Why Are You Into Medieval Genealogy?

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Peter D. A. Warwick

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May 16, 2020, 9:01:32 AM5/16/20
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I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

Ian Goddard

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May 16, 2020, 5:53:06 PM5/16/20
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On 16/05/2020 14:01, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy

In my case my ancestors, as fas as I can trace them by the conventional
means of parish registers etc. not only lived for many generations in
and around where I was born and grew up. they also had surnames which go
back to medieval times. Establishing the latter is greatly assisted by
the published volumes of the Wakefield manorial court rolls. What's
more several surnames are derived from local place names.

From my living room window I can look out to what's believed to be the
location that gave its name to the Littlewood family by the late C13th.
My most recent male Littlewood died falling from his horse crossing "the
water above Hinchliffe Moor". On a normal Saturday evening I'd probably
have driven across the same water to get a takeaway. We don't quite
know where Hinchliffe was but can pin it down to within a few hundred
yards; the de Hinchliffes (to use modern spelling) were first mentioned
in the early C14th.

If I were to drive on past the usual takeaway restaurant I could make my
way to Crosland Edge which seems to have been the site of the original
hermitage which gave rise to the Armitage surname (although by the time
it did the name seems to have been transferred to an associated site a
short distance away). Crosland also gave rise to a surname.

Before crossing the stream where Richard Littlewood died I'd have passed
Broadhead Edge but I suspect that one was named after the family but had
I turned right just after crossing that stream I'd have come into the
village of Upperthong and the house occupying the spot which I suspect
was the original Broadhead location.

My own surname is a patronym for which there seem to be multiple origins
but the most likely is the one which came into existence in Cowick from
the other side of the West Riding in the late C13th with a branch
transplanted somewhat closer to here by 1422.

Bridging the gap between myself and these, and other well-documented
medievals, is tricky. I've tentatively done it for one of my many Kaye
lines but otherwise Tudor is the bast I can manage.

taf

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May 16, 2020, 7:11:41 PM5/16/20
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On Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 6:01:32 AM UTC-7, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it?

I got into it as part of a growing interest in genealogy as a whole, but in a small town too far away from where most of my family came, and in a time when there was just one local computer and it used punch cards, so the only ancestors I could research were those prominent enough to be mentioned in encyclopedias and historical sources in the local small-college library, the medieval kings and counts and earls, not the more recent dirt farmers.

taf

Peter Stewart

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May 17, 2020, 3:50:33 AM5/17/20
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On 16-May-20 11:01 PM, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.
>

My interest in genealogy has never been professional. I suppose it
started when I learned as a child that the one of my four grandparents
whose ancestry was unknown to me had been born with a German surname.
This had been changed during World War I, but since I was born in the
historical penumbra of World War II - not long after the German people
had been visiting woeful havoc on humankind - the discovery was
unsettling. I didn't pursue this line of inquiry then, or indeed at all
until recently.

My interest in earlier genealogy began at 13 when a schoolmaster drew up
an elaborate chart of Louis XIV's family connections on a blackboard. I
was amazed at how much detail he compressed into this, by coded
underlinings in coloured chalks, and fascinated when he challenged the
class to find out how closely each of us might be related to any of the
people shown. Then he tasked those who were relatives to find out if we
were more closely linked by blood to Henry VIII or to Catherine of
Aragon, with some surprising results. My attention since then has been
gradually drawn back in time, mainly to the period from ca 750 to ca
1250 in continental Europe, as I got thoroughly bored with English
history that turned out to be far less interesting than it had seemed
from Shakespeare's plays.

Peter Stewart

Peter Howarth

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May 17, 2020, 6:31:06 AM5/17/20
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On Saturday, 16 May 2020 14:01:32 UTC+1, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

I was given Anthony Wagner's 'Heraldry in England' for my ninth birthday. One of the colour plates is a tree of the Beauchamp family with all their differenced coats of arms set out, with sources for each one and blank shields where evidence was missing. When eventually my interest in heraldry settled on the mediaeval period, Wagner's method seemed the natural way of approaching it. Manual diagrams on multiple sheets of paper limited my progress until the arrival of personal computers and HTML transformed my research into a private wiki with easily followed connections. However, neither heraldry nor genealogy have acted completely as ends in themselves; for me, they are specialist tools in the study of social history.

I never met any of my great-grandparents, so I've never had any interest in researching them.

Peter Howarth

Girl57

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May 17, 2020, 10:29:19 AM5/17/20
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Peter, I live in United States and have often wondered what it's like to live in/near the same place where one's family goes back so far. I'm jealous! The best I can do here is to visit "old" (hah!) sites in Virginia where my ancestors lived in 18th century, and find land records and wills.

I am lucky enough to one have one line in Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire -- FitzRandolph -- that I traced from myself back to 17th century in New England and then back to Old Country, back to 1580s or so. Dying to visit. Also have German ancestors traced back from myself to Muenster and to Dorsten, in Rheinland-Westfalen, to 17th century. I'm going to get there.

Also feel that genealogy makes history come alive, and I, too, have loved this since childhood.

Girl57

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May 17, 2020, 10:38:18 AM5/17/20
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Peter, I tend to jump all over the place when it comes to my personal genealogical research. I am in United States. Started 10 years after my unstable grandmother (who had been traumatized heavily as a child -- and who died w/o telling us anything about her origins) passed away. She affected my life so profoundly that I HAD to find out what happened. I did, and it wasn't pretty...Very poor, large family in upper Midwest in 1920s. Went back from there to Northern Ireland and Wales in 19th century, and way back into French Canada, to France. Now, am studying English ancestors back into 16th century in Nottingham and Yorkshire. Also now am researching German ancestors in Nordrhein-Westfalen into 17th century (parish registers only...simple folk). Absolutely love it. Am trying to learn more about true medieval times, back past early modern.

Richard Smith

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May 17, 2020, 11:05:37 AM5/17/20
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A long reply, but perhaps of interest to some ...

I became interested in my own genealogy as a child. When I was seven,
my grandfather had a big 80th birthday party which about 60 relatives
attended. I couldn't understand how he could have so many relatives and
my mother drew me a basic family tree showing one set of great
grandparents and all their descendants. Sadly I've no longer have this
tree, but it seemed a really good way of presenting the information and
helped my understand why some of my second cousins – people on my
generation – had grandchildren who were older than me.
By the time I was into my teens, even though I knew I wanted a career in
science, history was one of the favourite subjects as school, but our
syllabus focused exclusively on 20th century history – basically from
the Boer War to the Vietnam War. My final two years at school were
mostly spent in hospital, and with very few things to occupy my time, I
read a huge amount on all sorts of subjects, including a lot on
mediaeval European history. I found the royal family trees in these
fascinating, and in particular how they were often very different to my
own due to the inbreeding and intermarrying in so many of these families.

As my research into own family history progressed, I found myself
frustrated that increasingly many people were just names on pages.
Thinking back to the tree my mother made me when I was seven, most of
them were people I had met, and even those who had died before I was
born, I felt I knew indirectly because I'd heard so much about them.
Going back one more generation, that remained true because I had been
very close to my grandfather and he had told me lots stories from his
childhood. It was also true of the mediaeval lines I saw in history
books as these were frequently important historical figures, and when I
was at university with one of the UK's copyright libraries so close that
it blocked the evening sun from my first year rooms, I largely switched
my focus to royal genealogy rather than my own, and tended to prefer the
late mediaeval period in Western Europe.

I got back into my own genealogy some years after graduating when the
Internet started to become a useful research tool and when I had the
money to travel to record offices or order records by post more often.
With more censuses coming available and being more able to find family
wills, I started to build a greater understanding of more of earlier
relatives. But even today, it's really only the generations born in the
last 225 years where I can normally find even most basic biographic
details such as their occupations. Further back, that's true in only a
minority of cases, but it is this minority that interests me. Perhaps
that means I'm a family historian more than a genealogist – certainly
that's a distinction I've heard others make, though I don't really
recognise it myself.

The lines where I have more than just names back into the 18th century
tended to be those families that seemed to be of a slightly higher
social class – they were the yeoman farmers rather than the labourers,
with very occasionally someone somewhat optimistically calling himself a
gentleman. Getting such lines back to late Elizabethan times never
seemed difficult, and with wills, inventories and manorial records, I
felt I knew a little bit about these people. But for a decade or more,
I could never get back beyond the late Elizabethan period. This
coincided with time when I had lots of other things going on and
genealogy – whether my own or otherwise – increasingly took a back seat.

