, 1741), in 4 volumes, covering all titles extant at that time. An extended and updated edition by Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges was released in 1812. Copies of some if not all of the volumes are held in many of the larger public libraries in the UK. This is well respected although the early generations reported for some families merit quite a bit of caution. We did not use it regularly until late 2004 but now view it as very useful.
Burke’s ‘History of the Commoners’, in 4 volumes (vols i & ii published in 1836, vols iii & iv in 1838). An excellent source on many families, ‘Commoners’ appears to have been the forerunner to Burke’s Landed Gentry (see BLG*** above) and offers the same key advantage and disadvantage, ie. it can be the only place to find information on a particular family but it is of variable (albeit normally good) reliability. [See the ‘Burke’s publications’ note above.]

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).
(6) ‘County Genealogies – Pedigrees of Buckinghamshire Families’ by William Berry (1837)

‘A General Description of the Shire of Renfrew …. (and) a Genealogical History of the Royal House of Stewart’ by George Crawfurd (published in 1710) ‘and Continued to the Present Period’ by George Robertson, published in Paisley, 1818. This is a well known book by a well known author. I am fortunate to have inherited not 1 but 2 copies of this interesting work.
‘Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica’. Originally published as a quarterly magazine, as its title suggests CTG contains articles on a diverse range of subjects. The magazines were collated into 8 volumes, published from 1834 to 1843, now available on CDs. We started using it in 2009. Our first impressions have all been positive.
Debrett’s ‘Baronetage of England’, mainly using the 7th (1839) edition by William Courthope but sometimes using the 5th (1824) or other editions. This focuses only on baronets but often provides names of daughters & younger sons. A copy is available on Google Books. We did not start using this until late 2008 but now view it as very useful for many baronets.
‘The History, Gazetteer, and Directory, of the County of Derby …’, by Stephen Glover (compiler & publisher) and Thomas Noble (editor), 1829. Available through, this provides a number of interesting pedigrees of Derbyshire families.
‘The Dictionary of National Biography’. First published in 1885, with occasional updates thenafter, this has become a standard work of reference on a wide range of British public figures. In 2004 an updated/extended version was published by Oxford University Press, known initially as ‘The New Dictionary of National Biography’ and then as ‘The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’ (sometimes abbreviated as “ODNB”). The online version may be found at
‘Fife: Pictorial and Historical. Its People, Burghs, Castles, and Mansions’ by A.H. Millar (printed and published in 2 volumes in 1895 by A. Westwood & Son, Cupar). This is a rare book. I was fortunate to inherit a copy in 2004.
‘Familiae Minorum Gentium’, a collection of genealogical papers produced by Rev. Joseph Hunter (1788-1861) on families mainly but not exclusively from Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Lancashire. Published in 4 volumes in 1894-6 by The Harleian Society (see note above), with a Continuation (mainly on Yorkshire) called ‘Hunter’s Pedigrees’ published in 1936, this is an excellent source on a range of families not easily found elsewhere.
The Community Trees project at is being developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (‘the Mormons’), apparently to replace the IGI (see that tab). It appears to be more reliable than the IGI, not least because it identifies its sources at least some of which are known to us, some of which we would like to have access to ourselves!
‘Genealogy.EU’. This is a fantastic web site for research into the Royal & Noble Houses of Continental Europe. Although other web sites have been very useful for a few particular families, this was the first web site we used as the basis for our records of several different families. As it is set out in a similar way to that used in this site, we have found it particularly easy to follow. We have often used it for those generations of Continental families that we have found to be relevant to the British families that we have tracked. ‘Genealogy.EU’ also includes many other Continental families and, for those that we have shown, often shows more recent generations than we have covered. Purists who dislike the occasional anglicisation of names that we have sometimes used in our site should note that ‘Genealogy.EU’ appears to be more precise than we are. Many congratulations and thanks to Miroslav Marek for his work on the site which may be found at
‘Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families’ by John Edwards Griffith (1914). This work is well known & well respected. I obtained a copy (on CD) in 09.2009. It may not be perfect (what is?) but it provides excellent support for any investigation of families from North Wales.
