Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gap filled in by ancient will

In chapter 6 of the initial version of my monograph, presenting an ancestral line back to King John, I indicated the existence of a small 18th-century documentary gap concerning the descent from John Latton of Walton-on-Thames [1643-1727] down to Henry Latton [1737-1798], the vicar of Woodhorn who was apparently murdered while riding back from the horse races at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. While this gap did not weaken the validity of my presentation of our ancestral line back to the monarch who signed the Magna Carta, it was annoying. Fortunately, my retrieval of the will of the above-mentioned John Latton provides precious data that fills in the gap.

This information will soon be reflected in a new version of chapter 6. Meanwhile, the will itself is available on my website.

Quaint piece of old English literature

My second-cousin Robert Pickering in Queensland recently drew my attention to the existence of a specimen of old English literature that was edited and published by John Pickering [1851-1926]. Our great-grandfather's young brother came upon a 16th-century manuscript written by an Elizabethan gentleman named William Spelman.

John Pickering, chief librarian at the Inner Temple in London, was so enthralled by this text that he decided to edit and publish it.

I'm immensely thrilled to discover a literary-minded ancestor. As for the Spelman novel, it can be downloaded from my website.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big results, but more research required

Family-history results just published as chapter 6 of They Sought the Last of Lands, concerning my English Pickering ancestors, were unexpectedly spectacular in the sense that relatively rapid research enabled me to unearth and publish an ancestral line, through my paternal grandmother Kathleen Pickering, back to William the Conqueror.

It was funny (this might not be the right adjective) that this breakthrough should have occurred on the eve of a month-long breakdown of my Internet connection... which gave me the time, unintentionally, to write the above-mentioned chapter.

If you click the chart on the left, your browser should normally display a readable résumé of this ancestral line.

My interesting findings must not conceal the fact that chapter 6 of They Sought the Last of Lands, as it stands today, should be seen, not as a finished presentation, but simply as the beginning of a future project of research efforts. Here, to guide researchers who might be interested in helping me, is a list of various research items that are missing:

1. For the moment, I'm dismayed to admit that I haven't been able to unearth any UK census data concerning our Pickerings. Maybe this is simply because I haven't yet got around to searching with sufficient determination. It would be nice if someone were to tackle this task.

2. In an attempt to obtain the death certificates of the parents of William John Pickering [1843-1914], I've browsed through the reactions of the FreeBMD service, but there was an amazing quantity of individuals, in the second half of the 19th century, named John Pickering and Sarah Jane Pickering. These death certificates surely exist, but I'm not yet capable of tracing them.

3. Up until now, I have not found—nor even tried to find—church records of any kind concerning our Pickering and Latton ancestors.

4. It's possible that some of our Pickering and Latton ancestors in England were prosperous citizens who left wills. I have not yet attempted to search for such documents.

5. I have started to explore the possibility that there might be living descendants of the brothers Francis Henry Pickering [1845-1918] and/or John Edward Latton Pickering [1851-1926]. Besides, concerning the latter gentleman, who worked professionally in a domain where information about the past is stored preciously (a great law library), I find it hard to imagine that he wouldn't have left us personal documents concerning his own existence and his knowledge of ancestors.

6. I have not yet got around to examining in detail the numerous Internet messages of researchers concerned with Pickering ancestors.

So, there's still a lot of research work to be done.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Purpose of this blog

This blog will be used for messages related to genealogical research into various branches of the families of my paternal ancestors, essentially English, whose surnames were Skyvington, Pickering, Mepham, Latton, etc.

The results of my research in this domain are being assembled in the form of an evolving book, whose chapters can be downloaded from an associated website, accessible through a button located in the right-hand column of the present blog, just below my portrait.

Individuals interested in becoming team members for this blog are invited to contact me by email.