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  • #45 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: The 1999 Burke's Peerage

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Published Date : March 11, 2000
    In the last two years or so, several new works have appeared that add considerably to the updating of royal and noble genealogy. One of these was a revival, published in English, of the long-extinct Almanach de Gotha, which had been superseded since the 1950s by Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels. The new Gotha contains some awkward or idiosyncratic English and rigidly neglects the children of daughters, even when, as in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Monaco, recent children of daughters have been created princes of their mothers' kingdoms (or, as with the children of Princess Anne and Princess Margaret of Great Britain, figure among the first dozen or so heirs to the throne). Another set of useful works are recent volumes, published by Clearfield Co. (a branch of GPC) in Baltimore, by Daniel Brewer-Ward, later Willis, on the descendants of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (unfortunately unindexed) and King Louis XIII of France. Also in this category is the 1997 updating of Queen Victoria's Descendants by Marlene A. Eilers, now Koenig, amply illustrated, well researched and accompanied by often fascinating footnotes. The long-awaited 1998 Addenda & Corrigenda vol. 14 of The Complete Peerage contains many useful medieval corrections (often submitted no doubt by American scholars), updates older peerages and covers new hereditary peers, but omits mothers of wives and indexes only new honors. An every-name index to the entire 14 volumes awaits a dedicated scholar, but is essential, I think, for optimum use of this great 20th-century genealogical monument.

    By far the most important new work, however, in royal and noble genealogy is the 1999 106th edition of Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 2 vols., 3347 pp., admirably edited by Charles Mosley and distributed by Morris Genealogical Books S.A., c/o Rotovision S.A., Sheraton House, 112-116 Western Road, Hove BN3 1DD, UK, and in the U.S., Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611, tel. (312) 587-0131, fax (312) 587-1049, from whom I obtained it very quickly last summer. Before moving to a full discussion of this splendid new set I wish to update readers somewhat on new immigrants added to the forthcoming 2001/2 2nd ed. of RD500/600. In addition to the six mentioned at the end of my last column (Archibald Dunlop of Conn., Mrs. Audrey Divett Buller Parsons of R.I., Thomas Monteith of Va., Mrs. Jane Evans Dodge of N.Y., the actor Cary Elwes of Calif., and Emmanuel Woolley of R.I.), I have also recently added Gov. John Seymour of Md. and his second wife Mrs. Honor Newton Seymour (the first of which was fully developed by Henry Sutliff III); Mrs. Elizabeth Mallory Rivers of S.C. (developed largely by Brice McAdoo Clagett, who may not agree with the Edward I-de Clare-Gaveston-Driby descent for this immigrant suggested by Douglas Richardson in David Faris's new Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth-Century Colonists); John William MacEwen of Me. (great-grandson of John M[a]cGregor of P.E.I. [grandson of "Rob Roy"] and great-grandfather of noted Scottish genealogist Andrew B. W. MacEwen); and several immigrants or sometime U.S. residents treated in the new American National Biography (ANB) (24 vols., 1999).

    These latter include the colonial astronomer and Newton correspondent Arthur Storer of Md. and his sister Mrs. Anne Storer Truman Skinner of Md.; the playwright Noel Coward (a line through his Veitch mother to the Stewarts of Traquair, developed largely by Coward biographer Philip Hoare); Evelyn Ada Maude Rice Willoughby-Wade, long of Cambridge, Mass., wife of mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead; and Primula Susan Rollo, who died in Calif., first wife of actor David Niven. I expect to find even more RD immigrants as I systematically examine ANB biographies of persons born abroad. I also examined the Cary line brought to my attention by John Plummer, and, repeating the work of a valued correspondent, reviewed material in the Coddington mss. collection on Samuel Hotchkiss. Mr. Plummer is certainly right about George Cleeves's descent from the Carys of Bristol and Samuel Hotchkiss undoubtedly has gentry ancestry through his mother. I cannot, however, now accept Cary of Bristol affiliation with the Cary of Clovelly family and the maternal half of Hotchkiss's ancestry yields no readily available RD.

    Having mentioned in column #43 that I traced the RDs of actor brothers Ralph and Joseph Fiennes through the new 1999 Burke's Peerage, I will also note that I first found Dr. Josiah Ralph Patrick Wedgwood of Seattle therein. Last week, moreover, I used the very handy list of media figures, actors and actresses that appears on p. xxxi of vol. 1, as part of Charles Mosley's introduction, to trace a line from Charles II and Barbara Villiers to actor Rupert Everett - currently the star, with Madonna, of The Next Best Thing, and well regarded last year in My Best Friend's Wedding with Julia Roberts, and the new version of Wilde's An Ideal Husband. Everett appears in the article on Vyvyan baronets; his maternal grandfather was Vice Admiral Sir Hector Charles Donald MacLean, covered in the last Burke's Peerage, published in 1967, that included the knightage as well as peerage and baronetage. MacLean's mother was a Hope of the Linlithgow family, and the great-great-granddaughter of Lady Anne Vane, daughter of Henry Vane, 1st Earl of Darlington, and Lady Grace Fitzroy. Darlington was the great-grandson of Puritan statesman and Mass. governor Sir Henry Vane; Lady Grace was a daughter of Charles Fitzroy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland, 1st Duke of Southampton, an illegitimate son of Charles II and Barbara Villiers.