‘The Herald and Genealogist’ was originally a quarterly journal (priced Two Shillings and Sixpence, not a trivial amount in the 1860s) and is believed to be the precursor to the current magazine, The Genealogist. The journals were collected together and published in 8 volumes, from 1863 to 1874. We did not start using them until October 2020 but quickly found that they contain some ‘genie gems’.
At the beginning of the 20th century, George Harvey-Johnston, a well-known Scottish writer on heraldry, produced a series of books on selected Scottish families with titles starting ‘Heraldry of the …’. Apart from their interest in showing how coats of arms were differenced, they are very useful for confirming how various branches of the families interconnected and sometimes name generations not easily found elsewhere. Their reliability appears to be good, albeit certainly not perfect. Their main weakness, from a genie researcher’s point of view, is that it is very rare that they show any daughters. The familes covered were the Johnstons (1905), Stewarts (1906), Douglases (1908), Hamiltons (1909), Murrays (1910) & Campbells (1920 & 1921). shows the interesting family tree prepared by Jacob Holdt. For it to be of any use for genie research you need first to identify a common ancestor (and bookmark the relevant page) but thereafter it can help you find many ancestral descents not easily found elsewhere. I have used it only for some pages in the ‘Ancient & Mythical’ section.
‘The History of Parliament’. Since c2011, this web site has become very useful for Members of Parliament and their immediate families as more & more information is added to it and as some of our correspondents have become increasingly good at digging out information from it. As many landowners were Members of Parliament, and as this site appears to have information about the lives of MPs that is not easily found elsewhere (often, albeit not always, providing useful genealogical data about the MPs’ families), this site can provide connections that are not easily found elsewhere. It may be found at
The International Genealogy Index, at, prepared by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (‘the Mormons’). I do not use this enormous database as one of my standard sources as, fairly or not, I have received the impression that it can be overly presumptuous with its identifications & connections, particularly for people in Renaissance and earlier periods. However, I sometimes receive suggestions and comments from this site’s visitors that refer to the IGI and regarding which I think it would be foolish of me to ignore. Except when it is just one of the ‘various web sites’ used to source data, done only rarely, I make it clear where any data is sourced from the IGI. [The IGI has been superseded by FSCOMT (see that tab) but this note has been left largely unchanged because the IGI has been referred to several times in our database.]
‘The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham’ was released by George Lipscomb in 4 volumes in 1847. These impressive works, which must have taken many years of careful research, are the definitive works on Buckinghamshire to that date. They include many pedigrees that have been found to be very useful for this site.
Lodge’s ‘The Peerage of Ireland’ is thought by some to have been the first reliable record on many of the early Irish peers, John Lodge’s initial 2 volumes in 1754 were edited & added to by Rev. Mervyn Archdall later that century to produce 7 volumes which are still viewed as amongst the ‘must have’ for Irish genealogists (though we did not start using them regularly until late 2009). In a world where, increasingly, people call themselves ‘expert’ just because they managed to pass a trivial course, it is refreshing to come across a site by a self-professed ‘amateur’ that is so professional in its approach and makes so much knowledge and expertise accessible to many. It even provides some corrections and additions to TCP (‘The Complete Peerage’). The existence of this site makes it unnecessary for us to do many things that we were considering for the future. Thanks and congratulations to Chris Phillips for a most interesting site that must have taken years to develop.
‘Macfarlane’s Genealogical Collections’. I use the 2-volume 1900 edition, edited by James Toshach Clark, based on ‘Genealogical Collections concerning families in Scotland by Walter Macfarlane 1750-1751’. I had seen volume 2 in 2 different libraries in the past but did not obtain copies of these useful volumes ‘properly’ until March 2014. They do contain some reports of the origins of families that I view as probably ‘mythical’ but they also provide information from the 15th to early 18th centuries that I have not been able to find elsewhere.
