1 - Millions of Ancestors (in preparation)
The comfort and low cost of intercontinental travel, earlier retirement and increased leisure time, together with the easy availability of computerised data banks, have all combined to promote a serious interest in family history for many who, a century ago, might have been quite unenthusiastic about their ancestry. This first essay analyses the causes of the recent expansion in genealogical studies, demonstrates why so many researchers are now able to find the "gateway ancestors" who will lead them back to very early times, and illustrates with the aid of case studies the support Moncreiffe's Family Records can give to everyone. Not so many years ago those who could trace their descent from Charlemagne thought it quite an exclusive achievement, but with the computerisation of existing family histories increasing rapidly, hundreds of thousands more can set out along this fascinating path through mediaeval history.

2 - Coats of Arms as Clues and Evidence (in preparation )
There is a real value in heraldry, to both the historian and the family genealogist, that goes far beyond the pleasure well-presented armorial decoration can give the eye. This essay explains how heraldry can provide useful evidence and illustrates its importance through the ages with case studies

3 - Feudal Titles
A review of the ranks of the feudal nobility with special reference to the changes in the meaning of the term "Baron" through the centuries.

4 - The Origins of the Peerage (in preparation )
A review of the development of the concept of Peerage from the time of Charlemagne and the contemporary Mormaerships (Earldoms) of Scotland.

5 - The Structure of the Clans (in preparation )
An examination of the role of the clan and its contribution to social cohesion in the middle ages, and the flourishing life of clan societies and surname societies today.

6 - Calendars and Spelling - Be Wary
An explanation of the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars and the consequences of the various dates of modification in individual countries, together with advice on the treatment of orthographic inconsistencies

7 - Errors to Beware in Burke's Peerage
A recent bulletin board message recommended the use of Burke's Family Index as a guide to the availability of published genealogical data. This Index is indeed an extremely valuable guide, but researchers should not treat the Burke's publications it lists with an unquestioning approval. They do not constitute a scholastic authority. They have many errors to trap the unwary, and these errors are particularly awkward for a researcher tracking laterally from one family to another. This essay uses examples to illustrate the dangers.

8 - Heraldic Badges are for Everyone (in preparation )
The widespread use of heraldic badges by Scots all over the world is an example that could be followed by many other nations. This essay looks at the origins and the traditional uses of badges, describes their development and their importance after they became predominantly heraldic, and recommends ways in which they can meet the modern requirements for identification and decoration without destroying the legitimacy that justifies their survival. The author includes suggestions on how they may be integrated with the design of home pages for use on the World Wide Web.

9 - How to Recognise the Frauds (in preparation )
When Burke's Peerage went into liquidation a few years ago, one of its most missed services was the instant provision of advice on the genuineness of titles. Almost every day there would be a telephone call from some suspicious businessman or hotel or restaurant to check on the validity of someone's use of a title, a practice most would believe belonged only to fiction. A recent and much-publicised case in the British news has concerned the misdoings of a financial officer at Scotland Yard who used money from a special fund to "live the life of a lord" in the Scottish Highlands, and yet it should have been well known (and a hundred years ago it would have been well known) that the feudal barony of Chirnside he had bought did not make him a lord as he pretended. The moment he introduced himself as "Lord Williams" or, as some newspapers reported, as "Lord Williams of Chirnside", he should have been caught. This essay explains the privileges attached to manorial lordships and to feudal baronies and relates them to the use of peerage titles.



Structure of Moncreiffe's Family Records
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