My interest in my own genealogy was rekindled when I got an email from
someone with what purported a line back from one of my ancestors back to
one of the Plantagenet kings. I forget which now. It didn't take long
to see that the early generations which gave rise to the Plantagenet
descent were abject nonsense, stitching together three or four different
families which happened to have similar names. But the most recent
generations matched what I knew and seemed plausible for at least a few
more generations further, so I researched them further to see where the
truth ended and the nonsense began. The answer was again late
Elizabethan times. But this time the family seemed to be on a slightly
higher rung of the social ladder. In the late 17th and early 18th
centuries they were fairly consistently being described as gentry, and
their names appeared in Chancery proceedings which were a new source to me.

For several years this branch of my family became my primary focus of
research and I hoped I might finally have a line where I could get back
to the early 16th century with more than just bare names and dates. By
now, the Internet Archive were putting lots of Victorian books online,
including many of published visitations, and one of these included the
early generations of the family I was looking at. In one generation it
had a man who I thought might be my ancestor marrying the illegitimate
daughter of a 15th century knight in the next county. That knight
appeared on Genealogics which gave him a descent from Henry III. In
setting out to disprove one Plantagenet descent I inadvertently found
another one, albeit as yet tentative. There were still two links in the
early 17th century that, while likely, I did not consider to be proven
satisfactorily, and I knew enough not to trust the visitation pedigree
without further corroboration. I also wanted to verify the steps in
Leo's database.

Over time I managed to prove each step of this descent to my
satisfaction, and I wrote it up to be serialised in my local
genealogical society's journal. The final part of the line to Henry III
involved various members of the nobility, and in writing that bit up, I
concluded I wasn't actually very interested in them. It seemed to me
there probably wasn't a whole lot more to find out about a 13th or 14th
century earl, and if there was, I was probably not well equipped to do
it. I'd followed this group for long enough to be frustrated by the
frequent posts from people seeking to fill a gap by over-interpreting a
few scant pieces of evidence – essentially refusing to accept that
something might have to remain unknown unless some new source is found –
and didn't want to add myself to that number.

But I had enjoyed researching the family of the 15th century knight, and
more importantly, I felt I had discovered details about his family that
I had not seen elsewhere. Moreover, a lot of what can be found on the
internet about his paternal ancestry is total garbage, deriving from the
fantasies of a American genealogist named John Cox Underwood a little
over a century ago. His concocted agnatic ancestry included a passenger
on Mayflower, a cleric burnt at the stake during Queen Mary's reign, and
some of the Norman Counts of Sicily; on the way, it included parts of
the family I had been researching. Needless so say, in the Internet has
not improved things, with one of the more credulous websites extending
the direct paternal line back to a frost giant from Norse mythology,
said to be a 2nd century king in what is now Finland.

Putting Norse mythology aside, I initially assumed this line was
probably mostly accurate but with one or two breaks where two people
with similar names had been conflated. This turned out not to be the
case. Of the nine generations spanning the 14th to 16th centuries, I
think three were entirely invented by Underwood, one was invented a few
centuries earlier, and two more are confused amalgams of two or three
people; just three were real people, though their details are often
wrong. In total, I think at six different families have been conflated
in just these generations. I've spent a lot of time researching these
families, trying to assess the evidence objectively, long after it was
clear that they were not related to me. That, for me, was the
transition when my interest in mediaeval genealogy turned into active
research into families other than my own.

Since then, I haven't abandoned my own more recent family tree, but my
mediaeval research has focused almost exclusively on non-relatives or
people who are at most very distantly related to me. This has
principally been into the knightly families of Hampshire, Wiltshire and
Dorset in the last century or two of the mediaeval period, extending
into Tudor period. It may not sound as exciting as the earlier periods
that I know many of the contributors to this group enjoy, but it's a
period and area I feel I understand moderately well. Many of these
families have a low enough profile that they've not been researched in
any real depth in recent decades, so there's scope to make new
discoveries and correct mistakes in the current understanding, even with
the time and skills I have. I've enjoyed researching these families at
least as much my research into my own family, though I do admit to
getting a little bit of satisfaction when I discover an unexpected
connection to my own families.

Richard

riemorese...@gmail.com

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May 17, 2020, 2:49:48 PM5/17/20
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On Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 9:01:32 AM UTC-4, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

When I was seven, my maternal grandfather took me to Washington Crossing State Park in eastern Pennsylvania. He tried to find the connection between his grandfather - the earliest ancestor he knew - and a soldier of the Revolution. He failed and died the following year.
As a teenager, I continued his research. Ultimately, I majored in history in Rutgers and learned the proper methodology of historical research, which has served me well for decades. In the summer after I graduated, I solved the question of my grandfather's ancestry.
That same summer, my father asked me to gather information on his immediate family. I sent out a questionnaire to his first cousins. Among the replies was a typed transcript of a statement of ancestry his grandmother had written in about 1930, tracing her Robertson ancestors back to a laird who owned as estate called Riemore. There was also a memory from her eldest living granddaughter that her Robertsons were connected to the chiefs, the Robertsons of Struan.
I was well aware of the dubious nature of such traditions, but I at least began to compare her quite full account of her family to the OPR and other records. I found the estate, located in Perthshire, and confirmed the basic three generation line.
In 1978, I came into possession of my paternal grandmother's notes on her family . In them, she had copied an obituary of a woman named Elizabeth Robertson, who had died in Perthshire in 1929. She added a written note that this woman and Sir Joseph Noel Paton were her grandfather's second cousins. I found a biography of Sir Joseph, the famous painter, and learned he had published a genealogy of the Robertsons. Using the now long-gone National Union Catalog, I found a copy in the NYC Public Library.
In June 1980, I found my great-grandmother's great-grandparents in this book. Her great-grandmother, Beatrice Robertson, was a daughter of Robert "Rob Ban" Robertson, a famous soldier, whose grandson, Capt. Alexander Robertson, became chief of the clan and baron of Struan, in 1822. All this is now established by contemporary, primary sources.
That opened an almost staggering amount of medieval ancestry to explore, a process that continues until today.

P J Evans

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May 17, 2020, 4:09:33 PM5/17/20
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On Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 6:01:32 AM UTC-7, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

I got into after I found that we had a gateway ancestor (something unknown to my own line). I've stayed with it simply because it's interesting to see all the people who have turned up; I find the non-royal ancestors more interesting than the royal ones.
(My family has been working on this for generations: a great-grandmother had a written descent for three of her grandparents; a great-granduncle worked on his line, along with a great-aunt; my mother's stepmother worked on it, as did my parents and one of my mother's cousins; I've been working on it for a long time, expanding it to inlaws; and my nephew is doing it.
I refer to it as a permanent floating research project.)

Richard ACHESON

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May 17, 2020, 4:56:01 PM5/17/20
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My paternal grandfather was a successful businessman, literally rags to riches in one generation. Ulster-Scot kid who grew up in lower east side Manhatten in a very tough immigrant neighborhood. His own father died when Gramp was in his early teens resulting in his getting taken into an orphanage with his little brother. Though there were five sons including my Dad born to my grandfather, none of them could tell us almost anything about my great-grandfather the immigrant. His life story had basically died with him. That set me off at the age of 14 to find out what I could. I managed to take it back a few generations into Tyrone, Ireland and spent a lot of futile effort that didn't go any further, but I'd connected to my paternal roots. It took me 30 years to find the grave of my great-grandfather- unmarked as it is in NYC. How's that for persistence?! My inability to go back on my direct paternal line resulted in my curiosity about the rest of them. Some 38 years later I'm still going. It wasn't until about 6 years ago that I took lines back through gateway ancestors to nobility and royalty, and that re-inspired my efforts and reinvigorated my interest. It's a great hobby and coupled well with my love of European history, particularly when I made that first royal link. History suddenly wasn't about other people, it became about us.

Ian Goddard

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May 18, 2020, 10:26:32 AM5/18/20
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On 17/05/2020 15:29, Girl57 wrote:
> Peter,

I'm Ian!

> I live in United States and have often wondered what it's like to live in/near the same place where one's family goes back so far.

Just ordinary as far as I'm concerned. One side effect is that family
history and local history merge into each other.

I should say that I haven't lived here continuously. The gap between
going to University and coming back to live full time within, say, 10
miles, was about 30 years and an additional 10 years between that and
returning to the village to my parents' old house (although we've been
here for nearly 20 years now). It was only during that 10 years that I
got properly interested in family history.