‘Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica’. This is a respected source which I had used only occasionally for 10 years or so until November 2020 when I started using it regularly. There was a well known quarterly periodical of the name that was started in 1866 by Joseph Jackson Howard. He died in 1902 when editorship was taken over first by W. Bruce Bannerman and then by AW Hughes-Clarke. It ceased in 1938. The books we refer to were compilations of these periodicals. The first one, ‘Volume 1’, was released in 1868. It appears (for I have yet to find a reliable report on what actually happened) that he started again in 1874 when a new but different ‘Volume 1’ was released. That was followed by regular releases of volumes, gathered into Series. After a few years, these all became known as ‘The New Series’. There were 5 of these ‘New Series’ which, since November 2020, I have referred to as NS1 (1874-1884, 4 volumes), NS2 (1886-1894, 5 volumes), NS3 (1896-1904, 5 volumes), NS4 (1906-1914, 5 volumes), and NS5 (1916-1938, 10 volumes).
‘NisbetPlates’. ‘Alexander Nisbet’s Heraldic Plates with introduction & notes’ by Andrew Ross & Francis Grant (1892) adds useful genealogical data on Scottish families covered by ‘A System of Heraldry’ by Alexander Nisbet (1816) . We did not find this until early January 2015 but expect to make good use of it over the years.
‘OHart’. The first edition of John O’Hart’s work on ‘Irish Pedigrees or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation’ was published in 1876. We use the 5th edition of that work which was released in 2 volumes in 1892. [Reference: OHart (vol 1/2, …)] We also use O’Hart’s ‘Irish Landed Gentry (Irish and Anglo-Irish Pedigrees)’ which was released in 1884. [Reference: OHart (ILG1884, …)] O’Hart appears to have obtained a reputation for being reasonably reliable from the 17th century onwards but was perhaps over-supportive of Ireland’s early mythical pedigrees.
‘The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester’, often referred to as ‘History of Cheshire’, by George Ormerod (first published 1819, in 3 volumes; a later edition was published in 1882). This work is well known & well respected but we were slow to use it regularly, not doing so until early 2011. Where no date is given it will be the 1819 edition that we have used.
‘History of the County of Ayr with a Genealogical Account of the Families of Ayrshire’ by James Paterson (volume 1 in 1847, volume 2 in 1852). This is now available on Google Books.
Quite a number of genie works have ‘Pedigrees’ in their title. The following are all based on Visitations and so, for more information on them, see under Visitation below/above: Armytage, Berry, Campling, King, Maddison, Metcalfe, Mundy, Rylands, Walker. The main other one I have used is ‘Griffith’s Pedigrees’ which is dealt with under Griffith above. is a web site used by Gordon MacGregor to support the publications of his genealogical & historical research into a large number of Scottish families.
– “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 without requiring a subscription. We wish MacGregor well with his impressive venture.]
‘The Record of the House of Gournay’ by Daniel Gurney came in 3 volumes: Volume 1 (1845, Part 1, pp1-274), Volume 2 (1848, Parts 2-4 with appendices, pp 275-724) & Supplement (1858, pp725-1096). These not only act as the definitive works on the Gournay/Gurney families but also provide useful pedigrees on several other families. Copies of these books may be found at
‘Mansions and Manors of Herefordshire’ by Rev. Charles John Robinson (1872). Our early use of this interesting book came from being sent, by one of our Members, copies of many of its interesting pedigrees. In July 2015 we obtained (on CD) our own copy of the 2001 edition of the book.
‘Royal and Noble Genealogical Data on the Web’ ( – for a huge well-known database. The site contains several links to other sites of interest. Congratulations to Brian Tompsett and his team at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hull. click here for shortcut to Master Index
‘Royal Genealogies. The genealogical tales of emperors, kings and princes from Adam to these times.’ by James Anderson, 1736. This is a rare book. It has been used for various of the early Royal & Noble Houses of Continental Europe. It was found by chance, hidden in a public library (we won’t say which as it shouldn’t be handled too much), and helped us expand our database to before medieval times. Although its reliability is highly questionable, as some of its data is clearly mythical (it is where we found our first descent from Adam and Eve), much of its post-1100AD data has been found to be supported by other sources.
