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.
‘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’.
‘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.
‘Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies’ by Burke, using the 2nd edition either in its 1841 version or its 1844 version. Copies of at least one edition are held in many of the larger public libraries in the UK.
‘British History Online’, the very impressive wide-ranging site at www.british-history.ac.uk
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.
‘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. @@@ I will expand this in due course. @@@
‘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. @@@ I will expand this in due course. @@@
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.
‘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.
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).
‘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 archive.org, 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 oxforddnb.com
‘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 (relatively new) Community Trees project at histfam.familysearch.org
is being developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (‘the Mormons’), possibly to replace the IGI (see above). 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 genealogy.euweb.cz
‘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.
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, Stewarts, Douglases, Hamiltons, Murrays & Campbells.
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 becoming increasingly useful or 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 www.historyofparliamentonline.org
The International Genealogy Index, at www.familysearch.org
, 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. See also FSCOM above.
‘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’. I have still not yet fully investigated this respected source. Its volumes collate the periodical started in 1866 by Joseph Jackson Howard. He died in 1902 when editorship was taken over by W. Bruce Bannerman then AW Hughes-Clarke. It ceased in 1938. It seems that there were 6 series but, confusingly, they were not numbered until the 3rd which was called the 2nd series (the very first being unnumbered, whilst the next was called “the New Series”). I call them Series 0 (2 volumes) then 1 (4 volumes), 2 (5 volumes), 3 (5 volumes), 4 (5 volumes), and 5 (10 volumes) but please note that, at least until I have got to know these volumes properly, it is possible that I can be misled as to which is which!
‘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 .co.uk 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 archive.org.
‘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 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 archive.org) 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 (www.scotsgenealogy.com
). 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 www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk
See the information above. Except for the Pedigrees referred to above, we normally identify Visitations with the format ‘Visitation (editor or publisher & year, county, year(s) of the visitation(s), family)’, sometimes with the name of the original leading compiler given just before the year of the visitation. If the editor/publisher & year is omitted then the source was one of the works by The Harleian Society. @@@ I will expand this in due course. @@@
‘Welsh Biography Online’, at http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en
, 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.
‘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.