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December '00 to February '01:

CP peers added in: I have spent three or four months almost solidly going through my file and updating the records for all barons in the tree. The number of barons started off at around 200 and has ended at around 500; this is because barons have fathers and they also have wives some of whom are descended from more barons. The number of people has increased too, because CP not only includes peers but also their wives and mothers in law and all the known ancestors of the early medieval peers; my file is now up to 9,500 people. In all this I remain very seriously impressed by CP: the whole edifice, buttressed up by volume XIV of course, seems to be very solidly based and I have adopted that policy of treating CP as The Authority, almost on the pinnacle that Aristotle was given in the middle ages.

The next step will be to go through the other peers, but I may give this a gap while I get on with a few other things, particularly my Open University course on (British) Family History in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Who should be included and who should be excluded from my file? CP gives such a massive resource that it is tempting to enter the competition to see how many people you can get in. My standard policy is to include all ancestors, their siblings and possibly the wives of such siblings. Second wives of ancestors do not get their own record unless they are related to someone else, they merely get a note. Now for the exceptions! The first one was the Twysden family where I have put in every known descendant of those ancestors; this is partly because no-one else seems to have any interest in them as the male lines have completely died out; this escalated to including many of the Bazalgettes, descendants and relations to the Twysdens, after finding that beautifully illustrated pedigree in the Society of Genealogists. A second exception is the Slaneys as I have copies of loads of wills, accumulated by my grandfather, and it would be a shame to lose all this. A third exception is the Sanders with another volume of will accumulated by my grandfather. The fourth exception is all the Powys relations, they are all in. The fifth exception is, naturally, where there is an Interesting Person among the relatives or in-laws. The sixth exception is where I have suspected there was a connection and quickly banged in the skeleton of a descendant line only to find it had no connection with subsequent relatives of ours.

But over-riding all this has been the policy that everyone has to be either an ancestor, a relation or an in-law. There is no-one in the file with no connection to my family.

Currently of the 9,500 in the file, the ancestors are 3,700, relations 3,500 and in-laws 2,300. The ratios between these do not feel wrong but I would be interested to exchange statistics with others.

Solving the problems left by CP: the problem with CP is that it is primarily interested in heirs. So, by and large, second sons and daughters do not get a mention. This leaves intriguing questions about whether some families from the same place and with the same name are related; here I must recommend two books that have been invaluable in solving these problems. The best, in may ways, has been Bodine and Spalding's "Ancestors of Dorothea Poyntz"; this is because it is not about descendants, like CP or the second book, but about ancestors; the authors have magnificently traced ancestors back to the 13th century and this, with CP, has cross linked and solved many puzzles. The second resource has been the invaluable "Plantagenet Ancestry of 17th century colonists" by Faris which, while having too many Plantagenets at its apex, has many people of less renowned families at its centres, providing many opportunities to link one with the other. Both these books are well researched, though not quite to the same methodology as CP, and are to be recommended to anyone with traceable medieval forbears.

Back to the 20th century: I have lost my great-great-grandfather, William Bartholomew; neither I nor anyone else can find when or where he died. I have done the BMD microfiches so I thought I would do the wills and went to the main indices on Holborn Avenue. Incredibly I found an entry, rather late, in 1917 for a William Bartholomew where the executor was clearly the lady whom I knew to be his daughter. Excitedly I ordered the will and had to wait the usual nail-biting week. But it was only his son, another William, who is said to have become a bookie. William the ostler and pub-keeper has yet to be found. There is a possibility that he went back to Scotland and died there, though he would not have known it as it is probable that he left there before he was five.

The Goodwin connection continues to trouble me and the CP research has made it worse. The problem is that Burke portrays a very interesting descent from the Ricketts family, of which I am a descendant, from some Goodwins of Upper Winchendon, Bucks. As yet I can find nothing to support this and I can find something that contradicts it. One of my searches has taken me to the new British Library (the facilities and service are excellent) but drew a blank there. The problem is that of the 3705 direct ancestors currently listed, 265 are only such because of this Goodwin connection. Further these Goodwin ancestors contain 13 of the 79 ancestral garter knights and ladies. Doubtless some of these ancestors would still be relations if the Goodwin link were removed but the fact that so many appear in CP makes it very tempting to ignore the problem. Currently, research continues so I am leaving them in. The two current avenues are getting sight of the bishops transcripts for Upper Winchenden (the registers are long since lost) and getting hold of the book of memorial inscriptions for Jamaica, which I discover was published by the Society of Genealogists some 20 years or so ago.

Family updates: At last I have gone through Alice Fairfax-lacy's book "Charlcote and the Lucys" and updated the information on the Lacy family. I have also done the same for The Poyntzes from Maclean's "Memoir of the Family of Poyntz". Unfortunately I got a generation wrong in each family so apologies to anyone who perused them.

The tables of Curios have been completely updated following the above. The numbers in every classification have increased. The table of statistics about ancestors, relations and in-laws in each of these classifications has been extended and recompiled.

The DNB entries have also been added to as I have spotted those who might have got an entry in these volumes, or, in my case, CDROM. I was pleased to learn from my cousin Christopher Briscoe that General John Smith had an entry; he is our nearest relative to gain this.

Finally I was trying to compose an attractive question for someone connected with the Lucy family to see if they could confirm the connection with Sir Philip Meadow's wife Constance Lucy and that family. The DNB entry adds in that the Earls Manvers descend also from Philip and Lucy so I dug this up to see who they were. This led to the incredible tale of Elizabeth Chudleigh, bigamist, who really seemed to know how to live like a lord. So I have included some extracts about her, her husband and her bigamously married husband. This is in the new section on Bigamy.

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