3 Feb: Coming to grips with FamilySearch, WEA
17 Feb: Tracing your English ancestors, Tea
Tree Gully Library 1:00pm.
SA Lonely Graves 3 CD
The 3rd edition of SA Lonely Graves will be available
from Gould Genealogy this month. It contains details of 1809 graves outside
cemeteries along with biographical information about the deceased. 585
graves have photographs.
Those holding previous editions can purchase the new edition at a discount
on presentation of their old CD.
Digitisation of the Census started last month with Co Dublin.
You can check the order in which counties are being processed at:the National
Archives of Ireland site.
Hindmarsh District BDM records
Hindmarsh District BDM records were returned to the Hindmarsh
Library at Port Road Hindmarsh in mid-December and they are no longer
at the Hindmarsh Historical Museum.
Proformat will be closed until 28 Jan 2008.
In this issue:
• SA Lonely Graves 3
District BDM records
perils of medieval genealogy research
perils of medieval genealogy research
The medieval period
(or Middle Ages) is considered to be that period of history that ended
with the advent of the Renaissance, that is about the 15th century. Some
scholars give the end a precise date linked to an event and commonly Columbus’
voyage to America in 1492 is widely accepted.
The key feature of the period has to be the feudal organisation of society.
In England we have a significant number of medieval records basically
generated by two government departments – Chancery (secretariat)
and Exchequer (treasury).
The volume of records is not the problem with research in this period
but rather identifying individuals.
The tried and tested principle of genealogy is that one works back one
generation at a time and confirms every fact with at least one, but preferably
two independent sources and this is just not possible with this era.
Researchers have a better chance if their ancestry links into a noble
family but even then many of their published pedigrees are fanciful as
they attempted to improve their social status by tenuous links to very
important people of the past.
Finding a familiar name in the Domesday Book for example, does not mean
that finding a matching surname in the same vicinity in a later 1390 poll
tax records (200+ years later) suggests a link and yet many medieval genealogists
will claim this.
this problem has to be the number of fraudulent pedigrees published in
the 19th century. Many well-to-do families were conned into parting with
their money for fanciful pedigrees linking them to famous people of the
past. They in turn published this fictitious material and that in turn
has been taken up by many modern researchers. Any book on peerages or
famous people containing pedigrees and especially those compiled from
public contributions, need to be treated with the utmost caution.
Anyone who suggests that they descend from Norman conquerors, will likely
have tagged their history onto one of these suspect genealogies unless
they have managed to clove themselves onto a royal tree. Ironically that
should not be difficult to do as some scholars have suggested that the
majority of living people with British ancestry descend from Edward III.
Proving, of course, it may be quite another matter. In fact I would go
as far as to say that living people are interrelated many times over.
For any two humans in history or today, it is not a question of do they
have a common ancestor, it is only a question of
how far back in time was the most recent one!
The number of estimated descendants of Edward III have been estimated
by some scholars as high as 80% of the present population of England.
Roderick W. Stuart claims millions of descendants of Edward III in America
alone: Edward III is the latest king from whom a large number of Americans
and Europeans can claim descent. His American posterity numbers in the
millions. [Stuart, 1998].
Mathematically this is quite easy to prove... In
1350 (the time of Edward
III) Europe's population
was estimated to be 70-100m. If we ignore marriages between relatives
regardless of how distant then everyone of us had one of us have more
ancestors than the whole population of
30 generations ago, namely 1,073,741,824.
The number of provable step by step descendants of Edward III is quite
another matter as previously alluded to above. Genealogist and author,
Melville Henry Massue the Marquis de Ruvigny in 1911 named 40,000 of such
people and estimated 100,000 trees could be done. Debrett's Guide
to Tracing your Ancestry by Noel Currer-Briggs and Royston Gambier
3rd ed 1990 says there are now more than 300,000 of such people living
Having said all that, it is still the task of the responsible genealogist
to work back in time, one generation by one generation, accumulating adequate
evidence of all the genealogical events and especially birth records.