Classic Account of the Art and Science of Heraldry

When Genealogical Publishing Company began reprinting books in the 1950s, a number of its earliest publications were devoted to heraldry. In fact, the Company has more than 20 titles on heraldry in the catalogue. Coats-of-arms continue to intrigue individuals both artistically and genealogically. According to Heather Child, “In an age when people are surfeited with too much printed matter, it is a relief to turn to a vivid picture language such as heraldry, with its framework of rules, variety of detail and romantic historical associations.” (To add a cautionary note here, some persons may overlook the rule of primogeniture that governs the inheritance of noble titles and their arms. In fact, when a knight or count died, all rights to his title were passed on entirely to his eldest son. None of his other children inherited that ranking or its accoutrements.  This practice of primogeniture continued with each succeeding generation.)

Genealogical Publishing Company has just re-issued one of the best introductions to that field ever published: SHIELD AND CREST: An Account of the Art and Science of Heraldry. 3rd Edition, by Julian Franklin. While this work is mainly devoted to British heraldry—its development and usage, with accounts of the shields, crests, charges, banners, helmets, devices, orders of chivalry, language, and so forth—it contains much material that cannot be found elsewhere, such as important information on heraldry in the U.S., South Africa, and Japan. The entirety of the work is profusely illustrated with inset shields and heraldic devices, including sixteen full-page plates with nearly 200 coats-of-arms!

Image credit: US Seal Coat of Arms, via Wikimedia Commons.


Yarmouth Nova Scotia Genealogies

Published between 1896 and 1910, George Brown’s columns in the Yarmouth Herald focused almost exclusively on New England families who migrated to Nova Scotia around the time of the Revolutionary War, many of them descended from Mayflower colonists. Brown’s work had been badly neglected, owing to the scarcity of the newspaper; however, Martha and Bill Reamy put together as complete a collection of columns as possible, reset the type, and indexed the entire collection. The 186 articles in this consolidated volume name as many as 60,000 individuals.


United Empire Loyalists

This monumental work by Alexander Fraser contains records of the claims for losses of over twelve hundred persons who found it necessary to flee to Canada during and immediately after the Revolutionary War. These notes contain a goldmine of biographical, historical, and genealogical data. In general, we are given the claimant’s name, his country or place of origin, reason for emigrating, date or migration, place of residence in America, occupation, names of family members and friends, location and value of confiscated property, war service rendered, losses sustained, evidence of character, statements of witnesses, notes of deeds and wills, and highlights of the claimant’s experiences during the war.

Image credit: Flag of the United Empire Loyalists, via Wikimedia Commons.


Strutting our Colonial Stuff: Census Records Before 1790

It’s a simple fact that the vast majority of genealogical data on the Internet pertains to 19th and 20th-century ancestors. Why? Most of this data is easier to come by than the genealogy of the colonial period because (1) much of it is within the recall or possession of living relatives; (2) the records (particularly federal census records from 1850 onward) have survived and are detailed; and (3) the records are relatively simple to read and transcribe.

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Guide to Quebec Catholic Parishes and Published Parish Marriage Records

The “Guide to Quebec Catholic Parishes and Published Parish Marriage Records,” consists of county-by-county lists of parishes within the Province of Quebec. All known Catholic parishes are listed to 1900. Each list gives the names of all the parishes within that county, arranged in order of formation, with the date of the oldest records for that parish. A reference letter and name after the parish indicate the compiler and publisher of a marriage register for that parish, or whether the marriages for that parish may be found in the important Loiselles Marriage Index.

Image credit: Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Parish, Westmount, Montreal, via Wikimedia Commons.