‘The Topographer and Genealogist’. 3 volumes, edited by John Gough Nichols, issued in 1846 + 1853 + 1858, which acted like a sequel to CTG which is mentioned above. Copies were not downloaded (from until August 2016.
‘The Complete Baronetage’, edited by G.E. Cokayne. Copies of this are held in many of the larger public libraries in the UK., either in its original version in 4 volumes or in the modern version in one volume (4 original pages to a page, published by Alan Sutton Publishing in 1983, ISBN 0-86299-004-1). We view this as a very reliable source.
‘The Complete Peerage’ (or ‘A History of the House of Lords and all its Members from the Earliest Times’); based on work by George Edward Cokayne (Clarenceux King of Arms, died 1911) and published in 12 volumes from 1910 to 1959 (volume XII in two parts) by The St. Catherine Press; each volume was edited by one or more of Vicary Gibbs, HA Doubleday, Lord Howard de Walton, Geoffrey H. White and R.S. Lea; volume XIII was added in 1940 for new creations from 1901 to 1938; a volume XIV was created in 1998 for “addenda and corrigenda”. Copies of some if not all of the volumes are held in many of the larger public libraries in the UK. This is particularly highly respected and has been widely used as a data source for genealogy-based web sites. We view it as one of our most reliable sources.
‘The Scots Peerage’, founded on Wood’s Edition of Sir Robert Douglas’s ‘Peerage of Scotland’. Edited by Sir James Balfour Paul. Published 1908. This comes in many volumes. You can find copies of them in many good libraries in the UK, particularly in Scotland, although not all of them have a full set. Alternatively, you can buy a copy of the set, in PDF, on a CD from The Scottish Genealogy Society ( This is a fantastic source of the kinds of snippets of information that make History more personal and more interesting. is an excellent well-presented site with a large and most useful database that needs only more information on its sources to make it truly formidabale. Although the number of incomplete links can be disappointing, this may simply be a sign that the site is still under development. Congratulations to Jorge Castelli and his team for their excellent work.
‘Victoria County History’ provides an encyclopaedic record of many parts of England. It was started in 1899 and is still being developed today. Many of its records can be accessed through BHO (see above) but it has its own site at
The Visitations of the Heralds. See the information given in the relevant tab above. If the Visitation reference is given as just ‘Visitation (county, year(s), family)’ then it was one of the Harleian Society works covered by the CD mentioned above. Other Visitations are normally identified using the format ‘Visitation (editor and/or original herald, county, year(s), family)’, often with the year of the publication given in brackets after the editor.
‘Welsh Biography Online’, at, is produced by The National Library of Wales and reports various publications by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion on people & places in Wales. It provides many useful connections and helps to clarify some of the confusion caused by the lack of use of family names in Wales in early times.
‘The history of modern Wiltshire’, which can be found at FSCOMT, is a great work that is key reading for anyone interested in the history of that county. The whole work is attributed to Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart, even though parts of it were produced by other people. There are 6 volumes, dated 1822 to 1843, some of which are in more than one part (for different Hundreds) which can cause confusion because the page numberings restart with each part. We normally give 2 page numberings, the first the one recorded in the book, the second being the reference given by FSCOMT. Whilst the whole work focuses on Wiltshire, there are several pedigrees that deal with the ancestors of Wiltshire families who lived elsewhere.
‘Baronetage of England’ by Thomas Wotton. This came in several volumes, the last being published in 1741. They were extended by Edward Kimber & Richard Johnson later in the 18th century. This focuses only on baronets but normally provides details on daughters & younger sons. Copies of some of the volumes are available on Google Books. We did not start using these until late 2008 but now view them as very useful for the early baronets.