Great difficulty has naturally arisen in writing the various branches of the Story or Storey family, thanks very largely to the negligence of people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whatever be the carelessness earlier centuries are responsible for. The eighteenth century has also a great deal to answer for in this respect. In Scotland much more attention has been paid to family history and the continuance of family records than has been the case in England. What is the reason for this? Because the Scottish are undoubtedly more loyal to the past than are the English, and they treat-one had almost said use-the past in the right way, namely, as a stimulus for facing the future. In very remote times when few people could write, when kalendars were not hung up in every house and office, when there could be no reference to Zadkiel, Raphael, and Old Moore for the purpose of ascertaining the changes of the moon and the precise hours of high tides-few records were made. Hence tradition became the only basis for locating and timing certain human existences, excepting in cases of martial exploits, or the excogitation of a great invention, or the discovery of a new tract of country and its ultimate development by interested parties. The balance of probability can alone be taken in other than these instances.
Here, without desiring to be invidious it may be remarked that it has been a surprise to many a writer in this class of literature, to find among really well-known families-usually known as of the rank understood by the term "County Families," how little the present day members of such families know about their forbears, and how hazy their records are-records not invariably ancient. The forbears-not they-are to blame. It is very little trouble to record a marriage, a birth, and a death. It involves little or no expense, and would hereafter save a great amount of expense when the necessity arises for tracing out a right heirship to moneys, lands, or ranks. The writer is one of those who believe that parish records ought to be freely available so far as search is concerned, to all who are willing to conduct their own searches, the only thing essential on searching being a small deposit as a guarantee of good faith that the searcher will act honourably, making it at all times a sine qua non that the searching is carried out at reasonable times, and likewise making it effectively known that any wilful damage or tampering with, or, deleting and cutting out of a register entry, will be visited with a severe penalty.
Fees have been paid for marriages and burials. and in some cases, fees or donations for christenings, therefore it is unfair to charge twice over, as it were, for items even though recorded hundreds of years ago. If officials are engaged to search and mate copies, and if certificates are required, then the custodians of the records deserve remuneration. The workman is truly worthy of his hire in such work, especially when an unpractised person would often search in vain for records probably before his eyes, but quite unintelligible to him. To-day, unfortunately, there is no fixed rule in many parishes for a general search, or if there is a rule, a certain charge for every year is demanded, or a lump sum, often quite out of all proportion to the results of the search. Many parish registers have been published of late years, and so far, so good. The clergymen authorizing such publication merit sincerest thanks. Why, however, have so many parish register-publications only come down to-say 1710,1720, or 1780, or something approximate to these years? A fear of injuring the fee-crop is the cause of this. The clergy do not for the most part perceive the inutility of such a system as the stopping-short procedure. Instead of adding to the parish coffers this method really detracts from them vastly, because people very often will not or cannot afford to pay for searching over a number of years wherein that which they are looking for may not occur until near the end of the period involved-perhaps twenty, thirty, or forty years.-If a reform were adopted in this matter, many a certificate necessary for the furthering of a claim to property would be obtained, the person searching knowing what actual amount he would have to pay. Thus the parish coffers would be enriched considerably, whereas, as things now are people prefer the laissez faire policy to paying for groping in the dark, or for going over periods they need not go over in many instances.
Leaving this question, let it be said that in regard to "Storeys of Old," much searching has taken place-not only in parish church vestries but in many offices, institutions, and libraries-public and private, in the metropolis and in the country. Various university principals, together with clergymen of all ranks, and ministers of all denominations outside the Latin and Anglican Churches have been appealed to, and in not a few instances they have responded with a heartiness scarcely less enthusiastic than if themselves had been