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June 2003

The Visitations have hardly got a look in this quarter. I got to the Yorkshire visitation and found it so depressing that I was glad to be distracted. The depression was due to the habit of its author of including very long pedigrees that I knew to be erroneous for some and concluded could be just as wrong for others. Perhaps it was because of visitaions such as this that the rule was introduced of only recording the two generations prior to the interviewee. This excellent rule is still being followed as I have found with trying to update our family's records in the College of Arms.

I mentioned in March that I was ready to go to the College, armed with all the relevant information. I did, and fell at the first fence. I had not realised that birth dates and places were required not only of the descendants of my paternal grandfather but also of all their spouses. It has taken until last week to get all this from the various ex-spouses. During my visit there I was shown the record room and some of the records held of our family. The most striking thing was that the artwork in these record books was as good as that supplied to the punters. The handwritten script was equally elegant and a pleasure to see. More practically, we also found they had some records of the Trotters of Kettleshiel and Horton, Surrey with only one generation missing between them and the Trotters ancestors that I had already established. Further, thanks to the British Vital Records, prepared so well by the LDS, I knew I could locate the marriage and birth of the missing generation; St James' Westminster was the place and the City of Westminster Archives Service sent me the needed photocopies before I had got the extortionate £3 fee to them! Now we have joined up Trotter genealogy in the College of Arms.

It occurs to me that not all the early Powys genealogy in the College will be joined up and when I have got over the inevitable shock of the fees for the latest exercise, I might look into that and see what they have. I remain particularly interested to find out what first record they have of the Powys arms, as what has been found externally to the College is not very auspicious.

Back to real genealogy. I have at last obtained a copy of Ian Sanders excellent "English Baronies" and spent a furious month going through it armed also with Keats-Rohan's two books and with Complete Peerage to try to make sense of Sanders' taut writing style. When you consider that there are only 151 pages in Sanders' book, you may be surpised that it took me so long - and I hasten to add that it was fairly full time as I am retired. I got to the end and was stuck by how many links to Domesday he was suggesting, so I then started from cover to over of Keats Rohan's "Domesday People" to see how many could be linked in to the main database. I have ended up with 119 (or so) ancestors who are in Domesday, though I must confess that a few of these lines warrant further examination. Shall we say that it is 119 plus or minus a dozen or so?

One of the families whose reported information caused much grief was the Lacies of Weobley, Herefords. As a point of methodology I had been assuming that each later writer (of the CP authors, Sanders and Keats-Rohan) was aware of the earlier work. For the Lacies another good resource came into play, "The Lacy Family"" by Wightman, much quoted by Keats-Rohan. But it seems that neither he nor Keats-Rohan had seriously examined the important paragraphs in Complete Peerage on the Munchensy family (CP IX, 424-6). Anyhow Chris Phillips (see his superb site www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk) is on this case and is trying to find some early Llanthony cartularies in Kew to see if he can resolve the differences.

A final word is on a new branch of cousins, the Trotters of the USA. They are descended, like us, from the William Trotter whose name was originally Brown before he inherited Horton Manor, Surrey. Our descent is from William T's son Henry Eden (1844-1892), theirs is from another son, Alexander Kenyon (1846-1891) who had a son Alexander William Lewis (1870-1916) who served in the British Army for some years, emigrated to the USA and then returned to fight in the first world war, losing his life in 1916. Even better news, they know something of the senior Trotter family, that of William Sampson and have told me that there is another branch from another son of William Trotter living in Surrey, not far from us. The internet continues to draw the extended families back together again and these are the first Trotter cousins I have located: good news!

But on a sad note these welcome discoveries bring to three the number of related Trotters who died in the first world war, my great uncle Ronald, Alexander, this first cousin twice removed and finally a very distant Archibald Trotter, fifth cousin twice removed who lost his life very early, on the 31st December 1914.

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