Monday, 26 May 2014

Finding Printed Pedigrees and Family Histories

The Genealogical Dark Ages?

Back in the days before the advent of the personal computer and the internet, we would have found our genealogical forebears hard at work in their local archives hunting through original records for the documentary traces of their ancestors - or would we?

Today if I go hunting my ancestors at any of the online sites, such as Ancestry or The British Newspaper Archive, as well as original records such as births, wills or newspaper articles I also use finding aids such as Pallot's Index to Marriages or the National Probate Calendar. These were produced either by the original holders of the records such as the Probate Registry or by those who needed indexes to enable them to undertake their business such as Messrs Pallot and Co who were record agents.

At Family Search today you can also look at pedigrees or family trees constructed by contributors to the site. However, what did you do if you wanted to look at pedigrees which had already been researched before the convenience of the internet?

Nature, Origin and Purpose of these Sources

These sources are indexes of pedigrees which have been documented in a variety of places including heraldic visitations, county histories, biographies, local periodicals and guides and a variety of published and unpublished books and pamphlets.Many of these documents have been privately published and therefore are of very limited circulation. The pedigrees mentioned in texts such as "The Genealogist’s Guide" can be difficult to find as the references can be codified in the abbreviations of the time which are less well known today. Whitmore's "A Genealogical Guide" provides some help in this regard but even if you can decipher the references then you may find it difficult to find the original document. For example, Whitmore includes "Descent of My Family (J. H. Hoare, 1903)" a privately printed pedigree which I have been unable to find any reference to.

G W Marshall LLD FSA (1903) The Genealogist’s Guide

George William Marshall, LLD FSA (1839–1905) was an officer of arms, serving the College of Arms as Rouge Dragon Pursuivant from 1887–1904, and as York Herald from 1904–1905. Marshall compiled large collections of wills, pedigrees, registers, church notes and other genealogical material, 32 volumes of which were bequeathed to the College of Arms under his will.

The Genealogist’s Guide is limited to an index of "pedigrees" defined by Marshallas "any descent of three generations in the male line". This very much reflects the patriarchal nature of genealogy at the end of the 19th century which had arisen out of a need for pedigrees to prove line of descent and support primogeniture. Interestingly this can also be seen in the all male membership list at the beginning of the Society of Genealogists as reported in the Pedigree Register in September 1911 (Edited by George Sherwood (1910-1913) “The Society of Genealogists of London” in the The Pedigree Register [The official organ of The Society of Genealogists of London.]. Vol. II, Pages 186-189. London: Published by the Editor.). Indeed in the December 1907 copy of the Pedigree Register there appeared an article entitled "Hereditary Tendencies in Female Descents" which whilst suggesting that more attention be paid to maternal lines also made it clear the reasons were to understand 'female traits':
"If greater attention were given to female descents it is more than probable that [she] might be aware that certain traits in her character, tendencies connected with child-bearing, etc., had descended in her family ... from mother to daughter."
(Edited by George Sherwood (1907-1910) "Hereditary Tendencies in Female Descents" in the The Pedigree Register. Vol. I, Pages 49-52. London: Published by the Editor.)

The Genealogist's Guide (Page 408 - Part)

