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Crest of Sir Thomas Storey

Copyright © 2007

This page was last updated on
Thursday, 31 January 2008
by Brad Storey


Romans carried on against the Jews about thirty years after the death of Christ, and since their entire dispersion in the reign of Adrian, the Jews have lost their ancient genealogies; and perhaps there is not one of them who can say he is of the sacerdotal race, that is, able to produce any authentic proofs of his genealogy. "So versed were the Jews in genealogical subjects," says Jerom, "that they could repeat all the names from Abraham to Zerubbabel as easily as they could pronounce their own." We may rest assured that among the priests there was great anxiety in regard to proving to the satisfaction of the Tirshatha or Governor that their genealogies were correct, thus entitling them to perform their sacred parts. Particularly were they anxious when in the reign of Cyrus the proclamation went forth direct from the Persian King himself that a temple should be built at Jerusalem. So we read in regard to certain families of priestly line, "these sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found, therefore were they as polluted, put from the priesthood."

The author of "Popular Genealogists or the Art of Pedigree-making," says on p. 1 of his book:-

"It was the fashion among the wits and philosophers of last century to throw ridicule on the subject of pedigree; and the sarcasms of Voltaire, Walpole and Chesterfield may in a measure be excused, when we take into account the mixture of pedantry, fiction and flattery which in their day so largely usurped the place of historical truth. Since that time, however, genealogical studies have entered on a new phase. It has become an admitted fact that the history of the leading families of a country is an important part of the history of that country. A race of learned and accurate investigators have sprung up, who, approaching genealogy in a critical spirit, have brought entirely new resources to bear on it. Rejecting all that is not borne out by authentic evidence, they have applied themselves to the patient examination of the national records, the archives and chronicles of the monasteries, and the contents of private charter-chests. Each source has yielded its quota of facts, and these have been woven into genealogical biographies. Heraldry itself, after having been abandoned to coach-painters and undertakers, has again come into favour, having been found to be a valuable if not indispensable aid to the knowledge both of family and of national history."

What is the utility of a pedigree? By the use of a pedigree or genealogical tabulation we ascertain the various predominating traits of families, and can, as time proceeds, observe how far we approximate to some remarkable ancestor in disposition and action. The legal uses are unquestionable. By the pedigree we prove our right of inheritance to the belongings of our forefathers. It is to be regretted that so little attention is paid to the compilation of pedigrees, and next to this it must further be regretted that so many Parish Church Registers, notwithstanding the transcription that has taken place in some quarters, are in general, either largely indecipherable or are rapidly becoming so. Carelessly kept, covered with mildew, and consequently microbic, these priceless records will shortly be of no price or value whatever. Had