What makes the whole concept possible is the fact that the upland areas
of Britain seem to show less movement than the lowland according to DNA
work some years ago. That showed that the lowlands were much more
homogeneous whilst the uplands showed regional distinctions - to the
extent that, for example, North Wales & South Wales differed. I think
this produces a difference in outlook in medieval genealogy; I don't
expect to see the mobility, social and geographical, that's necessary to
produce aristocratic or royal ancestry for today's man in the street
whereas others seem to see it as a statistical inevitability.

Ian

Wibs

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May 19, 2020, 12:18:45 AM5/19/20
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My interest stemmed initially from a desire to explore my family tree. My mother's surname of Blanshard sounded far more interesting than my father's surname of Withers, so I pursued the Blanshard line.

Reaney's Dictionary of Surnames told me that Blanshard was a variant of Blanchard, which sounded French to me, and stirred my curiosity, were my family originally refugees from the French Revolution? Were they refugees from the Huguenot persecutions? Turned out, it went much further back than that.

I soon made contact with other Blanchard and Blanshard researchers and we formed the Blanchard One-Name Study (120 members). I was able to trace a proven line back to the village of Bubwith in the East Riding of Yorkshire, in 1634, and an unproven line back to the 1460.

Looking back further still I was able to find that the earliest reference to Blaunchard in Bubwith was in 1250, but sadly, although Blancard is mentioned in the Domesday Book for Lincolnshire (Roger of Poitou's man) there was no man of that name in Yorkshire. Our One-Name Group did DNA tests, and found that among our 120 members there were 12 distinct groupings, and the East Riding Blanshards (the 'sh' spelling is exclusively from there) were not linked to the Blanchards of Lincolnshire who descended from the chap in Domesday Book (fortunately his descendants stayed in his manors for centuries).

Medieval research to gather more data on the Blanshard family simply sparked an interest in the medieval period in general, and I have been writing about it ever since.

sba...@mindspring.com

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May 19, 2020, 11:41:48 AM5/19/20
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I became interested in genealogy at an early age, when listening to my grandfather's sister talk about our ancestry during my family's visits to Iowa. I also collected stamps, and seeing monarchs like Edward VIII, George V and VI, and Elizabeth II on British stamps, I became curious about who the individuals were who had smaller Roman numerals after their names. In junior high school, still not familiar with how real research was done, I decided to compile a list of the kings and queens of England, which I did by looking up the monarchs individually in an old Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia which my parents had, which generally named the previous and following rulers, getting back to Egbert without much difficulty. It was only later that I found references giving such lists. My interest gradually expanded to kings of other countries, and in tracing their genealogy. Once I had access to a university library, I gravitated toward scholarly journals by following references, and gradually learned how to do real research. For a long time, all I had on my own genealogy was what relatives had provided, and it was only in my 30's that I started researching my own genealogy further. My interests in early medieval genealogy and my own ancestry have not yet intersected. There have been some intriguing possibilities, but none where the details have panned out.

Stewart Baldwin

Paulo Ricardo Canedo

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May 20, 2020, 4:46:41 PM5/20/20
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My interest in genealogy derives from my interest in history.

Peter Stewart

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May 20, 2020, 8:09:04 PM5/20/20
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On 21-May-20 6:46 AM, Paulo Ricardo Canedo wrote:
> My interest in genealogy derives from my interest in history.
>

A suprising number of professional historians somehow remain allergic to
genealogy throughout their careers, or at least never take the trouble
to get genealogical details right.

Peter Stewart

Vivien Martin

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May 21, 2020, 1:07:25 PM5/21/20
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On Saturday, 16 May 2020 09:01:32 UTC-4, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy." In my case I was asked at church by a new member to the servers guild why I went to that church in particular. I replied that many of the wall plaques were of ancestors or cousins. He then asked exactly what I knew about any of them and I replied in the negative. So he told me to get busy. I knew vaguely that the family had an interesting history but when I, as a teenager asked my grandmother about it, she ignore my question and I lost interest. I had no idea who the new server was (a well known Canadian genealogist as it turned out) but I did get busy. He took me up to the archives of the church were I found pictures of my ancestors and then he dragged me off to the Ontario Archives where he showed my a copy of my great grandmother's will. I was hooked. Over time I found that my family had a very interesting history and was able to research the family back to the medieval period.

Peter D. A. Warwick

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May 21, 2020, 1:29:04 PM5/21/20
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Years ago, before lots of things appeared online and before they moved, I spent many a time at the Archives Of Ontario on Grenville Street. I believe they're now near York University.

Vivien Martin

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May 21, 2020, 1:45:51 PM5/21/20
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On Thursday, 21 May 2020 13:29:04 UTC-4, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> Years ago, before lots of things appeared online and before they moved, I spent many a time at the Archives Of Ontario on Grenville Street. I believe they're now near York University.

My well known Canadian genealogist is probably known to you, Brian J. Gilchrist. d. 2014. As it turned out, Brian egged me on to find out about my Toronto ancestors as the Cathedral (St. James) was trying to do an end run around the original charter land grant of George III and sell a piece of the cemetery surrounding the church to a developer. He was researching the descendants of inhabitants of the cemetery and I was one of them. So basically I did some of his research for him and never stopped researching.

Peter Stewart

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May 22, 2020, 5:46:33 AM5/22/20
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On 21-May-20 6:46 AM, Paulo Ricardo Canedo wrote:
> My interest in genealogy derives from my interest in history.
>

In your country, Paulo, I hope that popular interest in history extends
to all the rich legacy of the Portuguese, European and worldwide past -
sadly, in the English-speaking world, a grotesque pandering to
thrill-seekers by the media has virtually reduced history in TV
documentaries to repetitive plods through the "mysteries" of the
pyramids, Pompeii, the Tudors and the Nazis. Not surprisingly, these
extremely dreary programs are getting ever more infantile, as if the
presenters are struggling to convey information to ever more backward
kindergarten classes.

Peter Stewart

Ian Goddard

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May 22, 2020, 6:17:29 AM5/22/20
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In your part of the English-speaking world that might be the case. Here
the BBC is re-showing Michael Wood's "History of England" series -
interpreting the broader sweep of history from the point of view of a
single place in the Midlands. We've had similar series from Alice
Roberts looking at specific periods from the point of view of specific
towns (Viking period in York, slave trading in Bristol, etc.) and next
week sees the start of a new series of "A House though Time" - the same
thing from the point of view of a single house. Both the BBC and
Channel 4 are pretty good at this sort of thing, history via local
history and the very antithesis of the dramatised Tudors.

I almost forgot: "American History's Biggest Fibs" by Lucy Worsley.

Ian

Peter Stewart

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May 22, 2020, 6:37:30 AM5/22/20
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Some of these programs are probably shown here - I don't care enough to
check to schedules - but if so their subject matter would be exceptions,
not the rule.

I can't bear to listen to Alice Roberts, who despite her intelligence
and a pleasing personality laboriously produces the most ungainly vowel
sounds with which English speakers can tarnish the language. Michael
Wood is a rare bright spot for the debased BBC lately, but I haven't
seen him on Australian TV for a while.

Peter Stewart

Peter Stewart

unread,
May 22, 2020, 8:05:21 AM5/22/20
to
As a postscript, tonight on Australian TV is an episode of Britain's
Cathedrals with Toby Robinson - on Winchester, yet he compulsively drew
the subject around to Henry VIII and his marriages, then to Bloody Mary
and her persecution of Protestants; I switched off at that point. No
doubt he was under instructions (and/or his own inclination) to keep it
well within the comprehension of infantilised viewers, and he is one of
the few literate and cultivated presenters left.

TV should have been the means of broadening the cultural horizons - the
mission of the BBC until not long ago - rather than banging away
endlessly at trite familiar topics. Nowadays a bright schoolchild could
write self-satisfied scripts for Lucy Worsley and her ilk in his or her
sleep.

Peter Stewart

Ian Goddard

unread,
May 22, 2020, 10:29:31 AM5/22/20
to
On 22/05/2020 11:37, Peter Stewart wrote:
> Some of these programs are probably shown here - I don't care enough to
> check to schedules - but if so their subject matter would be exceptions,
> not the rule.

I'd certainly advise you to check schedules for "A House Through Time".
It might not be medieval history but as local/social history it's
excellent and David Olusoga is an excellent presenter. Also anything
presented by Janina Ramirez would be worth watching - far more likely to
be Anglo-Saxon or later medieval than Tudor.

> I can't bear to listen to Alice Roberts, who despite her intelligence
> and a pleasing personality laboriously produces the most ungainly vowel
> sounds with which English speakers can tarnish the language.

