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.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

British Civil Wars, 1638-1651

War is defined as a contest between nations or states, carried on by force, either for defense, or for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce or acquisition of territory, or for obtaining and establishing the superiority and dominion of one over the other. [Webester : 1828]  Now "Civil War" is the above activity between people of the same state or city.  It was certainly the case for the people of England starting 1638. 

My genealogy tree climbing bought me to this period.  To sort through this social quagmire was necessary for me to get around a number of brick walls.  The following book was one of many that lead the way.

First published by Routledge in 1992, and written by Charles Carlton, it is basically a social history of the conflicts that were shared by the participants.  Primary sources were the foundation to this writing, and provides a solid description of the events involved by many of these days.  Colonel Thomas Lundsford had an influential role from the very beginning, and was to provide a connector to my own Jones family as they came to Virginia [1649 -1650] with essentially "the cloths on their backs".  A series of brick walls indeed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

An Apex

Religious, political, and economic differences continued to boil during the reign of the second Stuart, Charles I.  These disagreements came to an apex in what has come to be called the "English Civil War".  For my own Jones surname tree climbing, this period of English history was one of the hardest brick walls to show its face.  A number of issues had to be evaluated and sorted. Several references were helpful in getting through this difficult branch of my family tree, and the next several post will give these sources.  The first is:

A military history of England, Scotland, and Ireland it is.  Edited by John Kenyon and Jane Ohlmeyer [with nine other historians], and was published by Oxford University Press in 1998.  It gives a general overview of this conflict providing a needed "big picture" for those whose ancestors played a part.  The period covered is 1638 to 1660.  This arranges a context in which most of our families became involved.  For those with a military history bend, it is an excellent read.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Plot

The struggle for the minds and hearts of individuals has been an activity since the beginning of time as we know it. [Present day included!]  Since Henry VIII separated the Church of England from the Papacy of Rome, this struggle continued as a major issue between the Catholics and Protestants of  the day.  During the reign of James I, a plot was designed to continue the struggle.

The Gunpowder Plot it has been named.  The book by Alan Haynes [cover shown above] is a comprehensive account of this exploit.  First published 1994 it gives a broad coverage of this topic.  My own Jones family was Catholic during this historical period, and were involved heart and soul in many of these struggles.  My many years of genealogical research involved exploring and trying to understand these issues as branches of my family tree were exposed.   The book shown above was very helpful.

Printed in Great Britain by WBC Limited, Bridgend, it is in both hard cover and paperback.  Struggling with my own brick walls, understanding this religious conflict helped get around a few.