Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-12 > 1040077300

From: "Carpenter, Charles" <>
Subject: RE: Question on validity
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 17:24:32 -0500

One frequently hears this kind of thing from Europeans. And understandably
so -- the English Civil War isn't the only barrier. It's damn hard to get
that far, or so they tell me. As for we Americans, I'm probably not
atypical: I know all 32 people at the ggggfather level (parents of the
generation who participated in the American Civil War), and indeed all 64 at
the next generation back. Only 122 in the following, despite some pretty
substantial effort. Our much earlier census data is a great help, as is our
widespread landownership during 18th and 17th centuries. The fact that I
descend from what is known in the Maryland State Song as 'Northern Scum" is
helpful as well -- southern courthouses didn't fare nearly so well as
northern during "The Late Unpleasantness."

I haven't counted lately, but I have hundreds of known ancestors alive at
the time of the English Civil War -- all of whom were living in North
America. Obviously records from some of their communities have fallen victim
from time to time to the odd fire over the years, but nothing like the
systematic destruction in areas where the American (and I would suppose,
English) civil wars were fought.

Now of these, only the smallest handful can be traced more than a single
generation in Europe, and only 2 emigrants are known descendants of Edward

-----Original Message-----
From: Renia [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, December 16, 2002 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: Question on validity

Stewart Baldwin wrote:
> On Sun, 15 Dec 2002 17:05:39 -0600, Doug McDonald
> <> wrote:
>>Roy Stockdill (Editor, Journal of One-Name Studies) writes, in
>>soc.genealogy.britain [sic]:
>>>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
> records).

See my inclusion of his description of a one-name study on this thread
(in where he says:

One-namers are on the whole the most experienced people in genealogy,
because to do a one-name study it is vital that you are familiar with
sources - especially the more unusual as well as the better known ones.


> 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
> barriers.
> Stewart Baldwin


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