On Alice Roberts we'll have to agree to disagree - that's a familiar
situation because I have the same disagreement with my wife although she
doesn't articulate why. You have, however, set me thinking. There's
certainly a west country background in her voice but.... Is it possible
a university can impart its own accent to students? My daughter is of
similar age and went to the same university and I sometimes find myself
wondering where her accent comes from apart from the N Ireland background.

Right now there are probably a number of TV executives kicking
themselves that they don't have anything about any occurrences of the
plague or even the 1918 'fly in the can.

Outright colonial or imperial history is probably untouchable to the
execs who commission TV in Britain these days; slavery was certainly a
very uncomfortable topic for Alice Roberts making a programme about
Bristol. Queen Anne seems to have attracted Lucy Worsley's attention
but then so does anything that involves dressing up. Oddly enough the
Civil War and its aftermath doesn't seem to have attracted TV histories.
Tudor England, as you complain, does; the Tudors had a certain
telegenic soap opera like aspect. From a more general aspect the C16th
also represents a transition from the medieval to the modern which makes
it interesting.


Ian

John Higgins

unread,
May 22, 2020, 1:38:10 PM5/22/20
to
I agree with you regarding Michael Wood's "Story of England" [sic] - an excellent series. It's available on DVD - I'd like to watch it again when/if my local library reopens.

And I too am tired of the Tudors....

Ian Goddard

unread,
May 22, 2020, 4:12:34 PM5/22/20
to
There's also the book of the series. IIRC a review said to get the
earlier edition, the later one had stuff missing.

I keep thinking I should drive to Kibworth to take a look but that's
also something for better days.

Ian



Peter Stewart

unread,
May 22, 2020, 8:16:24 PM5/22/20
to
On 23-May-20 12:29 AM, Ian Goddard wrote:
> On 22/05/2020 11:37, Peter Stewart wrote:
>> Some of these programs are probably shown here - I don't care enough
>> to check to schedules - but if so their subject matter would be
>> exceptions, not the rule.
>
> I'd certainly advise you to check schedules for "A House Through Time".
> It might not be medieval history but as local/social history it's
> excellent and David Olusoga is an excellent presenter.  Also anything
> presented by Janina Ramirez would be worth watching - far more likely to
> be Anglo-Saxon or later medieval than Tudor.

Thanks Ian - I'm a distracted viewer of TV and rarely sit through an
entire program these days but Michael Wood has been a memorable
exception. He is not afraid to be philosopphical, even poetic, in a
ruminative way that is clearly not aimed at higher ratings.

>
>> I can't bear to listen to Alice Roberts, who despite her intelligence
>> and a pleasing personality laboriously produces the most ungainly
>> vowel sounds with which English speakers can tarnish the language.
>
> On Alice Roberts we'll have to agree to disagree - that's a familiar
> situation because I have the same disagreement with my wife although she
> doesn't articulate why.  You have, however, set me thinking.  There's
> certainly a west country background in her voice but....  Is it possible
> a university can impart its own accent to students?  My daughter is of
> similar age and went to the same university and I sometimes find myself
> wondering where her accent comes from apart from the N Ireland background.

In her case, I suspect she twigged early on that a heavy regional accent
along with a personal quirk or two might be a ticket to stardom, or at
least a renewed contract. The BBC determined years ago to eliminate the
phoney "U"-speech of presenters such as Angela Ripon, and the on-screen
talent since has to have some kind of "non-U" accent for street cred. If
I ever again hear David Starkey talking about "Bloody Myrrhry" or
"Myrrhry queen of Scots" (unlikely, since I can't stand the man for
various other reasons as well) I may smash my TV.

As for university accents, the first that springs to mind is the
"Cambridge" sort a sound, precise and a tad precious, that was fairly
common among graduates from the start of living memory until around the
1980s. But from then, like BBC talking heads, they lose street cred by
sounding too educated so it is disappearing.

> Right now there are probably a number of TV executives kicking
> themselves that they don't have anything about any occurrences of the
> plague or even the 1918 'fly in the can.
>
> Outright colonial or imperial history is probably untouchable to the
> execs who commission TV in Britain these days; slavery was certainly a
> very uncomfortable topic for Alice Roberts making a programme about
> Bristol.  Queen Anne seems to have attracted Lucy Worsley's attention
> but then so does anything that involves dressing up.  Oddly enough the
> Civil War and its aftermath doesn't seem to have attracted TV histories.
>  Tudor England, as you complain, does; the Tudors had a certain
> telegenic soap opera like aspect.  From a more general aspect the C16th
> also represents a transition from the medieval to the modern which makes
> it interesting.

Lucy Worsley is out of her negligible depth on any subject apart from
clothes, and not very interesting on that. Queen Anne is an example of
history that has been ignored, until a rather silly movie made her
trendy recently. The Tudor craze started from popular drama series in
the 1970s with Keith Michell as Henry VIII and then Glenda Jackson in a
portrayal of Elizabeth so striking that every performance as the queen
since has been a facile imitation of her playing the part. Cate
Blanchett won many awards and built an overrated career on this.

Peter Stewart

Peter Stewart

unread,
May 22, 2020, 8:22:22 PM5/22/20
to
On 23-May-20 10:16 AM, Peter Stewart wrote:

> As for university accents, the first that springs to mind is the
> "Cambridge" sort a sound

Apologies, I meant short A sound.

When I was a schoolboy you could tell the Cambridge masters from the
Oxford ones by their short As.

Peter Stewart

Peter Stewart

unread,
May 22, 2020, 10:07:12 PM5/22/20
to
On 23-May-20 10:16 AM, Peter Stewart wrote:

> The Tudor craze started from popular drama series in
> the 1970s with Keith Michell as Henry VIII and then Glenda Jackson in a
> portrayal of Elizabeth so striking that every performance as the queen
> since has been a facile imitation of her playing the part.

I should have exempted from this the superb cameo by Vanessa Redgrave in
the idiotic movie 'Anonymous' about the Shakepeare/Oxford nonsense.

Peter Stewart

Ian Goddard

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May 23, 2020, 4:21:50 AM5/23/20
to
I never went to either but a short A is part of my native accent.



Ian

Peter Stewart

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May 23, 2020, 4:51:51 AM5/23/20
to
I'm not referring to a short A as an alternative to a long one (as in
pronouncing castle as "casstle" rather than "cahstle") but just to the
particular sounding of a short A - in Cambridge, from the 19th century
if not before, this was spoken in an exaggeratedly precise way.

I suppose it was an affectation at first, probably by dons and then
taken up by undergraduates or possibly vice versa. It was not confined
to a few colleges, but was apparently common in all of them.

Peter Stewart

Bronwen Edwards

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May 25, 2020, 6:36:08 PM5/25/20
to
In the mid-1980s I received a fat envelope from my godfather (who was also some sort of cousin as well as a family "black sheep" - he was gay) that had various scraps of paper with information on my mother's family. It came out of the blue - perhaps one "black sheep" to another. Neither he nor I (nor my only sibling, a brother who was also gay)had children and therefore represented the end of a line. I had never thought about genealogy before but the gift sparked my interest. It quickly led me to the Dunboyne peerage and I began a correspondence with then-Lord Dunboyne, Paddy Butler. This whetted my appetite further and led me into the medieval period eventually. When my godfather's package sparked my interest, I had no idea where (or when) such a hobby would lead. Much of the information in the package was garbled but with Dunboyne's help and after meeting (electronically) Leo van de Pas, I was able to fill in many of the blanks. I also subscribed to ancestry dot com and have located quite a lot of documentation (after learning to ignore almost everything else). And I happened across this list which has both delighted and infuriated me. I'm a happy amateur and now retired (and NOW quarantined as well), so I have the time to indulge.

Peter Stewart

unread,
May 25, 2020, 7:24:27 PM5/25/20
to
On 26-May-20 8:36 AM, Bronwen Edwards wrote:
> In the mid-1980s I received a fat envelope from my godfather (who was also some sort of cousin as well as a family "black sheep" - he was gay) that had various scraps of paper with information on my mother's family. It came out of the blue - perhaps one "black sheep" to another. Neither he nor I (nor my only sibling, a brother who was also gay)had children and therefore represented the end of a line. I had never thought about genealogy before but the gift sparked my interest. It quickly led me to the Dunboyne peerage and I began a correspondence with then-Lord Dunboyne, Paddy Butler. This whetted my appetite further and led me into the medieval period eventually. When my godfather's package sparked my interest, I had no idea where (or when) such a hobby would lead. Much of the information in the package was garbled but with Dunboyne's help and after meeting (electronically) Leo van de Pas, I was able to fill in many of the blanks. I also subscribed to ancestry dot com and have located quite a lot of documentation (after learning to ignore almost everything else). And I happened across this list which has both delighted and infuriated me. I'm a happy amateur and now retired (and NOW quarantined as well), so I have the time to indulge.
>

It's good to know that you are still here, Bronwen. I hadn't seen a post
of yours for a while.

