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December 2004

I am more conscious than anything these last few months of distant relatives contacting me and providing information on both ancestors and relations. This more than anything is the advantage of running one's own website: people contact me to discuss points and almost invariably to extend my knowledge. Thanks to you all - and keep them rolling in!

Obviously it is invidious to single anyone out but that it not going to deter me. Perhaps the most enjoyable was hearing from Frances MacNeil: she is a descendant of the Powyses who went to Canada near the end of the 19th century and has obviously taken a keen interest in all her relatives, providing me with an enormous list of them. I should add that she was the exception, she does not use the internet and communicated by snail mail, having heard of me through a New Zealand relation. Our common ancestor is Henry Philip Powys, the last Powys to live at Hardwick House. She is descended from the youngest of the twelve children of his second marriage while I am descended from the only child of his first marriage. Nevertheless the family tree of our branch that I sent her in return still occupied two sheets of A2 sized paper, lengthwise and in small print.

At this juncture two things are worth mentioning. I would be delighted to send a printed tree of Powys relatives to any other such relative; just get in touch. Further such relatives may be disappointed not to find themselves in my public database, this is because I do not include living people without their permission. If you wish to be in the public domain, just let me know. Currently there are over 430 people on my database whom I have excluded from this site.

An intriguing brief exchange was had with Paul Welbank who is almost certainly a relative on my Trotter grandmother's side. I was delighted to find that he had information on our ancestors that were two generations further back than I had found. (Mind you I must add that I had not been looking very hard.) It seems that the Welbanks came from County Durham to become brokers in the city of London, yet another slice of Northern ancestry. Anyhow he has given me several leads to follow up, thanks.

I have had three people separately getting in touch about that long defunct family, the Barringtons of Hatfeild Broadoak, Essex. The tantalising temptation is to try to find a connection between this family and any other with the Barrington name. While I have accumulated some research on the these Barringtons, I remain unable to help them as the documentation is lacking for the other families. And as you get back to the 16th and earlier centuries, there is hardly any documentation to have survived at all.

I should add to anyone that the medieval newsgroup discussions continue to be as productive as ever. A few barbs may fly around but there is a mass of good research as well.

I spent a month or two re-examing those two excellent volumes of Keats-Rohan's, Domesday People and Domesday Descendants. This led to a few extra, no more than six, in the now 147 ancestors to be found who are in Domesday Book. Obviously some do have not quite such high probabilities as others, but they are all high.

Finally I have just updated the lists of heiresses. Over two years the database has increased by a half and so have the numbers of heiresses.

The main database now stands at 19,130 people.

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