In message <mtwgbGAEBHt7EwrD(a)tdrake.demon.co.uk>
Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake <Barney(a)tdrake.demon.co.uk> wrote:
Surely that is what we want in GM - articles that educate and inform
not instant pedigrees on a plate?
An idle moment's curiosity has led me to wonder what was the thoughts of
the founders of SOG, to see what they wanted. (The Genealogy of
Genealogy, eh?) This started with some entries in Notes and Queries,
that rather odd collection of miscellanies:
In 1906 reference was made to a "Genealogical and Historical Society for
Great Britain", founded in 1853 with an objective of, amongst others,
collecting evidences of family descent and antiquity (N&Q, 10th S, vol
IV, p.230). _Five_ years later a reply was made to this and mentioned
large amounts of collected early ancestries of the fellows of the
Society and several elaborate pedigrees (N&Q, 11th S, vol III, p.266).
In 1909 there was a proposal to have a circulating library, whereby
those who had bought books would lend them to those that hadn't (N&Q,
10th S, vol XI, p.5). This got a speedy reply from "Leo C" (who must be
Leo Culleton of Culleton's Heraldic Office, Piccadilly, London)
objecting to lending valuable volumes with the risk of loss and
recommending extra subscribers to the London Libary to cause them to
start a Genealogical Section (N&Q 10S, vol XI, p.78).
In 1910 there was a report on a project to preserve national archives
and records of the Civil Service (N&Q 11S, vol I, p. 286). Another
rapid reply wished to extend this to genealogical memoranda, similar to
the US New England Historic genealogical Society and was particularly
concerned about losing people's researches when the died (what will
happen to yours, Barney?); the writer asked Mr C A Bernau to give his
opinions (N&Q, 11 S, vol I, p. 337). Mr C A Bernau indeed replied a
month later (N&Q, 11S, vol 1, p. 401) and recommended that the Society
be formed to:
1. Purchase genealogical works of reference.
2. Be a depository for members researches and collections, at the end of
their working lives.
3. Hold examinations for people wishing to qualify as authorities in
4. Not use its funds on dinners or excursions :-)
5. Produce publications from time to time.
This led to the formation of the Society of Genealogists in 1911,
acknowledged in their opening report.
The purposes originally set for the society can be seen by the wealth of
committees they formed:
1. Collecting manuscript genealogical works.
2. Collecting old deeds, charters and wills, etc.
3. Constructing a consolidated index of people and places and informing
members of anything related to their family or researches.
4. An index of the contents [apparently] of all principal reference
5. A heraldry team to rework Burke's General Armory.
6. Catalogues of pedigrees in any public collection.
7. Recording monumental inscriptions.
8. Collecting lists and indexes of all parish records and marriage
licences (C A Bernau was on this).
9. Collecting lists of apprentices, pupils at schools, etc.
10. Collecting fly-leaf inscriptions on family bibles.
11. Recording movements of people overseas and changes of residence.
12. Collecting lists of local authority records.
13. Keeping in touch with family associations, (as in the Stockdills,)
What fascinates me is that these various committees reported back to the
annual general meeting each year so that the members had some idea of
what was going on. The minutes of our last general meeting give no
indication of any work being done at all.
One notices that they did not have a Computers Committee.
To return to Barney's point of what we want in the magazine, I suspect
it is a broad church, with a bit of this, a bit of that and a bit of the
other. The above provides a good list, one that members even busied
themselves on (or not so busy in the case of the heraldry committee).
Is it not time to review and extend this list to see what we have learnt
in the intervening ninety years?
Tim Powys-Lybbe tim(a)powys.org
For a patchwork of bygones: http://powys.org