Category Archives: English Ancestors

Heraldry and Titles of Rank

Vicki’s note – “Heraldry Websites for Genealogy” is an article from FamilyTreeMagazine.com  on a topic that we don’t often see.  Interesting to read that Coat of Arms does not = Surname.  I still claim the few  Coats of Arms that I know associated with some of my ancestor’s surnames, and “my” Muir family castle in Ireland.

I think in America (U.S.A), that we don’t concern ourselves much with the conventions of heraldry and distinctions of  titles of rank.  I even saw places on-line where anyone can buy title of rank, so I think that the whole world’s attitude toward the (mostly former) formal distinctions is relaxing.

This is not to insult my BLOG’s British, Scottish, and Irish, etc. viewers.  I do realize that titles of rank are still very important and current in your cultures.

I am adding all of these links to my BLOG “Genealogy Links and Electronic Helps” page.

And wow – look at the rare gem of a website that I found today.  You get two related articles/sources in one Posting –

Read more about the Titles of Rank in this really extensive website.  After reading through these lists, I may have to reconsider my statement about “mostly former distinctions” above.  My anthropological and history background reminds me that humans have set up hierarchies and named distinctions as an on-going aspect of being part of human cultures.

There are a lot of wide-ranging lists here at – http://www.sunderedspheres.com/titles-of-rank.html

That website includes:

“Ranks of All Nations Possible” historic & modern – i.e.

Royal and Noble Ranks, Modern and Historic Military Ranks, Modern and Historic Political Ranks,  Modern and Historic Religious Hierarchy, Monastic ranks, Knights/Militant Ranks,  Historical Titles and Classes, Scots, Welsh, Irish, British, Byzantine, Estonian, French, Germanic, German, Saxon, Gothic, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Languedoc (Southern French), Norse, Roman Empire, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Egyptian (Ancient), Hausa & Mali, Hindustani,  Islamic/Religious, Japanese, Mongol, Moorish, Persian, Semitic & Hebrew, Swahili, Turkic, Turkish, Chileno, United States, and Miscellaneous Ranks

The first part of that website states:

cropped-a1

Titles of Rank

Ranks and their Definitions:

The following social ranks are given from highest to lowest instead of alphabetically.  The titles given are first male then female, and the etymology is terrestrial.  

cropped-a1

Heraldry Websites for Genealogy

7/21/2017
This list of resources will get you started in researching heraldry.

Myth: Many surnames have a coat of arms.

Fact: Coats of arms are not attached to a surname, but rather to an individual. People with the same surname may be entitled to different coats of arms, or not have one at all, unless they can prove that they are directly descended from a legitimate male member of that line – or one is granted to them.

Are you researching heraldry?

Here are some resources to start:

The American Heraldry Society

Heraldica

College of Arms

Heraldry for Genealogists 

Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies—UK

American College of Heraldry

Coats of Arms from Ireland

And just for fun, this website explores the real history, heraldry and family trees that inspire Game of Thrones. Warning: contains spoilers.

The British Are Less British Than We Think

Vicki’s note – article from Facebook/Ancestry.com.  I kept thinking that my (mostly British) DNA would show some Viking blood, but I got Iberian Peninsula instead!:

How British are the British? Seems like a brain teaser, but it’s actually a surprising fact.

800px-flag_of_the_united_kingdom-svg_-300x150

AncestryDNA’s new study revealed the average UK resident is only about 37% British!

Let’s look at some of the unexpected findings of this study – and what it means to you if you have British heritage.

What are the Brits if not Mostly British?

Anglo Saxons inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. But based on the AncestryDNA study of the UK’s ethnicity dating back from 500 years, their genetic legacy may have well been diluted.

dna-ethnicity-of-average-person-in-the-uk

Today the average UK resident is:

  • 36.94% British (Anglo Saxon)
  • 21.59% Irish (Celtic)
  • 19.91% Western European (France/Germany)

Some Brits Are More British

Not all areas of the UK are of course equally diverse. Depending on what region you or your ancestors are from in England, for example, you may well be more (or less) British than average.

  • The most British people in England are found in Yorkshire (41.17% Anglo Saxon)
  • The most Scandinavian people in England are in the East Midlands (10.37% Scandinavia)
  • The most Western European people in England are in the East of England  (22.52%  France/Germany)

regions-of-england-ethnicities

How British Are You?

Are your ancestors from the UK?

Like today’s UK residents, you could well be more diverse than you think.

