Tag Archives: British

Double Dating

double dating genealogyIf you’ve been doing any genealogy research from the 1500s until the mid 1700s, particularly in any English or early American regions, you may have noticed a little anomaly with the way dates were recorded. Specifically, dates with 2 years. A date such as “January 6th, 1692/3” would be such an example. In genealogy, this is known as double dating.

I found several instances of this personally, and always attributed it to some sort of clerical error or even that the year was being estimated. But after a while, I started to wonder and did a little further research. There was quite an interesting story behind this after all. (more…)

04 Mar 2013

The Complete Peerage

My latest addition to my genealogy library of resources has been a CD copy of”The Complete Peerage”, compiled by G.E. Cokayne. It was originally a 14-volume collection of texts with the full title “The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant & Extinct or Dormant.” It documents all the noble titles (Earls, Dukes, Barons, etc. ) through the history of Britain between the 1100s up until contemporary additions in the 1900s.

Like most antique books, the Complete Peerage CD is a collection of scanned pages from the originals. The volumes are arranged in alphabetical order so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding who you need. You do need to know that the entries are done by the name of the Barony or the Earldom, not by the actual family names of the individuals. This can be a little tough if you don’t know the names of your ancestor’s titles, but it is worth browsing through even if this is the case. (more…)

11 Jan 2013

Hemophilia in the Royal Family

hemophilia in the royal family

Queen Victoria and her hemophilia legacy

You can pass down photographs, stories, belongings, land or titles to your descendants to create a lasting legacy of your life. Unfortunately, there are a few other things that can also be passed down through families. And that would be illness. Many diseases are transmitted from mother to offspring, leading to an interesting aspect to one’s family tree.

One of the best known cases of where genealogy and disease can mix is the strain of hemophilia that wound its way through the European royal families from the 1800s to the 1900s. (more…)

20 Dec 2012

Reading Medieval Handwriting

reading medieval handwriting

Example of medieval handwriting

Finding very old hand-written documents is one of the highlights in genealogy, but if you can’t read Medieval handwriting, you might be up against a wall.

This means any English writing between the 1500s and 1800s, though the specific styles will vary by era and region. The point is that Medieval handwriting can be very hard to transcribe until you learn some more of the script.

The best way to understand how letters were written during the Medieval period is by examining some properly transcribed examples. There are several websites that have some great photos and examples that can help you out.


17 Dec 2012

Heraldic Visitations

If you have any ancestors in the 1500-1650 time period from the UK, you will have to do some research through the Harleian Society’s heraldic visitations. They are amazing and filled with genealogy information as well as local history.

There was a widespread problem of fraudulent coats of arms usage, and so King Henry VIII decided to document proper family lineages in 1530. He sent a group of “heralds” to visit every town and parish in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in order to record the family history and pedigrees for all the noble families. This huge project went on from 1530 until 1688, consisting of several rounds of visits. For my own history, my ancestors were mainly from Cheshire and there are visitations for that area for the years 1580, 1613 and 1663. (more…)

16 Dec 2012

Heraldry and Coats of Arms

I will admit that this topic was much more complex that I had expected when I first started reading up on the subject. So this article will just be an introduction to the history, meaning and use of coats of arms.

coats of arms and heraldry in British genealogy

Are there coats of arms in your family tree?

The first thing I need to point out, is that coats of arms are NOT associated with a family or a surname. Anyone offering to find your family’s crest or coat of arms (for a price, of course) is not a legitimate service. Coats of arms were handed down through the male line of a family, but with changes and modifications with each generation. First and foremost, each coat of arms represented one person, not the entire family line. So please don’t waste your time trying to track down or acquire your “family crest”. (more…)

16 Dec 2012