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September '00: I retired. From paid employment that was. Giving a tad more time for this sort of thing. The major work was at last to produce a decent version of the incredible, in several ways, drawing of 64 of his armorial quarterings for my grandfather, done by the College of Arms around 1928. I had tried to take a photo with my digital camera but it was a farce, no detail and the colours were wrong. I had, in a scrap book of my grandfather's, a black and white photo, somewhat larger than foolscap so thus in excellent detail, but stained in several places. Anyhow this I scanned in and got to work. In effect I redrew the whole thing, using the colours from the blazons in Fox-Davies' Armorial Families and from the poor digital photograph. I redrew all the lines to geometric precision and tidied up all the lettering. The result is in the Heraldry section.

For some unknown reason, you know how it is, I got drawn back to Faris' "Seventeenth Century Colonists", a scholarly account of loads of families with medieval roots. The value of it to an Englishman is that his descents go through the gentry of England as it was these that left for the States. It is not, as so many books like this are, a roll of superior peers. So it includes connections to families where some stayed behind and some went overseas and fortunately we have some link to not a few of these families. Obviously, quite a few days of poring through, starting at page 1 and going to page 394, taking whatever I could from wherever I could find it. I think I found a few odd-balls in his account, a Maurice Berkeley who was son of Maurice, a Courtenay who had KG and was an ancestor - both of these seem incorrect by reference to other works of scholarship; but this is not to detract from an obviously painstaking labour. I have taken the liberty of using Faris as a principal reference for the veracity of people in our genealogy.

It also led me to find that we share, with countless others, a descent from the Champernoun family of Cornwall. The interest in this is the painstaking research into this family that Ronny Bodine published on the internet a year of so back; at the time I was seriously impressed but sad that I could not use it. Now I am grateful to the many archives of the newsgroups so that I can recover old communications I had failed to copy in the past. Thanks, Ronny.

And that led me back to Ronny's excellent pedigree of the Poyntz family, starting, backwards, with their link to the Owsleys. More updating.

I also found a bit more of a sad lady, the sister of an ancestress, who was executed by hanging judge Jeffreys in 1685. She was over 70 at the time and had taken in some renegade who was on the run. She had always taken people in, from whatever political persuasion. Apparently a servant of hers split on this, she was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. Very soon afterwards, though it was of no use to her, parliament repealed the sentence. Alice Beckonshaw she was. I think she was the last, of the 44 who I have found to have suffered this terminal fate over the centuries, of our ancestors and relatives to have been executed.

All this updating has extended the knowledge of those who had unusual features, at least as seen from this late point in time. So I have added a table of the counts of the executed, the regicides, the garters, etc to the genealogy section, within Curios. Strikingly the number of regicides is up by two; I wonder how many more will be found to be related after a few more years of these investigations? The actual tables themselves, of these various curios, have yet to be updated - shortly, I promise!

My late employers generously added a cash present to the various other monies I received. This coincided with the news that there is to be a reprint of GEC's Complete Peerage. So Heraldry Today have gratefully accepted my deposit for same and it is thus to become my leaving present from the late employers.

My historian cousin came up with a delightful account of the matriarchal wedding veil. It originated around 1850 and has been passed from eldest daughter to eldest daughter and was last used for one of his daughters a couple of years ago. It gave him the opportunity to investigate further the antecedents of the original wearer and to then write it up. I discovered that my mother had worn it too; curious that she had never told us about it, perhaps she thought none of us (boys) would be the slightest bit interested in veils? I may be joining him in a trip to Ireland to find out more of the Hamiltons who were the first owners.

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