Sunday, August 31, 2014


In the course of human events, there is perhaps no other epidemic that changed the world like "The Black Death".  An inflammatory swelling of a lymph gland, especially in the groin, is called a "bubo".  Being a predominate feature of this epidemic, it came to be called "bubonic plague", and changed the existence of mankind on the surface of this earth.

This plague arrived in central Europe just about the middle of "The Hundred Years War". [See last post of 8/14/14.]  The book above is a good overview and summary of this event.  In his preface Ziegler states:
           " one would to-day deny that the Black Death was of the greatest economic and social importance as well as hideously dramatic in it progress."

Well illustrated [many color plates included], it presents 17 chapters on various topics beginning with "Origins and Nature" and ending with "The Effects on the Church and Man's Mind".  For my own family tree climbing chapter 12, "The Welsh Borders, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland", was helpful.

The book was first published in 1969, and reprinted 1993 by Alan Sutton Publishing, Inc., Dover, NH.

Yersinia pestis was the bug.  It was transmitted by infective fleas of rodents or other mammals; and/or direct contact with infected mammals or their products; and/or inhalation of contaminated airborne droplets.  Rats you might say!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Hundred Years War

The reign of Edward III begins 1337.    It was the same year that Philip VI of France took over the English head Duchy of Guyenne. might say...then Edward III claimed the throne of France.  Then began a long, long, struggle between France and England resulting in what has been called: "The Hundred Years War".  For the genealogist, a century is generally three to four generations of the family tree that must have been involved along the way.  The Welsh had something to do with period of history since the "long-bow" was Welsh.

The text above by Desmond Seward is a very readable book about this time in our JONES family tree.  The English in France 1337 - 1453 is the subtitle.  There is even a description of the "long-bow" pp. 54-55 and other types of weapons used.  The book was first published in 1978, and reprinted by Penguin Books in 1999.  A series of illustrations are used throughout the book which gives help to the visual learner.  A "Chronology" is given on pp. 271 - 273 which was helpful for my own tree climbing experience. [Joan of Arc had something to say about this period of history!]  A sweeping overview it is.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Greatest Traitor

To label someone a "traitor" is bad enough.  To describe or designate someone "The Greatest Traitor" is certainly going to distinguish this individual.  From one Mortimer (Ian) to another Mortimer (Sir Roger Mortimer) this book is titled as such.

The period of the three Edwards (see last post) was certainly one of turmoil.  The families of the Marches had much to do with this since they saw themselves as "free agents" against the world.  The family of the Mortimers were involved in a number of events that were to shape the history of Wales, and they managed to use both sides (Wales/Plantagenets) against the middle.

The life of Sir Roger Mortimer, ruler of England 1327 - 1330 is the subject.  He is described as "brutal, intelligent, passionate, profligate, imaginative, and violent".  Sounds like most of the feudal lords of the day.  Unpublished primary and secondary sources are used along with a host of published sources. [Given in a selected bibliography pp. 325 - 335.]  The sources are not tied to the text.

At any rate, the text is an interesting account of the times, and gives much detail of  the drama involved.
The book is published by Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, NY, 2006.  Anyone interested in reading about this "feudal lord, governor of Ireland, rebel leader, and a dictator of England" this book is for you.  But of course, you will have to decided if Sir Roger is indeed "The Greatest Traitor".