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May 2010

A little bit less time since the last update. I have added 1200 people to the main database, mainly descendants of Hans Hamilton (1535-1608). Most of those 1200 have been relatively modern: 19th and early 20th centuries, but see below for these. The major work though has been the serious relaunch of the Powys-Lybbe quarterings, being the product of a thirteen year ambition and project.

What is most pleasing is that constant practice has made me far quicker and better at redoing the displays of quarterings. When, in 2000, I first tried to do a computer graphics version of the original artwork done by the College of Arms, it took me three months of fairly continuous work, enabled by the fact that I had just retired. That was to do 64 quarterings. In March this year I did 208 quarterings inside three days.

The difference is due to two facts. First that the original thrash in 2000 involved creating separate images for all the charges on the 64 coats of arms. Many of those charges were used for the rest of the 123 separate coats, some of the others were easily found and the remainder I had to draw at some time over the last year. Second I had changed from a painting package to a geometric drawing package; the latter makes it far easier to lay the quarterings out precisely and copy images in and place them also precisely. The result was a stunning presentation that a local print shop printed in lovely rich colour. There is a lead to this on the home page of my site.

In the closing days of this project I found excellent documentation for the Warde family of Givendale and Guiseley, Yorks, researched most precisely by William Paley Baildon in his book "Baildon and the Baildons". Not only did this book give me the Warde arms, as we quarter those, but it also led to yet another Domesday ancestor, Losward, ancestor of the Jollan Nevilles (who were not Nevilles at all, at least not in the male line, though there are indications that one of the wives was a Neville) of Pickhill, Yorks, through C T Clay's Early Yorkshire charters plus his early Yorkshire Families. I can still remember the thrill on finding some ten years ago that we had four ancestors mentioned in Domesday; now that number has reached a remarkable 168, with a further 33 being relatives or in-laws.

Late in 2009 Graeme Wall got in touch with me again regarding the Kenricks of Wrexham and the excellent study of Nonconformism in that town by Alfred Neobard Palmer in his "Older Nonconformity of Wrexham"; this gave good documentation for many of the eighteenth century Kenricks. Somehow this led me to find Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae which had significant studies of the Hamilton ancestors of these Kenricks such that I became confident that they were indeed descendants of the vicar. Graeme has done a serious study of all the Kenrick ancestors and descendants and I was then able to add a load of Kenricks to the descendants of Hans Hamilton, the vicar of Dunlop, Ayrshire. My prize of a year's free use of FindMypast enabled me to corroborate the nineteenth and some twentieth century descendants. It lead to a whole bevy of luminati that Graeme had found: Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister, his half-brother Austin, Foreign Secretary, and Samuel Courtauld, founder of the Courtauld Institute. RA Butler, the architect of the Tory postwar revival married Samuel Courtauld's sister so their children are Kenrick descendants.

Similarly Lord Longford married a Kenrick descendant so their children too are Kenrick and Hamilton descendants. A separate lode of Hamilton descendants came from finding that one had married an earl of Roden; their children married all over the great and the good, littering the pages of Burkes peerage with descendants and adding, at last, a couple of dukes, of Devonshire, to these mementoes of ancient powers in the land. So I continue adding Hamilton descendants in a desultory way, spurred on by the fact that work has at last started on restoring the vicar's mausoleum.

I have recently made a significant acquisition: Volume VI of Early Yorkshire Charters, so that I now have the complete set of 12 volumes plus the separate index volume to Vols I to III. Perhaps it has taken seven years to complete the set. One day fairly soon I will go through them from cover to cover. They were already useful in establishing the Warde connections, above.

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