At first glance this is a confusing mixture of publication titles and abbreviations which may have been well known to genealogist's in Marshall's day but are less well known today to users of online indexes. However once it is transcribed (with the essential assistance of the introduction and abbreviations found in Whitmore below), laid out with each reference on a separate line and the abbreviations expanded fully then the citations to pedigrees become easier to understand and therefore to find [see italicised expansions in square brackets].
  1. Pedigrees and Memoirs of the family of Hoare, by Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart. Bath, 1819, 4to. [Collected and compiled by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. (1819) Pedigrees and Memoirs of the Families of Hoare of Rushford, Co. Devon; Hoare of Walton, Co. Bucks; Hoare of London; Hoare of Mitcham; Hoare of Stourton; Hoare of Barn Elms; Hoare of Boreham, Co. Essex. Privately printed for his Family and Friends. Bath. Imperial Quarto (10-12"). 64 pages.]
  2. Some Account of the Early History and Genealogy of the Families of Hore and Hoare, by Edward Hoare. London, 1883, 4to. [Edward Hoare Esq. (1883) Some account of the early history and genealogy, with pedigrees from 1330, unbroken to the present time, of the families of Hore and Hoare with all their branches : ... with anecdotes ... of the principal persons mentioned. London. Alfred Russel Smith. Quarto (10-12")]
  3. Gentleman's Magazine, 1838, ii. 28. [Sylvanus Urban, Gent. (1838) "Stourton Church, Wiltshire; and the Sepulchral Memorials of the Family of Hoare (with a plate)". The Gentleman's Magazine. Volume X New Series, July to December Inclusive. London. William Pickering; John Bowyer Nichols and Son. Page 28]
  4. Burke's Landed Gentry, (of Cliff,) 5 supp., 6, i, 8 (of Kelsey,) 8.
  5. Harleian Society, viii. 481. [G W Marshall, LLD, FSA, Editor. (1873) Harleian Society Visitation Series, Vol 8: Le Neve's Pedigrees of the Knights made by King Charles II, King James II, King William III and Queen Mary, William alone, and Queen Anne. Harleian Society. London. Page 481]
  6. Harleian Society, ix. 100. [Lt-Colonel John Lambrick Vivian and Henry H Drake MA PhD, Editors (1874) Harleian Society Visitation Series, Vol 9: The Visitation of the County of Cornwall in the year 1620. Harleian Society. London. Page 100]
  7. Lipscombe's History of the County of Buckingham, iv. 390. [George Lipscomb (1847), The history and antiquities of the county of Buckingham, Volume 4, Page 390]
  8. Hoare's Wiltshire, I. i. 61, 62. [Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. (1822) The History of Modern Wiltshire, Vol 1. Part i (Mere). Pages 61 and 62. London. John Bowyer Nichols and John Gough Nichols.]
  9. Hoare's Wiltshire, V. iii. 13. [Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. (1837) The Ancient History of Wiltshire, Vol 5. Part iii (Addenda to the Several Hundreds and General Index to the Whole Work.) Page 13. London. John Bowyer Nichols and John Gough Nichols.]
  10. Betham's Baronetage, iv. 177. [William Betham (1804) The Baronetage of England: Or The History of the English Baronets, and Such Baronets of Scotland, as are of English Families; with Genealogical Tables, and Engravings of Their Armorial Bearings. Volume 4, Page 177 Ipswich : Printed by Burrell and Bransby, for William Miller.]
  11. The Visitations of Cornwall, edited by J. L. Vivian, 232. [With additions by Lt-Colonel John Lambrick Vivian. (1887) "Hoare of Trenouth" The Visitations of Cornwall Comprising The Heralds' Visitations of 1530, 1573 and 1620. Exeter: William Pollard and Co. Page 233]
  12. New England Register, xvii. 149. [Henry Fritz-Gilbert Waters (1863) "A Sketch of the Early Members of the Hoar family at Middleborough, Mass." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Albany: J Munsell. Volume XVII, Page 149]
  13. History of the Wilmer Family, 259. [Charles Wilmer Foster and Joseph J. Green (1888) History of the Wilmer family together with some account of its descendants. Priv. print. Leeds. Goodall and Suddick. Page 259]
  14. Aldred's History of Turville, 47. [Henry William Aldred (1894) The ancient and modern history of Turville in the county of Bucks, shewing the history of Turville - St. Alban's manor ... also history of Turville - court manor ... the whole forming a valuable and interesting history of the parish compiled by Henry W. Aldred. Camberwell  Priv. print. for H.W. Aldred. Page 47]
See Hore.
Many of these old publications being out of copyright can now be found online at a variety of websites. For example a fully digitised copy of "Some Account of the Early History and Genealogy of the Families of Hore and Hoare" (item 2 above) is available at the Internet Archive. This was particularly interesting for me as the document identified that in the Domesday Book a village (modern day Ower) was known as "Hore". I am currently a long way from tracing my Hampshire Hoare family back to the village of Hore in 1086 however it is certainly motivating.

Entry for Hore in the Domesday Book
(image kindly made available by Professor J.J.N. Palmer. Image may be reused under a Creative Commons BY-SA licence - please credit Professor J.J.N. Palmer and George Slater.)

As well as the Internet Archive many other old publications are available on Google books. Lipscombe's History of the County of Buckingham (item 7 above) for example, can be found there and below is shown both the family narrative (Page 359) and the pedigree chart for this Hoare family (Page 360).

 The Family of Hoare

 The Family of Hoare

Another excellent source for old out of copyright publications is the Family History Library Catalog of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Item 11 above "The visitations of Cornwall : comprising the Heralds' visitations of 1530, 1573, & 1620" and other published visitations can be found here amongst other genealogical gems.

J B Whitmore BA FSA FSG (1953) A Genealogical Guide: An Index to British Pedigrees in Continuation of Marshall's Genealogists's Guide (1903)

Major John Beach Whitmore, BA FSA FSG (1882-1957) was a compiler of a range of genealogical records, abstracts and indexes especially monumental inscriptions and London Visitation pedigrees.

Whitmore's outstanding piece of work was "A Genealogical Guide" which updated Marshall's work to include pedigrees published from 1903 up until between 1945-1948 when Whitmore compiled his Guide.