As Brad Argent from AncestryDNA remarked:

“The UK has been a cultural and ethnic melting pot for not just generations, but centuries, and…while it’s fascinating looking at this data on a national scale, the fun really starts when you test your own DNA…”

Finding and Understanding Removal Orders in England

Finding and Understanding Removal Orders in England

FB-removal-crest

A search of the National Archives United Kingdom website can provide many interesting documents for genealogy research. One of the items I found was a Removal Order for my 5th great grandfather Thomas Blanden. Thomas was born in Wenhaston, Suffolk, England in 1739, enlisted in the Suffolk Militia as a drummer at the age of 20, and was discharged in bad health 28 years later.

removal order thomas blandon mary jackson-1

Removal Order FC189/G4/14. Suffolk, Ipswich Branch, Wenhaston Paris Records Date: 1778

Removal Orders were new to me so after ordering the documents from the Archives I did my homework and researched the history of Removal Orders. In 1662 England, an Act of Settlement was passed to define which parish had responsibility for a poor person. A child’s birthplace was its place of settlement, unless its mother had a settlement certificate from somewhere else stating that the unborn child was included on the certificate. From the age of 7 the child could have been apprenticed and gained a settlement for himself or he could have obtained settlement for himself by service by the time he was 16.

After 1697, the poor were allowed to enter any parish in search of work, as long as they had a Settlement Certificate signed by the church wardens and overseers of their place of settlement and two magistrates guaranteeing to receive them back should they become chargeable. No one was allowed to move from town to town without the appropriate documentation.

If a person entered a parish in which he did not have official settlement, and if it seemed likely he might become chargeable to the new parish, then an examination would be made by the justices or parish overseers. From this examination on oath, the justices would determine if that person had the means to sustain himself and, if not, which was that person’s parish of settlement. As a result of the examination the intruder would then either be allowed to stay, or would be removed by means of what was known as a Removal Order.

A Removal Order was sometimes accompanied by a written pass to the parish of settlement showing the route to be taken. This would apply even within a city or town which consisted of more than one parish. Your parish of settlement was obliged to take you back.

Removal Orders would often take a person or a family back to a place of settlement miles across the country, sometimes to a parish they had only known briefly as a small child. It was not uncommon for a husband and wife to have their children taken from them, each being removed to separate scattered parishes.

On 18 May 1778, a Removal Order was served on my 5th Great Grandfather who was recorded as Thomas Blandon, Drummer in the Western Battalion Militia of Suffolk. Thomas, Mary, his wife, and their children Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Thomas & Susannah were ordered removed from St. James, Bury St. Edmunds and sent to Wenhaston.

The order made me wonder what the circumstances were surrounding Thomas and his run of bad luck. Having found a Chelsea Pensioner record for Thomas dated 1787 I knew that he had been in the Army for 28 years and was being discharged with “bad eyes” and “worn out.” No doubt he couldn’t provide much, if any, income to support his family and thus the Parish did not want to accept responsibility for supporting them.

 

Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners WO 121/1/38

Royal Hospital, Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners WO 121/1/38

A Settlement Certificate would have more genealogical information but since I did not find one for Thomas I was happy to see that the Removal Order gave the ages of each of Thomas and Mary’s children – they were aged 1 to 13 years old. How difficult it must have been to be uprooted from friends and neighbours, and sent from the Parish of St. James back to the parish of Thomas’ birth in Wenhaston.

To my surprise the Removal Order was a form with blanks to fill in by the clerk recording the details, which indicates to me that there must have been a lot of them served! What a wonderful item to find. If you have English ancestors, why not have a look on the National Archives website? You might be surprised at what is there. If you have not used this resource, see How to Use the National Archives United Kingdom Website to Obtain Ancestor Documents.

UPDATE: Thanks to Helen Smith for pointing out that most settlement examinations, removal orders will be found in parish chest material for individual parishes so should be found in County Archives rather than in the UK National Archive. Genealogists can use the Discovery Search Engine at the UK National Archives but if a search does not return results they are advised to go directly to the county Archive of interest.

 

Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Very interesting. Brings to mind a question, having to do with the poor in English towns/villages.

Does anyone know of a central repository that would have custody of Bastardy papers for English towns/villages? I am looking for Bastardy papers for a village in Cambridgeshire and having no luck whatsoever.

I have a digital copy of a settlement examination for my 3 x by grandmother. I managed to see the original record at the archives. It was most revealing and I have written about it on my blog.

Most bastardry bonds and settlement examinations, removal orders will be in Parish Chest material so can be found in the County Archive rather than the National archive. Linda check out he Cambridgeshire County archive for material relating to your parish.

Thank you Helen for the correction. I found mine by searching on the UK National Archives and the results took me to the County Archive that held them.

If you look in the FamilySearch catalog some parishes have an item under “Poorhouses, poor law, etc.” of Parish Chest Records. So worth a look to see if there’s any records on film.

So, Robert Frost was right:

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

-The Death of the Hired Man (1905 or 1906, published 1914)