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July 2009

Another long time since the last update. I have added a bare 500 people to the main database, a small number compared to recent updates. Most of those 500 have been relatively modern: 19th and early 20th centuries, but see below for these. The major work continues to be on heraldry, which is laborious but fairly satisfying in the artwork result.

I completely redesigned the heraldry section of this site to take advantage of the much faster web which allows speedy display of small graphics. I have also added in some large graphics. The opportunity was taken to illustrate several of the pages with coats of arms in the margins. A major work was to complete a ten year project, that of compiling a list of all the additional quarterings we could use, then thought to number 59. I gave all these arms their own achievement a copy of which is in the quarterings pages.

Having completed the additional list, I thought the time had come to do a proper job and make a full achievement of all the arms that we can quarter, omitting those the College of Arms must have incorrectly included and adding in the above. The first step of this was to do all the genealogy, and this brought in the surprise that the number of quarterings added up to 172, rather than the twice 59 plus 1, for the original validly inherited quarters, plus the additional ones plus the armiger. The extra quarters had mainly appeared because of more heiress lines to the same early armigers, so that we can, for instance, quarter the arms of Mellent eight times, those of Bellomont (or Beaumont) seven times, etc. Progress is slow, and as well as the genealogy, I have done the outline of the shield positioning and started to assemble the blazons. When the blazons are all done, I can start on doing the graphics.

I have been interested to find Lionel West, a distant relative, doing much the same sort of artwork for his far larger assembly of arms. His drawing methods are similar to mine though neither of us are artists. Perhaps I should write up to describe my methods at a later date and compare with his.

Lionel also raised the interesting case of the Barrington arms as born by a family that inherited the estate of a cadet line of Barringtons on condition that they adopted the Barrington name for ever. At first we assumed that this was a fairly standard name and arms clause but then the House of Lords Library produced the text of the Act of Parliament that made it all official and it was apparent from that that there was no mention of arms at all. So what should these Barringtons have done? One thing they did not do was go to the College of Arms, at lease not from the books of grantees of arms (Harleian 67 and 68). But they got various people to make some splendid Monuments in churches complete with arms, so we can see what they thought they should be doing.

I have got fed up with the various Jane Austin societies getting our surnames wrong, so have added a page to illustrate and discuss this error.

Extensions of our knowledge of 19th century relations were made by these who got in touch with me: Linda Holewa about our mutual Wetherall of Dublin ancestry, Vyvyan Lord likewise, Jane Nantais continued very productively on our Hallifax and Lathom connections, Brenda Graham has brought up some interesting research on our Hudig and Larwood ancestors from eighteenth century Amsterdam.

In order to get the geneealogy tables updated, I decided to write a program to allow people to search by surname initial letter, which saves the delays of downloading the same single surname file every time. Previously I had made the midifcations by hand and it took me a day each time. I am rusty on programming and estimated it would take me about three days, therby paying off after three updates. In fact it took around six days but does in two or three minutes what previously took a day, marvellous! And I no longer have to remember all the details of the manual transformations.

Finally we had a lovely walk round South Farm earlier this summer and at last I managed to take a few pictures and put them on this site. It is in spectacular and varied countryside that hardly anyone knows about.

Will it be next year before I put pen to this paper again?

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