A Genealogical Guide (Page 257 - Part)

Like The Genealogist's Guide, the entries in Whitmore  like the one above are also a confusing mixture of publication titles and abbreviations. Unlike Marshall however, Whitmore provides a detailed introduction of nearly thirty pages which clearly lays out what has been included in his work and why. It also provides an explanation of the citations used and a list of abbreviations. I therefore have not reinterpreted the the list above but just extracted each of the entries below. The introduction is also useful when trying to interpret Marshall's work.
  1. Memoirs of Samuel Hoare by his Daughter Sarah and his Widow Hannah (F. R. Fryer, 1911), p. xv.
  2. Hoare's Bank, A Record, 1673-1932 (n.a., 1932).
  3. The Hoar Family in Americaand Its English Ancestry (H. S. Nourse, Boston, 1899).
  4. London Vis. Peds. 1664, Harl Soc. xcii, 78.
  5. Misc. Gen. and Her., 5th Ser., ii, 233.
  6. Ruvigny (Tudor), 271, 272.
  7. Ruvigny (Exeter) 196.
  8. Ruvigny (Essex) 264.
  9. Ruvigny (Tudor), 271, 272; (Exeter) 196; (Essex) 264; (Mortimer-Percy) 369.
  10. Barber of The Peak, 239.
  11. Erminois, 79.
  12. Memorials of an Ancient House, 87.
  13. NorfolkFams., 347.
  14. Kerry Arch. Mag., iv, 198.
  15. Tickell Family, 102.
  16. Buttevant, i, 36, 39.
  17. ** Descent of My Family (J. H. Hoare, 1903).
** Circumstances prevented Whitmore examining some privately printed family histories the existence of which was known to him from notices in booksellers catalogues and elsewhere: these he marked with a double asterisk. Whitmore also stated that other family histories which he had been unable to examine will be found in "A Catalogue of British Family Histories (Theodore Radford Thomson, 1928: 2nd Ed. 1935)" which was reprinted in a 3rd edition with Addenda in 1980.

G B Barrow (1977) The genealogist's guide: an index to printed British pedigrees and family histories, 1950-1975 being a supplement to G W Marshall’s Genealogist's Guide and J B Whitmore’s Genealogical Guide

Geoffrey Battiscombe Barrow (1927-2002) was in the antiquarian book trade, having been Cataloguer of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books for the famous bookseller Bernard Quaritch Ltd. Barrow's earlier work "A History of the Battiscombe and Bascom Families of England and America" is one of the very publications which these indexes refer to and it appears both under Battiscombe and Bascom on page 11.

The Genealogist's Guide (Page 84 - Part)

  1. Surrey Arch. Coll., L, 127;
  2. Burke, L.G., I, 385; 111, 460.

T R Thomson (1980) A Catalogue of British Family Histories 3rd Edition with Addenda

Theodore Radford Forrester Thomson (1897-1981) was a Fellow and Honorary Librarian of the Society of Genealogists. His Catalogue of British family Histories was first published in 1928. His other publications included the "History of the Family of Thomson of Corstophine".

A Catalogue of British Family Histories (Pages 84 and 85 - Part)

Hoare –
  1. Pedigrees and Memoirs of the Family of Hore ... Hoare ... comp. by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bt., fo., Bath, 1819.*
  2. Some Account of ... the Families of Hore and Hoare, by Capt. Edward Hoare of Cork, 4to, London, 1883.
  3. History of my Family .... by J. N. Hoare, 1903.
*An asterisk denotes 'privately printed'.

Using Printed Pedigrees

You would not just copy someone else's tree from Ancestry or from a Family Search pedigree and equally you should not assume that these pedigrees are automatically correct. These pedigrees will however provide you with ample pointers to look for other primary evidence which can help you reliably trace your family history.

Where else to look

Many genealogical societies, archives and libraries hold collections of documents which include pedigrees. My favourite is the library of the Society of Genealogists (SOG).
"The Society of Genealogists collects printed and published family histories as well as unpublished material in typescript or manuscript form. Family histories and pedigrees can be found all over the library and of course online. Hence there is no one place to look, whether at the Society of Genealogists, or on the Internet. The Document Collection contains thousands of unique miscellaneous manuscript research notes arranged by surname. These notes (or microfiche or digital copies of the notes)  are available in the archive section of the Lower Library where you will find a printed list of all the surnames represented.  An alphabetical list of the surnames and families in the Document Collection can also  be found on the SOG website."
SOG also has an excellent guide to " Surname Searching at the SoG and Elsewhere. What’s Been Done Before?" available online at their website.

Pedigrees for Other Places

Marshall, Whitmore, Barrow and Thomson dealt primarily with English and Welsh pedigrees but there are similar finding aids for Scottish and Irish published pedigrees, which I will discuss in a later post.

So have you ever used a pedigree finding aid? What did you find? Was it accurate?

Tell us all about it in comments below.

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