The generosity of Leo must have benefited many people who did not come
to the newsgroup - for a while I was one of these, as I contacted Leo
before finding Gen-Med to ask if he could help in distinguishing between
Catholic and Protestant branches of a German family by searching for the
frequency of Maria among their names. His database could not do this
sorting function then (I'm not sure if it can now), but he was willing
to put in his own time and trouble on the question and resolved it anyway.

There are not many participants left (or posting) now from 4+ years ago,
but I'm glad that you are.

Peter Stewart


mk

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May 26, 2020, 8:51:34 AM5/26/20
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On Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 9:01:32 AM UTC-4, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

I started quite early. As a child, about 8, I went through a brief religious phase. I decided I was going to read the Old Testament and got interested in mapping out the descents from Adam and Eve. My parents brought me home rolls of brown wrapping paper and I was occupied for hours, though of course, the Flood did wipe out masses and then the focus was on Noah, and by then I was getting bored. Eventually I got tired of the Bible (and religion, except as a study), but got interested in my own family, unfortunately after all my grandparents had passed. My mum used to talk about her quirky relatives in the Isle of Wight and I started digging back for her. Once I traced her Wiltshire side back into the Civil War (in England) with families split as to affiliation, and finding quite a lot on earlier relatives related to the Tudors, I was really hooked and turned to my dad's side, which was not quite as successful, but much more interesting than I had imagined. My own father didn't know his father's roots, telling me once that he thought his grandfather was a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe. In fact, he was born in Hampshire, son of a saddle maker from Cerne Abbas. I still dabble at it, having found an early 17th century will new to me just this week which may open a new line.

Monica

Hans Vogels

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May 26, 2020, 3:51:48 PM5/26/20
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Op zaterdag 16 mei 2020 15:01:32 UTC+2 schreef Peter D. A. Warwick:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

As a Dutchman born in Coventry in England I got a tag to a country that we left again when my mother got homesick. That and the fact of having English cousins (my father’s eldest sister married an English soldier, wounded in World War II) provided an interest in England and its history and its kings and queens and in the Past in general. It’s that my mother put down her foot or I might have ended in Australia ;-) In High School I broadened my horizon to a fascination with the past and how things came to be. My English teacher showed me once The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and that was an inspiration. My grandfather evaded questions about the past of our family and a cycling trip to another village to visit his sister proved futile. She was not at home and my curiosity was shelved.

In 1974 coming back with my cousin and her friend from a vacation in England my grandfather died and someone passed me a letter from an American namesake who finished his new world family and aimed at doing the Dutch namesakes. That set me off on a personal adventure. First visiting the local archive and then the provincial archive learning on the way of all sorts of stumbling blocks. But that was just passing my free time as I was going to Amsterdam to study Geography and English. There I discovered the History library of the university and that it held lots of English and French genealogical publications that widened my horizon. I searched for genealogical titbits on all kinds of royal and noble families in all kind of encyclopedias and other publications and kept doing that in later years with in a parallel track the search for my own family, my pedigree and that of my aunts and uncles.

Then I discovered an interesting link in my pedigree and that brought nobility within my ancestry and I started looking for existing literature on local and regional nobility and found myself wanting more. My visits to the Archives and researching and browsing through all kinds of original material provided new genealogical information and got me on a trajectory of writing new material and improving what uncritically had been accepted for decennia. In the last 20 years my field of interest shifted from being busy with my pedigree to being busy with the nobility and other well-off families and urban patriciate, researching, writing papers, and research notes, corresponding and providing answers on genealogical groups.

In these modern times with so much information on the internet I miss the old-fashioned visits to the local, regional, provincial and national Archives and being able to handle and sniff the original documents from the 14th and later centuries occasionally being surprised. I can still recall the astonishment of getting to look at and browse through the marvelous decorated and recently restored original fief book (het Latijnsboek 1312-1355) of the duke of Brabant in the Royal National Archive of Brussels. Not that that is usually done but when I was there (1996) they could not locate the microfilms so I got the original :-) Nowadays there are all kinds of restrictions on consulting archives and documents that one must be glad that information is digitally available.

Hans Vogels

Peter Stewart

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May 26, 2020, 8:20:07 PM5/26/20
to
On 27-May-20 5:51 AM, Hans Vogels wrote:
> Op zaterdag 16 mei 2020 15:01:32 UTC+2 schreef Peter D. A. Warwick:

> As a Dutchman born in Coventry in England I got a tag to a country that we left again when my mother got homesick. That and the fact of having English cousins (my father’s eldest sister married an English soldier, wounded in World War II) provided an interest in England and its history and its kings and queens and in the Past in general. It’s that my mother put down her foot or I might have ended in Australia ;-)

Hans, I hope the winking smiley-face emoji you added to this means
something like "However amusing, that fate wouldn't be too awful ...".

Peter Stewart

sabaris...@gmail.com

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May 27, 2020, 2:35:34 AM5/27/20
to
I am very much an amateur compared with others who post regularly, but my interest goes back to my early childhood. In the 1920s my father, C S Goldingham, attempted to trace the connection between what he referred to as the later main line - descendants of my 4th great-grandfather John Goldingham (d. by 1756), a clothier of Devizes, and his wife Martha West. The surname goes back to the time of Robert Malet, probably c. 1100, when Robert granted land at Goldingham in Suffolk to "his good knight Sir Hugh." My father was unable to make the connection between Sir Hugh's descendants (who can be traced down to the early 17th century by which time they had sold their manors in Suffolk) and John the clothier of Devizes. The early Goldinghams also held land in Wiltshire, but the latest record of a Goldingham there is in the 1520s. I have found an abundance of material that my father either did not find or thought was irrelevant, and have so far come up with a few possible connections, but no actual evidence to support any of my hypotheses. Since I have previously appealed to the group for information on the family without success, it may be that there simply is no surviving evidence, if indeed there was a connection. I keep digging, however...

JBrand

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May 27, 2020, 10:42:09 PM5/27/20
to

> Hans, I hope the winking smiley-face emoji you added to this means
> something like "However amusing, that fate wouldn't be too awful ...".
>
> Peter Stewart

No, remove all the words except "too awful" ... :0

Hans Vogels

unread,
May 28, 2020, 2:16:03 AM5/28/20
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Op woensdag 27 mei 2020 02:20:07 UTC+2 schreef Peter Stewart:
From a rural point of view in the Netherlands and to the eyes of one living in the fifties (my mother coming from a small village) Australia was the end of the world. Nowadays the world is one big living room. My eldest cousin married an Australian en lives in Vancouver. My wife’s aunt lives in Australia like so many other Dutchmen (Leo van de Pas) did in the fifties. Others like Andrew came back over to Europe to immerse themselves in Belgian and English history.

With Waltzing Mathilda, Skippy, the Bee Gees, The Thornbirds, Men at Work, Olivia, The Flying Doctors, Kylie, Crocodile Dundee, and a few years back Gotye, Australia had its moments of fame and my permanent attention. Scientifically speaking Australia is the new frontier with all sorts of new developments and discoveries. I could have done worse. Australia and New Zeeland are on my bucket list. So nothing wrong with Australia except that they talk a bit funny (on the television and screen) :-)

Hans Vogels

Kelsey Jackson Williams

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May 28, 2020, 4:28:00 AM5/28/20
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On Saturday, 16 May 2020 14:01:32 UTC+1, Peter D. A. Warwick wrote:
> I'm curious as to why people are interested in medieval genealogy. Obviously many, like myself, have proven ancestors from this period. I wonder about people like taf, Peter Stewart and others. Why are you into it? Are you and others into this professionally (i.e. professional genealogists or professional historians) or just have an interest in the medieval period and/or do you also have proven ancestors from this period? I might add that I'm also into medieval genealogy, like I'm into genealogy in general, as genealogy makes history come alive and I've had an interest in history since I was a child.

I've been enjoying this thread - it's a pleasure to learn how others have come to our esoteric corner of knowledge. For my part, I suppose I first became interested in genealogy by seeing my grandfather's collections on the topic as a child. Then, not long after his death, a cousin sent me a copy of an eighteenth-century manuscript genealogy of the family. In attempting to verify and correct that - I later published an edited version in TAG [1] - I first found myself working with materials from the middle ages and realised how much I enjoyed the scholarly processes required to make sense of them. As a postgraduate, and later research fellow and lecturer, I specialised in the history and literature of the early modern period but much of my academic work has been on antiquaries of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, scholars who often had their own genealogical interests [2].

