Not all this genealogy is as good as I would like...

1. The worst problem is the supposed descent of Mary Goodwin from the baron Greys of Wilton, a line that goes back to the dawn of uncivilisation as we know it. Mary Goodwin married a William Ricketts and a hundred and thirty years later her descendant Eliza Ricketts married Robert Hallifax, the g-g-grandfather of my grandmother Muriel Hallifax. I only discovered this line in mid 2000.

The information that Mary Goodwin was descended from the Grey family is found originally in Burke's "Commoners" of 1834 odd. It merely said that she was the granddaughter of Francis Goodwin who did indeed marry a Grey heiress. But in his will Francis refers to his heir Arthur as his "dear and only sonne", implying that there was no son who could have been his and also Mary's father.

My temporary solution until I have come to a final conclusion is to make Mary's father, believed to be Robert, the son of an unknown wife of Francis, thus removing her from the Grey descent. Currently I am trying to obtain the parish registers of Winchenden, Bucks where the Goodwins had their principal residence.

2. A far lesser problem, because there is no contradictory evidence, is the descent of the Trotters, my paternal grandmother's family, from Joan Beaufort. This was originally sketched out by my grandfather and must have been a remarkable tour-de-genealogy to have found as I have not seen this line suggested anywhere else. It may be that there was a tradition in the Trotter family but I have not seen a hint of it anywhere and they usually put that sort of thing into Burke.

The ascent from the Trotters via some Stewarts to the Carmichael family is fairly secure; I have obtained other, albeit secondary, documentation to confirm it. And Joan Beaufort was indeed the ancestress of Matthew Stewart, earl of Lennox. The problem comes with Matthew's daughter Elizabeth who is said, mostly, to have married Hugh Campbell of Loudoun; some documentation says Hugh married a Margaret Stewart; he may have done so for a first wife; I have yet to find anything to clarify the unclear statement in the Scots peerage and in Douglas' peerage.

That Hugh Campbell's daughter Marion married Sir James Carmichael and that their granddaughter Marian married James Stewart of Daldowie and Allantoun seems fairly certain. So I have left all this in, hoping one day that someone, or even me, turns up the appropriate documents to confirm what seems to be generally accepted.

3. The final area of work that my grandfather left behind and which I have yet to check out is the ancestors of his wife's mother. In one envelope I found several pieces of headed notepaper giving the pedigree back to the 17th century in one or twolines. As ever he included no hint of where he got this from. As ever, in view of his undoubted competence in coming up with accurate information, I have included it all. But with a note to myself that it requires confirmation from somewhere.

A tiny amount of progress has been made. We found William Steadman Gillett, grandfather to my grandmother, in the 1881 census. More remarkably I have found an outpost of Gilletts in Kent in the LDS Vital Records CDROMs; this gives the parishes where they were born so tells me where to look. And the LDS information precisely corroborated my grandfather's, so there is hope that both may be right.

So all the pieces of paper from that envelope have been left in my files.

4. On my mother's side of the family I had found in that useful compendium Betham's Baronetage, a lengthy descent of the Baynes from antiquity and from one of their distaffs, the Roberts, from an ancient saxon presence. I am not so happy with this as I was. I fear that Betham was as able as Burke was later to accept some impressive genealogies from his correspondents without any checks.

Perhaps I should accept some entertaining advice to a young genealogist, to do your research and then after two years, to tear it all up and start again; one's standards improve with time.

For the rest of the files, I am reasonably happy that I have found acceptable evidence, if only from a competent researcher, for virtually everybody. Now that I have added this section on the dodgy bits, I'll be able to add to it as I spot anything that is less than reasonably supported.

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