17 July 2008

Medieval British Genealogy, Ormerod's The History of County Palatine and City of Chester, and the “DEroyalfication” of Constant Southworth

I’ve spent my summer, as I’ve done in the past few years, traveling back in history, searching for ancestors. I had, on a lark, about six years ago, used the information I found on the web to trace my maternal grandmother’s Southworth line. While I was researching my New Mexican ancestors, and later my New England ancestors, I had learned a lot about researching, and started to really care about having sources for my information. I knew I really needed to go back and clean up the mess that I knew my Southworth line was on my web page.

Now I find out that folks who have revised Weis’s Ancestral Roots have decided the evidence presented by the author of The Southworth’s Genealogy isn’t up to snuff. Constant Southworth, early Puritan settler of Massachusetts, and ancestor to thousands up thousands of people in the United States are no longer connected to Thomas Southworth according to the authors of the 8th Edition of Weis’s Ancestral Roots. When I read A Genealogy of the Southworths by Samuel Webber, I felt that the author had clearly made the connection. Weis must have agreed since he not only had it in the original 1950 edition of his Ancestral Roots, but he also has the pedigree in his 1959 edition of The Standish of Standish Parish. Anyway, while I was researching my New England ancestors, I found a connection with the Bulkeley and Grosvenor line. Since the Bulkeleys and Grosvenor lines connects to many of the same lines the Southworth line connects too, I decided to refer to Weis’ 7th Edition of Ancestral Roots instead of the revised 8th Edition for my Southworth research. Anyway, considering there weren’t a lot of people living during those early medieval days, adding into the consideration the horrid “right of the first knight,” anyone who has English ancestry is likely to be connected somehow with everyone else who has English ancestry. At this point, it isn’t the person being researched as much as the joy of researching.

Now it isn’t that I really want royal ancestors. Some of my most exciting finds have been my Native American and mulatto libere ancestors from my New Mexican roots. I’d much rather be known as the descendent of Pascuala Bernal, an Aztec woman; or Isabel, a Northern Tewa woman; or Juana Candelaria, whose great grand mother was Anna de Sandoval y Manzanares, daughter of Mateo, who is recorded as mulatto libere than, say, evil, ignominious, John Lackland, King of England. John is one of those hideous skeletons in ones genetic closet that I can only hope the genetics of Pascual Bernal voids out. Plus, he was a really terrible King. The only good that I can find that came from John is the fact that he was so bad that the barons insisted on the creation of the Magna Chart and the “rule of law.” No, I think that the reason I can’t let go of the Southworth connection in the 7th edition of has to do more with my love of my mother.

My mother’s name was Eleanor, and she died way too young when I was only eighteen. I am at this moment one year older than she was when she died. I’ve missed and loved her my entire life. She told me her mother, Mabel Atwood Blair, had a genealogist trace her ancestry, and that it revealed a connection between the Atwoods with King John’s mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Lady Godiva. She told me my grandmother named her Eleanor after Eleanor of Aquitaine. At the time I had no conception of how we were connected, I’ve just always connected Eleanor of Aquitaine and Lady Godiva with my beloved mother. (How I came about finding this genealogy at a much, much later date is explained on my Grandmother’s Genealogy Web Page on my site.)

Back to my messy genealogy web pages. I’m in the process of updating a few
hundred pages at a time. I invested in many new books on Genealogy, and a couple of essential CDs for my research. One of the CDs is the complete three volumes of George Ormerod's The History of County Palatine and City of Chester, and the other is the complete 13 volume CD of Cokaney’s Complete Peerage. I’ve linked them for anyone interested in purchasing them. I also have a dozen other books I’ve added to my genealogy library, but I’ve found myself relying on both these discs more than any other sources. This is especially true for the book by Ormerod. I find that many of the people I’ve been researching were from either Lancaster or Chester in England, and Ormerod has been invaluable in my quest for knowledge. Every time I find information on one person, I end up adding a dozen more people to my database because of this wonderful three-volume collection.

There are times when Ormerod totally confuses me, but I’ve come to believe that he was confused at the time when he was juggling primary sources and other prior genealogist’s work for his own work. In one entry he mentions finding over seventy different spellings for the same surname. He also explains that he finds different names for the same people. Other times, his work is clear and easily understood. He always cites primary sources, and he always supplies discrepancies. I have come to respect the work of the man, and the price of the CD was well worth it in the long run. (Now the CD wouldn’t be costly, but the exchange rate with Europe at this time is the costly part. Thanks to the policies of the Bush/Chenney government, our dollar is worthless today. Hum, I bet both Bush and Chenney share John Lackland as an ancestor, and they didn’t have a Pascula Bernal or an Anna de Sandoval y Manzanares to balance out their John genetics thus making them such John Lacklandish, incompetent & mean spirited rulers.)

In my search for sources, I’m finding that Google Books has some amazing resources. There are digital copies of such treasures as the Annals of the Lords of Warrington in two volumes, Collins’s Peerage of England, The Coucher Book, Or Chartulary of Whalley Abbey, the Pipe Rolls of Cumberland and Westmorland, The Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey of the Premonstratensian Order, many issues of the Collections of the History of Staffordshire, The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal (or as they call it The Yorkshire Archælogical Journal), Records from the British Records Society, issues of Remains, Historical and Literary, Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester (a personal favorite), plus many, many, and again many, many more. If anyone out there is interested in these sources, I have lots of them on my sources web page and on My Library at Google Books. I have tried to make a sensible organization of the books sitting in MY LIBRARY, but I keep finding books faster than I can categorize them.

Back to research and Ormerod's The History of County Palatine and City of Chester.

P.S. I forgot to mention another great source of information - British History On-line.

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Doris Wheeler said...

The question of Southworth royalty is still unresolved. You may be interested in some of the research done by a gentleman in England who has contributed heavily to the Southworth-Southard mini-wiki I set up as a MyFamily site. I will send you an invitation if you would care to check it out. I have had to make it private because some contributions could be copyrighted and I have no control over that.

cybergata said...

Dorris, I would love to be able to view the Sothworth-Southard mini-wiki you've mentioned. Thank you for your comments.

Fabi said...

HI I am an Ormerod from Brazil and would appreciate any information that could help me to track the first Ormerod who emigrated to Brazil. Tks a lot. Fabi.ormerod@gmail.com