For the last several years most of my genealogical research has focused on my maternal grandmother's Russian and Baltic-German ancestors, a somewhat lonely line of enquiry given how few other scholars are engaged in similar work. I remain perennially hopefully, though, that in the fulness of time s.g.m will return to the pan-European scope it had back in the early 2000s.

All the best,
Kelsey

[1] Kelsey Jackson Williams. The Scottish Ancestry of Patrick and William Stewart of the Carolinas. _The American Genealogist_, Vol. 80, No. 1 (Jan. 2005): 11-22.

[2] Those members of the newsgroup working on Scottish genealogy might find the relevant chapter of interest in my latest book, _The First Scottish Enlightenment: Rebels, Priests, and History_ (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Peter Stewart

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May 28, 2020, 5:36:10 AM5/28/20
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On 28-May-20 6:27 PM, Kelsey Jackson Williams wrote:

> For the last several years most of my genealogical research has focused on my maternal grandmother's Russian and Baltic-German ancestors, a somewhat lonely line of enquiry given how few other scholars are engaged in similar work. I remain perennially hopefully, though, that in the fulness of time s.g.m will return to the pan-European scope it had back in the early 2000s.

The closeness of your European ancestry perhaps makes it unique to you
in the newsgroup, Kelsey, but the hope you express certainly isn't.

It seems odd to me that more participants apparently haven't traced
their ancestry to one of the most common "gateways" from British to
continental families, Jacquetta of Luxemburg-St Pol. Anyone who has
should soon become aware of a vast range of fascinating European
ancestors, with an incalculable variety of questions worth raising about
them. Maybe one of these questions ought to be why a line of descent
from Jacquetta (along with other ladies viewed as "foreign" from across
the Channel) seems to be less common in the USA than in Britain,
Australia and New Zealand (I wonder about Canada).

Peter Stewart

Paulo Ricardo Canedo

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May 28, 2020, 9:26:11 AM5/28/20
to
The problem with Jacquetta of Luxemburg-St Pol is that she's a relatively late figure of the Middle Ages. Thus, not many American gateway immigrants descended from her. That's why Sancha de Ayala is more popular as a continental gateway ancestress among Americans. Meanwhile, Australia, New Zealand and Canada were settled later than the US and, thus, had more immigrants descended from Jacquetta.

Peter D. A. Warwick

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May 28, 2020, 1:29:48 PM5/28/20
to
I’ve really enjoyed reading about how others have gotten interested in genealogy and medieval genealogy. Here’s more on how I got into it. When I was young I attended a school where a lot of the students were children of Dutch immigrants to Canada. Naturally I wanted to fit in and was pleased to learn that I too am of Dutch descent. My Dutch ancestors came to North America in the 1600s. This got me interesting in genealogy. (I’ve also since discovered several other Dutch ancestors.)

Among the major discoveries I’ve made since were that I had ancestors in New France (My wife, who is French, and I both descend from two couples in New France.), five arrived on the Mayflower and one was hung as a witch at Salem. The most exciting discovery came five years ago when I found I descend from Thomas Lawrence of Newtown, Long Island and that he descended from Charlemagne. At first I didn’t believe it as I’d come across so many such claims before that were false, but the more I investigated the more it became apparent that this time the claims were really true. That was exciting and began bringing the medieval period to life.

Peter Stewart

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May 28, 2020, 6:41:59 PM5/28/20
to
This explanation has been given in the newsgroup occasionally, and
although I acknowledge that it is very probably a factor for US
"gateway" immigrants from the 18th century and before I doubt that many
SGM participants trace their ancestry entirely through early-modern
arrivals in the Americas.

In my own case (the only one I can draw from in detail, but not
exceptional) Jacquetta first appears in generation 16 and occurs
multiple times with several intermarriages between her descendants from
the 17th century onwards - eleven lines to Jacquetta come through five
of my eight great-grandparents, nine of these through the first marriage
of her daughter Elizabeth Wydville and two through the second.

Something similar to this was found in around a third of my school class
in Australia 50+ years ago. All of my immigrant ancestors in question
came to this country (or to its precedent colonies) as free settlers
between the 1840s and the 1910s, and there was nothing obvious to me in
all cases that led their choice of destination to Australia rather than
to the US (unless for a few this had to do with wishing to remain
British subjects).

Immigration from England to the US may have been just as self-selecting
as to Australia in the timeframe of, say, 1840-1914, some at least with
ancestries of similar pattern - or if not, why?

Peter Stewart

P J Evans

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May 28, 2020, 6:59:02 PM5/28/20
to
Some of my 19th-century immigrant ancestors went to Ontario, Canada after spending a year or so in upstate NY first - there apparently was a group in eastern Ontario county. Some others apparently followed cousins to Newark, NJ, before moving west to Illinois. It's possible that the Newark cousins had followed other cousins who went to Canada, but stopped before getting there. (I also suspect some of the later ones were Chartists, and found it expedient to leave England.)

There also were cousins who moved to Australia and New Zealand.

joe...@gmail.com

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May 28, 2020, 7:21:21 PM5/28/20
to
On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 6:41:59 PM UTC-4, Peter Stewart wrote:
> On 28-May-20 11:26 PM, Paulo Ricardo Canedo wrote:
> > quinta-feira, 28 de Maio de 2020 às 10:36:10 UTC+1, Peter Stewart escreveu:
> >> On 28-May-20 6:27 PM, Kelsey Jackson Williams wrote:
> >>
> >>> For the last several years most of my genealogical research has focused on my maternal grandmother's Russian and Baltic-German ancestors, a somewhat lonely line of enquiry given how few other scholars are engaged in similar work. I remain perennially hopefully, though, that in the fulness of time s.g.m will return to the pan-European scope it had back in the early 2000s.
> >>
> >> The closeness of your European ancestry perhaps makes it unique to you
> >> in the newsgroup, Kelsey, but the hope you express certainly isn't.
> >>
> >> It seems odd to me that more participants apparently haven't traced
> >> their ancestry to one of the most common "gateways" from British to
> >> continental families, Jacquetta of Luxemburg-St Pol. Anyone who has
> >> should soon become aware of a vast range of fascinating European
> >> ancestors, with an incalculable variety of questions worth raising about
> >> them. Maybe one of these questions ought to be why a line of descent
> >> from Jacquetta (along with other ladies viewed as "foreign" from across
> >> the Channel) seems to be less common in the USA than in Britain,
> >> Australia and New Zealand (I wonder about Canada).
> >>
> >> Peter Stewart
> >
> > The problem with Jacquetta of Luxemburg-St Pol is that she's a relatively late figure of the Middle Ages. Thus, not many American gateway immigrants descended from her. That's why Sancha de Ayala is more popular as a continental gateway ancestress among Americans. Meanwhile, Australia, New Zealand and Canada were settled later than the US and, thus, had more immigrants descended from Jacquetta.
> >
>
> This explanation has been given in the newsgroup occasionally, and
> although I acknowledge that it is very probably a factor for US
> "gateway" immigrants from the 18th century and before I doubt that many
> SGM participants trace their ancestry entirely through early-modern
> arrivals in the Americas.

I respectfully disagree. I suspect a very large majority of US SGM participants trace medieval ancestry *only* through 17th century English gateways. After the great migration ended in 1640, immigration to the US from England came to an extreme slow-down. Subsequent waves of emigration from Germany suffer from the lack of decent 15th and 16th century records to bridge the gap, even if you can get beyond the massive records hole of the thirty years war. Italian, Polish, etc waves also suffer from much less social mobility in those cultures.

English migration did continue to the US of course in the 1800s, but the composition changed drastically. Instead of many wealthy adventurers looking for riches, you have coal miners, and largely, rural farmers just looking for survival. Of course, the trip to Australia from England cost a lot more than the relatively short trip to the US East coast, so there is already some self-selection there.

And when these folks arrived in Australia they had much more of a founder effect... In 1880 the US had a population already of some 50 million that the new English settlers were now a very small percentage of. In Australia in 1880, a majority of the (much much much) smaller population had only just arrived in the past 30 years since the start of the gold rush.

