Through the gate – the gentry ancestors on my tree

This page is an explanation of the gentry ancestors on my tree (i.e. the ancestors of Alice BASTARD), a brief summary of the evidence I have / don’t have for them and a caveat should you share some ancestry with me and feel inclined to copy them.

[at present this page mainly concerns Alice’s father’s side; I need to expand it to cover her mother’s side as well]

I am writing this page in May 2016; I discovered a gateway ancestor only at the end of January this year (this page describes how I discoverd them). That showed me that Bevill BASTARD, father of Alice BASTARD was a younger son of a gentry family. It was three months later, i.e. as I write less than a month ago, that I discovered who his wife was and that she too had gentry ancestors.

Despite this I have many ancestors of theirs already on my tree. Clearly they are not all thoroughly researched, so if you feel inclinded to copy any to your tree you should bear this in mind.

How have I added so many?

I have looked at published trees and other sources, mainly Vivian’s ‘Devon Visitations’ and most of what I have added comes from there. At present most people I have added (or a sibling / family) have a source shown, but only roughly – it is enough for me to know and add them properly, and enough that you may be able to work them out, but if not and someone is of particular interest please ask. Where I refer to ‘from Vivian’ without further qualification I mean his ‘Devon Visitations’. Where something is from another book by him I qualify my reference (I hope). The main other book of his I refer to is his ‘Cornwall Visitations’. I have referred to the 1887 edition, which he greatly expanded from the version published in 1874. The other main source that I have added people from so far is some wills proved in the PCC which I have either transcribed or simply read.

I have not yet had time to add everything I have found to my tree, nor have I published on the tree you can see everything I have added to my tree.

** I have also extended one line, back from Margaret de Bohun, to Royalty and to Charlemagne. This was mostly done using Wikipedia. I see this as a bit of fun, and there is probably some truth in this but it is not to be trusted. **

I may never get around to verifying these – I find it interesting to know I might be descended from these people, but Royalty and nobility aren’t people I find particularly interesting.

Who have I added (and published)?

In summary I have added those I think have a good chance of being right. I do not believe what I have added will all be correct, though I hope most of it will be.

I have added (or am adding) most of those who were listed in the 1620 visitation MSS, particularly those living in 1620 or not too long before. I usually add to second cousin to my line level where known i.e. great grandchildren of my direct ancestors, since some of the latter will have known at least some of their great grandchildren, and in any case I think that 2nd cousins are close enough that they may mention each other in documents. However, given the great number that could be added from Vivian I have not yet added many more distantly related than siblings or first cousins to my line, and not even all siblings. Where I have found more than one link to the same family I may have added more distant relations to show how the two branches are shown to be linked.

Coming forward or going back from those in the 1620 visitations, I have only added those for whom it appears good documentation exists. I mean documents such as wills, Inquisition Post Mortems (IPMs) and PR entries, not just trees published in Burke’s Landed Gentry or similar. I am particularly sceptical about genealogies which were not known in 1620 but which were in the C19th. Occasionally these may be well founded, but for the most part I doubt it.

Where there is some evidence to follow up, but so little I am particularly doubtful, I have added people to my tree but not published them.

There is good reason not to believe all I have added. I have found some errors and contradictions in Vivian, and where I have started looking at other documents I have found some uncertainty that he appears to have overlooked e.g. he refers to a PR entry for a marriage of a Dioysia (Dewnes) Glanville to a Sir William Strode, but two first cousins shared this name and it is not clear that Vivian had any evidence that it was the one he shows (there is a marriage settlement document surviving that should answer this – maybe he had seen it but failed to mention it). Where I am aware of things like this I have added notes describing the uncertainty.

That there may be errors (or occasionally deliberate wrong information) in the information given to the heralds even when it concerned people not very long dead one can see from comparing the Bastard trees for Devon and Cornwall. A Joseph Bastard signed the latter; amongst a few differences, the Cornwall tree names Joseph’s maternal grandfather as Otes Gilbert. The unsigned Devon MS shows the same grandfather as Geffrey Gilbert! (I don’t believe this is an error made by Vivian since he comments on the discrepancy). For most trees we don’t have two versions to compare and make us aware of such uncertainties.

Why have I added these people?

Vivian doesn’t just show those found in the Harleian MSS resulting from the herald’s visitations, he added information from various other sources. My tree is not just a way of publishing / recording what I have found, it is for me a very important research tool. (The software I use is designed for this in that it allows for alternative and conflicting data to be added, and also for more than one set of parents).

Adding people to my tree and recording ‘to dos’ for them helps me see what I need to research and what documents I am aware of, both from references in Vivian and from online catalogue entries.

Why have made public these people?

On several parts of my tree I am collaborating with others. Even if I am not certain about someone, if I am researching them as a likely ancestor or am going to be, then I may be able to help you if you are interested in the same person or you may be able to help me. If they are on my tree then someone sharing my interest may find me by Googling.

In short, they are there to help collaborative research, not with the intention that they are taken unthinkingly and added to other trees. Of course this is likely to happen and you are free to do so. However, given that they are already on published trees, which those who aren’t going to think or do their own research, will probably come across I hope I am doing little if anything to make the proliferation of doubtful trees published as fact worse.

As I add references to documents I have seen, and whereever possible transcripts, you will be able to judge for yourself what you think can be trusted.

My research

At the time of writing most of my own research into this gentry branch is mainly

  • the Bastard family, particulary Chancery Court cases concerning Bevill, but also some other documents at the PWDRO concerning the Gerston family;
  • the Glanville family of Tavistock and some descendants;
  • the Skirret family of Tavistock and some descendants.
Last updated: 23 May, 2016

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