GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-12 > 1040068974
From: (Stewart Baldwin)
Subject: Re: Question on validity
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 20:02:54 GMT
On Sun, 15 Dec 2002 17:05:39 -0600, Doug McDonald
>Roy Stockdill (Editor, Journal of One-Name Studies) writes, in
>>The simple and unvarnished truth is that very, very few of us can get
>>our ancestry back much beyond the English Civil War - because that is
>>the great black hole for many, if not most, UK pedigrees - and while
>>some will manage to show a line to Tudor times, anything beyond that
>>is for a small minority indeed, wishful thinking and supposed ancient
>>pedigrees compiled by fraudulent medieval monks notwithstanding!
>Mr. Stockdill is very adamant about this, repeating it frequently.
>Yet here in s.g.m, which is populated mostly by Americans, it
>seems to be taken for granted that large numbers of Americans, if they
>chose to do the work, could manage to get at least one line back to
>Tudor times, from whence with any luck it would connect to Royalty,
>whose lines are considered "secure", at least in the s.g.m. community,
>back to perhaps the year 850, and trailing off into legend beyond that.
>What would the experts of s.g.m. suggest as a "stock retort" to Mr.
>Stockdill [pun intended]?
One problem with such general statements is that individual
experiences can vary widely. From my own experience, I have not found
the "Commonwealth Gap" to be as serious a problem as the above
statements would suggest. It is quite true that SOME families will
have a dead end there because a gap in the parish records (common
during the Commonwealth) deprives the researcher of crucial
information. However, it has still been my experience that a good
number of families can be traced through the "gap", either because of
luck in the parish registers (not all of which have serious gaps in
the period), or because other records such as probate records allow
the gap to be crossed. I have succeeded in crossing this gap on
numerous occasions in my own ancestral research, getting families
documented well into the Tudor period. This comes mainly from early
Quaker ancestors, one early Virginia ancestor, and the English
ancestors of on great-grandmother whose parents were born in England.
(In the latter case, I have traced numerous Tudor ancestors from a
common nineteenth century laboring family.) Perhaps Mr. Stockdill has
just been unlucky in his own research (or maybe he is relying too much
on parish registers and not enough on other sources like probate
On the other hand, a well documented royal line still eludes me, even
though I have managed to trace to several gentry families in Tudor
times, including some visitation families. But then, then are so many
variations that it is difficult to tell the extent to which my own
experience is typical. Those who have done this for a living have
traced a larger number of families, and might be better able to
comment on how much success is "typical" in attempts to cross these
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