For anecdotal evidence, I'll start the polling.. My kids have English, Italian, Irish, German, Dutch, Scottish, French, Polish ancestry but no links back to medieval times except through 6 new England 17th century English immigrants. The German, Italian, Dutch and French lines all vanish from records beyond around 1600.
--Joe Cook

Peter Stewart

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May 28, 2020, 7:41:28 PM5/28/20
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A smaller population means fewer ancestors to go round, with fewer
chances to find medieval links - unless your strongest point about a
drastic change in composition of the immigrant cohort can really account
for the relative absence of lines to Jacquetta.

Effectively this comes down to social mobility in England from the 15th
to the 19th century, and the influence of this on circumstances leading
to emigration. I agree there would have been fewer coal miners and rural
farmers than military officers and landowners descended from the Grey
and Plantagenet families.

But still, the degree of difference in focus on English minor-gentry
ancestors between many US participants here and those from elsewhere is
stark. And of course Jacquetta was not the only continental-European
wife who fetched up in England leaving a vast number of descendants.

Peter Stewart

Bronwen Edwards

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May 28, 2020, 9:29:03 PM5/28/20
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Once I traced my mother's ancestors into the medieval and renaissance eras, I found that they did, indeed, reflect a great deal of influence and origin from the Continent. Jacquetta is there, for one, along with the vast array of noble folks from France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Flanders, Italy etc. who make up the ancestry of the British nobility. At one time I thought I had Sancha de Ayala. but it was a false lead. My mother's family has an American presence that does not go back farther than the 19th century - her father was an English immigrant who arrived in the US about 1907 (she was born in 1912). Her mother was Irish, Scottish, & German - all of them in the US only since about 1830 (escaped the potato famine that drove Irish immigration a decade later). Oddly my stepfather, whose genealogy I have also worked on, includes people who were in Jamestown nearly at its beginning, fought in the Revolution (both sides - one really interesting ancestor was with Bonnie Prince Charlies on Skye, then with a Scottish regiment that came to America to quell the revolt in the 1770s and was the last regiment to carry swords into battle. He died at Moore's Creek Bridge and his family was evicted from their land for having been royalists. He also had Huguenot ancestors as well as Swiss Anabaptists who founded the Amish communities. I don't have their chromosomes, but it's too bad because his was the more interesting pedigree! And he never knew any of it. My bio father was Hopi and so you would have to place that gateway ancestor way, way, way back.

Peter Stewart

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May 28, 2020, 10:33:24 PM5/28/20
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On 29-May-20 11:29 AM, Bronwen Edwards wrote:
> Once I traced my mother's ancestors into the medieval and renaissance eras, I found that they did, indeed, reflect a great deal of influence and origin from the Continent. Jacquetta is there, for one, along with the vast array of noble folks from France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Flanders, Italy etc. who make up the ancestry of the British nobility. At one time I thought I had Sancha de Ayala. but it was a false lead. My mother's family has an American presence that does not go back farther than the 19th century - her father was an English immigrant who arrived in the US about 1907 (she was born in 1912). Her mother was Irish, Scottish, & German - all of them in the US only since about 1830 (escaped the potato famine that drove Irish immigration a decade later). Oddly my stepfather, whose genealogy I have also worked on, includes people who were in Jamestown nearly at its beginning, fought in the Revolution (both sides - one really interesting ancestor was with Bonnie Prince Charlies on Skye, then with a Scottish regiment that came to America to quell the revolt in the 1770s and was the last regiment to carry swords into battle. He died at Moore's Creek Bridge and his family was evicted from their land for having been royalists. He also had Huguenot ancestors as well as Swiss Anabaptists who founded the Amish communities. I don't have their chromosomes, but it's too bad because his was the more interesting pedigree! And he never knew any of it. My bio father was Hopi and so you would have to place that gateway ancestor way, way, way back.
>

Very few in the newsgroup can have such a fascinating ancestry - I hope
you find that whatever can't be known is just as effectively held in
pride and imagination as it could be recorded on paper.

Peer Stewart

P J Evans

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May 28, 2020, 10:49:31 PM5/28/20
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On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 6:29:03 PM UTC-7, Bronwen Edwards wrote:
> Once I traced my mother's ancestors into the medieval and renaissance eras, I found that they did, indeed, reflect a great deal of influence and origin from the Continent. Jacquetta is there, for one, along with the vast array of noble folks from France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Flanders, Italy etc. who make up the ancestry of the British nobility. At one time I thought I had Sancha de Ayala. but it was a false lead. My mother's family has an American presence that does not go back farther than the 19th century - her father was an English immigrant who arrived in the US about 1907 (she was born in 1912). Her mother was Irish, Scottish, & German - all of them in the US only since about 1830 (escaped the potato famine that drove Irish immigration a decade later). Oddly my stepfather, whose genealogy I have also worked on, includes people who were in Jamestown nearly at its beginning, fought in the Revolution (both sides - one really interesting ancestor was with Bonnie Prince Charlies on Skye, then with a Scottish regiment that came to America to quell the revolt in the 1770s and was the last regiment to carry swords into battle. He died at Moore's Creek Bridge and his family was evicted from their land for having been royalists. He also had Huguenot ancestors as well as Swiss Anabaptists who founded the Amish communities. I don't have their chromosomes, but it's too bad because his was the more interesting pedigree! And he never knew any of it. My bio father was Hopi and so you would have to place that gateway ancestor way, way, way back.

My sister-in-law's stepfather has one grandfather who was Quebecois, and I've found records of that line back to the early 17th century, and some parts go farther back. One line has a gateway: one of the Couvent sisters.
(There are Huguenots and Mennonites on other parts of the extended tree. It gets interesting. I even found myself reading in the Dawes rolls.)

taf

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May 29, 2020, 1:30:36 AM5/29/20
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On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 6:26:11 AM UTC-7, Paulo Ricardo Canedo wrote:

> The problem with Jacquetta of Luxemburg-St Pol is that she's a relatively
> late figure of the Middle Ages. Thus, not many American gateway immigrants
> descended from her. That's why Sancha de Ayala is more popular as a
> continental gateway ancestress among Americans.

Except Sancha de Ayala isn't really a gateway to very much. I would suggest that most people who descend from Sancha de Ayala have a much better gateway in Eleanor of Provence, who brings Poland, Austria, the HRE, Bohemia, Russia, Savoy, the Capetians and Carolingian, Norman Italy, etc. With Sancha, the farthest outside of Iberia you can trace an unambiguous documentable ancestor of hers is Toulouse.

taf

Kelsey Jackson Williams

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May 29, 2020, 2:20:26 AM5/29/20
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Dear Peter,

I completely agree and, for what it's worth, surely a goodly number of individuals of American ancestry must be able to trace a line or two to Jacquetta of Luxembourg. I'm part American - indeed, born and spent my childhood there - and on that side can trace several lines to Jacquetta via an eighteenth-century Scottish immigrant to North Carolina (interestingly, my American grandfather through whom I can trace this descent married my grandmother who was descended from Jacquetta's brother Jacques, Seigneur de Richebourg via the family of Trazegnies in Belgium, various French families, and ultimately an immigrant to Russia at the time of the French Revolution).

All the best,
Kelsey

Bronwen Edwards

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May 29, 2020, 2:24:00 AM5/29/20
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On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 7:49:31 PM UTC-7, P J Evans wrote:

> (There are Huguenots and Mennonites on other parts of the extended tree. It gets interesting. I even found myself reading in the Dawes rolls.)

If you were looking at the Dawes rolls, you must have been looking for someone Cherokee.

Peter Stewart

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May 29, 2020, 5:37:21 AM5/29/20
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Jacquetta is the earliest ancestor I know of who wrote her name on the
fly-leaf in books she owned - probably quite a lot of her English female
contemporaries would not have been to do this, and I suppose few enough
of the males would have cared enough about possession of works by
Christine de Pisan and others she owned.

It was pleasing to see Janet McTeer play her (as a living monument, with
Gorgon eyes) in 'The White Queen' a few years ago, but less happily she
was made out to be a scheming witch. The English have never quite
forgiven her for marrying down the second time.

Peter Stewart

Carl-Henry Geschwind

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May 29, 2020, 11:10:50 AM5/29/20
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On Friday, May 29, 2020 at 2:20:26 AM UTC-4, Kelsey Jackson Williams wrote:
>
> I completely agree and, for what it's worth, surely a goodly number of individuals of American ancestry must be able to trace a line or two to Jacquetta of Luxembourg.

