I am really in favour of the medieval genealogy discussion group (soc.genealogy.medieval or the Rootsweb mailing list, GEN-MEDIEVAL-L). Generally the standard of contribution seems to be rising all the time (or perhaps I am now more able to appreciate it) and Douglas Richardson is continually giving us tastes of the discoveries he has made and which will be in his new books. Anyhow Douglas came up with a new descent from Robert Fitz Walter through the Herdeburgh and Boteler families; this gave us yet another magna carta surety and I then scrambled around Complete Peerage to see if I could find the last, that from Geoffrey de Say - and I did! (don't ask me why I had not found it before?). There are seventeen, of the original twenty-five, sureties who are known to have descendants to this day and we now, almost certainly, descend from all seventeen. I shall await with enormous interest Douglas Richardson's new volume on the surety descents, due out later in 2002.
On the bad side (but problems lead to solutions, don't they) an injudicious note by me to soc.gen.med led to a question about some fundamental facts. It turned out that I had two people, both of almost the same name, in my files when they were in fact one. I had one of the people married to hopelessly the wrong person. Unscrambling this led to combining two branches and thus giving closer relationships. Further I went through all my entries to see if there were any more; there were, at least five; again tidying these up led to more, closer relationships.
Reviewing the events, I think that some of the problem was that one of each pair was entered some years ago and then completely forgotten about when the second was found; possibly the names were not identical. At least with computer files it should be easier to find people with similar names; I shudder to think of the results of keeping all records on paper. Perhaps this proves that I do not have the facility most useful to a historian, that of remembering many names and dates; not for nothing did I give an enormous sigh of relief when I dropped History from my knapsack of subjects for O level.
So, here's a warning: I make mistakes because I cannot remember everything, I can hardly remember anything even. Do not take anything on this site for gospel!
Moving on rapidly to a less gloomy subject, I have been aware of the Testamenta Vetusta volumes for some years, ever since Mike Gallafent sent me a copy of a St John will from it. So I was delighted to find a copy available at a second-hand bookseller. One thing led to another and the two volumes have now been scanned by Rod Neep's Archive CD Books and will shortly be on CDROM and on sale.
I ambled around Burke's Commoners again and in the search facility (on CDROM) entered the splendid name of Tabitha Prickett, one of our six times great grandmothers, and was delighted to find her family and her and her husband, William Baynes, all mentioned therein; so I added those that I did not already have. Her maternal grandfather, Leonard Thompson, was reportedly lord mayor of York in 1649 and 1659, another bit of checking to be done.
I had promised myself to find out more on the Gilletts, a paternal great-grandmother's forbears. I then came across a further notebook of my grandfather's containing reams of Gilletts most of whom were, as he found, of no relation. But he had included several more of the Gillett relations and it occurred to me that some might just be in the 1881 census - and they were. Then from another of Rod Neep's CDROMs, Foster's Alumni Oxoniensis (AO), I found that my Gillett great-great-grandfather had himself been at Oxford in 1818, which surprised me as something had given me the impression that he was a self-made man. AO also gave the name, Gabriel, of his father and his address at that time. Interestingly the name Gabriel occurred fitfully amongst his other descendants in the 1881 census. Anyhow this all gives my grandfather's Gillett researches a little more underpinning.
The same Alumni Oxoniensis included Francis Lucy and gave his wife as Elizabeth Molesworth, though she was in Alice Fairfax Lucy's "Charlecote and the Lucys". There is still a credibility gap between this Francis and the Francis Lucy who was the father of Constance Lucy who married Philip Meadows. The only confirming evidence that we have is a coat of arms for Philip Meadows which impales his wife's, who bears those of Lucy (with a charge of three lucies - fishes - or). Perhaps I ought to add Francis Lucy's will to the list of things to find; reportedly he died in 1697 at the very ripe old age of 97, yet to be exceeded by any of his descendants (in our branch anyhow); he was buried in Hammersmith old church.
Talking of credibility gaps reminds me that I have closed off one. I had included the ancestors of a Christopher Roberts who appears in the Baynes ancestry. This was only listed as a footnote in Betham's Baronetage so I think even he was none too enamoured of it. They have now been relgated to a note within Christopher Robert's entry.