Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Pendulum Swing

Changes in one's cultural archetypes often become historical writing of later days.  Many times it is one side against another in tortuous displays of disagreement.   Meeting in the middle [compromise]  is resisted at all cost.  Back and forth it goes until one side captures the flag...then swish...away into the night it is retaken.    The restoration of Charles II is such an example.  The book by Antonia Fraser is the text.

The Civil War in Britain (1642 - 1651) brought one side to victory.   The Commonwealth...Oliver Cromwell and the like...swung the pendulum to one side, the restoration of Charles II swung the pendulum back.  [References to this period have been given in previous posts.]  For my ancestors, this swing in the pendulum brought them to Virginia.   Under British rule, Virginia experienced similar effects.  A major brick wall it was working through these events for my family tree.  The book by Fraser opened some of the windows.

First published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., NY, 1979, it was distributed by Random House.  Originally, it was published in Great Britain as King Charles II.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Great Escape

After the death of his father Charles I ; Charles, Prince of Wales, was crowned Charles II.  This occured at the traditional Scottish coronation place of Scone on January 1, 1651.  His attempt to regain his authority in England was ended at the battle of Worcester September 3rd 1651.  Here, he barely avoided capture and his escape to France is told in the following text by Richard Ollard.

This escape has been told using contemporary evidence, which involved the loyalty of his followers.  My personal interest in this escape came after wondering if some in my own family tree had a role in this adventure. [The surname Moseley in particular.]  At any rate, it was a fascinating account of  the followers involved and the network that existed to aid this escape.  Family tree climbing can take some interesting paths of history.

This account was first published by Richard Ollard, 1966.  The edition illustrated above was published by Dorset Press, Marboro Books Corporation, 1986.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Last Days

Death does have its way of ending things.  For the genealogist, the date of death, when discovered, is required for all those found among the family tree.  Having family members involved in the English Civil War, led me to study this period in history from both sides of the fence. [Roundheads vs Cavaliers]  The following book by Graham Edwards details the last several months before the beheading of Charles I on Tuesday 30 January 1649.

At the beginning of the search into my own JONES surname family tree, it was unclear which side of the fence we were identified.  The last several posts have given some of the readings and references  that helped open the window to this conflict.  At any rate, there were plenty of JONES to go around on both sides, [a John Jones signed the death warrant ], and it took a number of years to sort things out.

Those deeply involved in the events surround these last days of Charles I are recorded.  Perhaps this text might open some windows for others.

First published in 1999 by Sutton Publishing Limited, the paper back edition [cover shown above] was printed in 2001.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An Illustrated Guide

A guide can be defined as something that provides a person with guiding information.  To find one that helps organize a very complex period of history found in many family trees, is called "The Cromwellian Gazetteer, An Illustrated Guide to Britain in the Civil War and Commonwealth"
by Peter Gaunt.

Organized first by country [England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland], it then guides one county by county through the conflict that ends in what is called "The Commonwealth Period".  For the genealogist, if one has a family member involved during this period of time, it becomes very hard to get a grasp of this conflict.  The sites involved during this crisis are shown in brief summary [many in pictures].  A detailed itinerary of the life of Oliver Cromwell is included which helps establish chronology for much of the conflict.  An interesting point of view it is.

First published in 1987 by Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, it was printed in Great Britain by Redwood Books, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Lord Protector

Dynamic religious and political forces produced a variety of ideas and beliefs during the Civil War period in England.  Certain individuals took leadership roles during the many conflicts.  Depending on which side of the fence your beliefs resided, your view of these individuals might have dramatic differences.  Such is the case for Oliver Cromwell.  An accomplished leader or narrow minded traitor are thoughts which might occur simultaneously.

This book by Antonia Fraser presents a detailed view of this individual during this complex time in history.  Published 1973 by Random House, N.Y, it presents a lengthy chronology of his life and times.  This book offers the reader a grasp of one side of the conflict deep in Puritan beliefs and concepts of the day.  It is a helpful resource for the genealogist who wishes to sort through the forces which occupied the lives of our ancestors involved in these conflicts.  [My copy shown above is 774 pages and might be more a reference than easy read.]

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Another Angle

Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of material remains of past human life and activities.  Human life and much human activities certainly occurred during the period known as the English Civil War, and the book by Peter Harrington takes another angle to this history containing my own family tree.

 Various sites and landmarks involved during this conflict are presented from an archaeologist point of view expanding my own understanding of the conflict which at its end, brought my family to the colonies.  [ Harrington estimates more than 150 towns and 100 villages experienced some destruction. ]

First published 2004, the contents present archaeological findings involving towns, castles, strongpoints, battles, and many sites buried by time.  The material culture of war he describes in his last chapter.  Another way to understand the forces that impacted those family tree branches.

Published by B T Batsford, London.

Monday, May 16, 2016


Primary documents are essential to the tree climbing genealogist.  What were the actual feelings and expressions of the ancestors being investigated?  Personal diaries and letters add to the historical context being explored.  For my own family research, the English Civil War period play an important dynamic in sorting through a fair number of brick walls.  The text below presents eyewitness accounts of folks during this period of time.

To be carried out of Basing House "...sick and naked in a blanket." (p. 203) would certainly leave an ancestor wondering "what in the world".  State Papers, diaries, and letters are used to help the reader understand many of the emotions and conflicts that affected those involved. 

John Adair first published it 1983 by Century Publishing Co Ltd.  My 1998 edition was printed and bound in Great Britain by J.H. Haynes & Co., Sparkford.  A nation divided it was.