CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 2, Number 46
By Damon Veach
RESEARCH GEM: There are some books that a researcher keeps because they contain a vast amount of data that is repeatedly used as reference. Others are kept just in case there is a use for them later on after earlier family lines have been determined. Such is the case in my own personal library with Debrettís Peerage & Baronetage 1980.
Iíve had this book for many years. It was published by Gale Research Company, based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with additional offices in the U.S. and in several countries around the world. They are world leaders in educational publishing for libraries, schools, and businesses. They are well known for their accurate and authoritative reference content of their books. Many of their books have been reviewed in this column format, and these are all now located in the Veach-Foshee Memorial Library Collection in Mansfield, Louisiana at the Mansfield Female College Museum. Debrettís Peerage & Baronetage 1980 is the only one I have left in my personal library, but it will eventually be added to the collection in Mansfield.
For over two hundred years, Debrett has been a household word in Great Britain, but its origin goes back much earlier in history. There is a continuity of publishers and editors which connects Debrett with the first comprehensive peerage ever to appear. This was the Baronage of England in 1675, during the reign of Charles II, by St. William Dugdale, later Garter King of Arms. The direct ancestor of Debrettís Peerage was the New Peerage or the Present State of Nobility in England, Scotland and Ireland, first published in 1769.
Before the third edition was brought out in 1784, John Debrett, editor and partner in the publishing and bookselling firm, had taken over the business. In 1802, with the issue of the fifth edition, he changed the title to Debrettís Correct Peerage. The name of Debrett has remained ever since.
Debrett contains full details of the Royal Family, the Peerage and Baronetage. These include all the living branches of these families, many of which are most extensive, and have members living all over the world. For instance, many branches of peersí and baronetsí families live in the United States, such as the relations of Lord Fairfax of Cameron in Virginia, and the heir to the Earl of Wharncliffe who has a Connecticut connection. Lord Aylmer, the Earl of Egmont and Earl Winterton are connected to Canada as well as do several baronets, including Sir Fenton Aylmer, Sir Michael Butler, and Sir Charles Tupper. All items related to these individuals are illustrated with the appropriate coat of arms.
Other useful information in this work includes articles on each of the five grades of the Peerage Ė Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Vicounts, and Barons, and also the Baronetage, the Orders of Chivalry, biographies of Privy Counsellors, Chiefs of Scottish Clans and the Scottish Lords of Session. As you can see, any family ties going back to individuals moving into other parts of the world will (or could) lead you back to original ancestral links. My first link back to this part of my own lineage occurred when I discovered a marriage into the Stuart family, but this was followed by many others.
With so many of ancestors coming from England, it is only natural that we can come up with numerous links leading us to royal lineages. This opens up more and more links or connections since so many of these early records were kept throughout the years. Debrettís Peerage & Baronetage 1980 stays on my bookshelf most of the time, but I do occasionally go back and read or re-check information that is related to my personal research. I donít even know if there is a later edition.
Of all my books, this one is perhaps the most interesting because of the vast amount of information it contains, and it is one of the most expensive. Iím not sure what it is worth today. That doesnít matter. It will soon leave my library and make its way into the research library in North Louisiana as I plan to donate it to the DeSoto Parish Historical Society. If you have access to this one in any major research library, I would recommend that you check it out.
You will find yourself returning to this volume again and again.
ANOTHER KEEPER: Needless to say, another book that I have kept for reference prior to donating it to the library in Mansfield is The Handybook for Genealogists. As you can see, my copy is the eleventh edition, but I also have the first edition which dates back to when I first started doing research on my family lineages.
I have told you about this one in previous columns, and I sometimes wonder why I keep it. The answer is like anyone holding onto a favorite collectible. It has points of reference that I often need. Everton Publishers keep it updated, so there is always a newer version on the market. Itís another research gem that you either need to have in your library or know of a local library where a copy is on file.
This is an atlas, history book, address book, and a really comprehensive guide for family history research. It contains maps, details on boundaries, histories of each state, migration trails, and a listing of books and other things that will be valuable in your continued research.
It is simply the most efficient and comprehensive source for locating the critical information necessary to ensure optimum success of your family research. The rest is up to you especially when it comes to talking and gathering records and stories from older family members.
Be sure to record this material from family members now before it is lost forever. And good luck with your research.
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Claitorís Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service.
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