Perhaps I might be able to trace my American ancestors back to Jacquetta of Luxembourg - if only I could actually get to the immigrant generation. I have a number of German immigrant ancestors who came in either in the 1840s or the 1950s (my father), and those I have no problem tracing back to the 30 Years War (and in two cases to the 1400s). But those who were already in America before the 1840s include a whole bunch of backwoods Scotch-Irish who pop up in western Virginia or upstate South Carolina and cannot be traced back before the Revolutionary War. The same with my girlfriend and her ex - the lines that were still in New England around 1800 can in most cases be traced back to Puritan immigrants and, in some cases, English ancestors back to the 1400s, and one family that was still Quaker in the 1820s can be traced back to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey immigrants of the 1670s/80s (including one gateway ancestor to Henry I). But all the lines that were Scotch-Irish and hung out in western Pennsylvania or Kentucky in 1800 - all I can get is maybe one additional generation if they fought in the Revolutonary War and got a pension, but that's it. The absence of church and census records in these areas makes it simply impossible to trace these people who were very mobile and, in many cases, did not record their [informal] land deeds.

Vance Mead

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May 29, 2020, 11:24:02 AM5/29/20
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I can't boast any gateway ancestors to royalty. Common as muck, we were.

I'm interested in the ordinary people, the butchers, bakers and husbandmen who can be found in records such as manorial court rolls, lay subsidies, and Common Pleas rolls. As for my own ancestry, there are a few families of interest - mostly husbandman - that I can trace to the mid-15th century.

JBrand

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May 29, 2020, 11:58:36 AM5/29/20
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My father's whole ancestry are *backwoods* Scotch-Irish of upper SC/lower NC, and I agree, it's very hard to get ANY of the lines back beyond about 1750-70. My father had known lines from people surnamed Boyd (two or three lines), Campbell, Simrill (which was originally Somerville), and multiple Johnstons, names which in Scotland might well have certain noble or royal lines. However, it's all just theoretical if you can't prove the intervening generations. Lack of any records or poor surviving records are a true hindrance for Scots who moved to the south in America.

sba...@mindspring.com

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May 29, 2020, 4:46:51 PM5/29/20
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My experience is not too much different. Roughly speaking, my ancestry is slightly more than 50% colonial American and slightly less than 50% from immigrants who came from Europe in the 1800's. Of the latter, there are six immigrant ancestors who can be traced back to records in Europe, of whom there are three Germans (like yours, for the most part easily traceable to the 1650's, but very little beyond that), one Scotch-Irish (traceable in co. Antrim for a couple of generations), and two English (a married couple), of whom the husband is of unproven parentage (although I am reasonably sure about who his father was), and the wife has an ancestry provable in numerous lines back to the late 1500's.

In my colonial American ancestry, there are many dead-ends (Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish, English-sounding surnames mainly from Pennsylvania and Virginia, with a little New England ancestry), and again counting only those immigrants I have found in overseas records, I have only 18 traced immigrants from the early period, 15 of them Quakers from England or Wales in the period 1680-1710, one Virginia family from England in the 1670's, and two early New England lines that can't be traced more than a generation or so in England. Most of these can only be traced back to whenever the parish registers start, but a few Worcestershire ancestors appear in a document of 1457, and one Suffolk ancestor who appears in numerous records from the early 1500's was clearly born before 1500. There is also a Cheshire ancestor who appears in visitation pedigrees with an impressive looking pedigree back to the 1100's or so (Bostock of Moulton), but the two earliest visitations don't agree on the exact line of descent, and I have only been able to verify it back to 1530 or so, with no clear trace of the immediately preceding generations in contemporary records.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the tree of my one English immigrant from the 1800's whose parentage is known, and saw that I have traced 20 of her ancestors who lived in the generation in the late 1600's which most closely approximates the time that my Quaker ancestors were coming over. Thus, through this one immigrant (a great-great-grandmother), I have roughly the same number of documented English ancestors from the late 1600's as I do for all of my other lines combined, and I think that this is largely (perhaps not entirely) attributable to the large number of dead-ends in colonial American ancestry, especially at the immigrant generation. I think that this partly explains why those having numerous ancestors traced in England from the 1800's might be more likely to find an early medieval descent than those who have few (or no) such ancestors.

Stewart Baldwin

Peter Stewart

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May 29, 2020, 8:04:45 PM5/29/20
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I wonder if the relative preponderance of Quakers in the early
population of colonial America compared to Australia and New Zealand,
and the un-emigrated in Britain, may be part of the reason for fewer
(and/or harder to trace) lines to Jacquetta of Luxemburg and other
"gateways" to European and other medieval ancestors.

People from non-conformist families in the 17th century were presumably
somewhat less likely to marry outside their own community than were
conforming religionists to marry across different socio-economic classes.

In my British ancestry from the Tudor period onwards there are entirely
Church of England and Presbyterian worshippers except for one line to a
family who were closely associated with John Wesley - yet even there,
one of the married couple who were his particular friends had an uncle
who was a bishop.

Religion has already enough to answer for in world history without
interfering with the study of medieval genealogy, but since some US
citizens believe themselves immune to the coronavirus because they are
"covered in the blood of Jesus", all bets are off.

Peter Stewart

Carl-Henry Geschwind

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May 29, 2020, 8:49:15 PM5/29/20
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On Friday, May 29, 2020 at 8:04:45 PM UTC-4, Peter Stewart wrote:

>
> I wonder if the relative preponderance of Quakers in the early
> population of colonial America compared to Australia and New Zealand,
> and the un-emigrated in Britain, may be part of the reason for fewer
> (and/or harder to trace) lines to Jacquetta of Luxemburg and other
> "gateways" to European and other medieval ancestors.

I don't think it is necessarily the case that there was a relative preponderance of Quakers in early colonial America (though they indeed were important in Pennsylvania and New Jersey). Rather, it is that Quakers and the Puritan Congregational churches are the only ones for whom abundant parish records are available for colonial America - there may be a few isolated Anglican and Lutheran/Dutch Reformed registers from the 18th century and some records pieced together from other ministers' diaries, but it is really only with the Quakers and the Puritans that you can use parish registers to trace back generation to generation in 18th-century America. That to me is the black hole of American genealogy - our Presbyterian (and very prolific) Scotch-Irish ancestors simply didn't keep any records, and the southern Anglicans weren't much better (for the better-off ones there you rely mostly on land and probate records - but many of those were burned during the Civil War).

Peter Stewart

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May 29, 2020, 8:59:31 PM5/29/20
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I meant a relative preponderance compared to the 19th-century settlers
in Australia and New Zealand, where Quakers and other non-conformist
congregations were at most _very_ sparsely represented.

As for the lack of Anglican and Presbyterian church registers, I suppose
that is an insurmountable problem if there are no wills or other
family-generated and -held records to make up the information deficit.
This is perhaps another difference between Australia/NZ and the USA -
geographic mobility across the north-American continent from east to
west in the 19th century may have played a part in the comparative
family-rootlessness of the US population today.

But from watching the TV program 'Who Do You Think You Are' it seems
that many people have little continuous knowledge in their families to
draw on, and more often legend that sometimes turns out to have at least
a kernel of fact behind it.

Peter Stewart

taf

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May 29, 2020, 9:26:56 PM5/29/20
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On Friday, May 29, 2020 at 5:49:15 PM UTC-7, Carl-Henry Geschwind wrote:
> On Friday, May 29, 2020 at 8:04:45 PM UTC-4, Peter Stewart wrote:
>
> >
> > I wonder if the relative preponderance of Quakers in the early
> > population of colonial America compared to Australia and New Zealand,
> > and the un-emigrated in Britain, may be part of the reason for fewer
> > (and/or harder to trace) lines to Jacquetta of Luxemburg and other
> > "gateways" to European and other medieval ancestors.
>
> I don't think it is necessarily the case that there was a relative
> preponderance of Quakers in early colonial America (though they indeed
> were important in Pennsylvania and New Jersey).

Yeah, I would say that Quakers were not all that consequential even in the states most known for having them (to which list I would add Rhode Island). My situation, coming from one of those supposedly-Quaker states, is about like those that have been described - Germans, 19th century English coal miners, famine Irish, immediate pre-Revolutionary War-era mystery Scots, and Colonial New Englanders (non-Quaker), with only the last a fertile ground for deep ancestry- tracing (only one 16th-century line in all the rest combined).

taf

JBrand

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May 29, 2020, 9:49:37 PM5/29/20
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In addition to burned counties of the Civil War south, there are two other things impeding southern genealogy in general:

(1) terrible rates of illiteracy until the early 20th century;
(2) terrible climate (hot/humid) which is hard on records.

Peter Stewart

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May 29, 2020, 9:54:42 PM5/29/20