Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants : Featured library resource for May 2012

Many Society members attended Gary Boyd Roberts' March 24th memorial lecture honoring our deceased President Dan McConnell. Roberts is an outstanding researcher, retired from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  We are adding one of Roberts' books to the Library collection, titled in full The Royal Descents of 600 immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, who were themselves notable or left descendants notable in American history. It's a generous gift from David Martin.

First published in 1993 and giving information on 500 immigrants, the book has been reissued several times.  We have the 2006 version with an addendum and coda.  The largest part of the book consists of charts outlining the royal descent of 650 immigrants to the United States or the colonies, who are notable in their own right or have notable descendants.  ("Notable" means being included in standard biographical sources such as American National Biography.)  Each chart starts with the royal personage and ends with the immigrant or notable descendant in boldface, and is followed by a list of documentary sources for the lineage.

In one of the appendices to the introduction, we learn the 60 European kings (or queens) from whom royal descent is traced in this book.  In other appendices, Roberts lists the immigrants newly treated in this edition, as well as who was dropped (disproved) or substantively changed.  There is a simple index listing the 650 immigrants in alpha order, but the second largest section of the book is 200-plus pages of index covering all names listed and all instances. Please note that the main index is supplemented by an index to the 2006 addendum further on in the volume, and that the last few pages of the book constitute a coda of late information apparently not indexed.

Like Mr. Roberts' lecture, this book is dense, complex and packed with facts.  But for those interested in royal descent it is a monumental and comprehensive compendium of scholarship by an acknowledged authority on the subject.  Give it a whirl at the CCGS Library, and see if there are any royals lurking in the trunk of your family tree!

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