    I have come to my "review" of the new Burke's Peerage obliquely, with an example that shows, I hope, the kind of pleasure you can derive from these new volumes. Most importantly, this edition finally appeared - its immediate predecessor was published in 1970 and minimally updated in 1975. Since 1970 Burke's Peerage published two editions of Presidential Families of the U.S.A. (1976, often woeful; 1981, much improved, with patrilineal descents and ancestral charts developed by yours truly), and in 1993 Charles Mosley produced a much further improved American Presidential Families. The three volumes of the 18th edition of Burke's Landed Gentry appeared in 1965, 1969, and 1972, and Burke's Irish Family Records (the most extensive compendium to date on the Anglo-Irish gentry) in 1976, along with Burke's Family Index. This last is a fine subject index to the most recent coverage of every family in any Burke's works, but it was followed in the late 1970s only by only two volumes (the projected third and fourth never appeared) of Burke's Royal Families of the World, covering Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The company was apparently bought and sold several times, trademark rights seemed to have been separated from publication efforts, and despite rumors of research in progress, I had long despaired of another Peerage or Landed Gentry. Thus the announcement of this volume last year was a considerable surprise, and I congratulate Morris Genealogical Books S.A., owner's of Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd., for reviving the greatest publishing institution in British genealogy.

    Secondly in importance, after the revival of this work, is its expansion in size. Like Who's Who in America, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage now requires two volumes, but in over 3000 pages (with a 200+ -page index of living persons) it can include many children and grandchildren of daughters of recent peers, plus most - but not all - daughters and younger sons of earlier peers, baronets, and their patrilineal forebears. Detailed coverage of medieval families appears under Beaumont, baronets (forebears of most of the "Villiers connection"); Moray, earls (the Scottish Stewarts, royal and otherwise); Milford Haven, marquesses (counts of Hainault and Louvain; dukes of Brabant; landgraves of Hesse; and Mountbattens behind Prince Philip and his children); Northumberland, dukes, and Abergavenny, marquesses (Percys and Nevilles of the north); and O'Neill, barons (from Irish High King Niall of the Nine Hostages). The coverage of the Jewish Rothschilds is the best short treatment I have seen in print. American connections, many also covered in RD500 and its new edition, abound. Former Senator Malcolm Wallop, Lady Jeanne Louise Campbell Mailer (an early wife of Norman) Cram, the late Pamela Harriman, Mrs. Steven Breyer, the late Caroline Blackwood (Mrs. Robert Lowell), Arnold de Borchgrave, and the American Guests, among other examples, appear respectively under Portsmouth, Argyll, Digby, Blakenham, Dufferin and Ava, Townshend, and Wimborne. Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones, whose marriage to Prince Edward is not noted, appears under Molesworth on p. 1950. Margaret Thatcher appears as a new life baroness, the wife of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming appears under Wemyss on p. 2978, the 1980 marriage of biographer Lady Antonia Fraser to playwright Harold Pinter is noted under Longford on p. 1751, and among Americans whom I do not find in Who's Who are the 5th Earl Wharncliffe, who lives in Cumberland, Maine, Molesworths of Texas among near kin of the new Countess of Wessex, and Trevelyans of Riverside, Calif., forebears of the 10th and 11th baronets.

    Many peerage families have Canadian, Australian, South African, Rhodesian, and other branches covered herein, and much of the migratory history of noble families through the centuries of empire can be gleaned from these volumes. As one would expect after 29 years (since the last full edition), and with only a small number of new hereditary creations, there are two fewer dukes (24, plus four royals - Portland and Newcastle have been reduced to earldoms [Newcastle to Clinton]) and several fewer marquesses, with Cambridge, Dufferin and Ava, Ormonde, and Willingdon extinct (34 marquessates remain). There are 192 earls (down from 210 in 1970) and 118 viscounts (down from 134 in 1970). All titles above baron, then, total only 368. Barons (719 in 1970) are certainly now under 700 and probably under 650 in number.

    My joy at the appearance of a new Burke's Peerage, my considerable pleasure in noting its expansion, and the great fun of reviewing updated articles, noting American connections, other Empire associations, and number contraction, is only slightly tempered by several defects. Most importantly, there are no cross-references whatsoever, as in previous editions, to any articles in any Landed Gentry, or to the Extinct Peerage or Baronetage. Thus we do not know which families not also in this Peerage can be readily traced in other Burke's works. The format deviates somewhat from previous editions in that one does not return to a new paragraph for all peers, but only for those who are ancestors of the current holder. The phrase "heir presumptive" is not italicized and one can search at some length to find it. As useful as is Mr. Mosley's above-mentioned list of media and actor connections to the peerage, I wish his introduction had been much longer and not so concerned with the creation - or not - of new hereditary peerages and the recent abolition (then a proposal) of the House of Lords. Also useful would be a companion index volume of deceased persons, who far outnumber the living.

    I hope this review will spur many libraries and individuals to purchase this splendid set, which would be cheap at almost any price. I also hope Mr. Mosley and Morris Genealogical Books S.A. turn now to a new edition of the Landed Gentry. I hope too that they engage David Williamson, now of Debrett's, to complete the Royal Families of the World series. Once again, however, I wish to emphasize my delight at the appearance of a new Burke's Peerage. Like the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Who's Who in America, it deserves to last as long as the institution, country or world it chronicles. Later this month, after receipt of currently-at-press volumes on Thomas Rogers and the younger children of Edward Doty, I will survey progress in Mayflower research since I last wrote on the subject in the October 1996 Register.

    (Editor's note: The April 1999, two-volume, 3,347-page Burke's Peerage (Burke's Peerage Ltd.) is available for online purchase at Borders for $395.00 and Barnes & Noble for $400.00. At presstime only ($395.00) had it available for delivery in less than six weeks; it is currently "on back order" there.)
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