DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 2000-01 > 0949262550
From: "Diana Trenchard" <>
Subject: Re: Visitations
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 20:02:30 +0000
Originally I was sending this reply personally to Charles, but as I see he has
also sent a copy to the List I am doing the same.
I wasn't being critical in any way, I was merely trying to add a cautionary
note about relying on them 100%. I was just trying to add another 'word of
wisdom' to what you had said.
I am so saddened by how many people, especially beginners, take something as
Gospel just because it is printed in a book, or appears on their screens. I
know I started out in this way until taken in hand by a good mentor. I just
wish that all I know now had been in my head when I first started out on
family history research many years ago.
I'll try to answer each of your points - we obviously differ about the College
>Never did I suggest that the Visitations and the ensuing Pedigrees/data/et
>al, were Gospel, in accuracy or were necessarily complete and comprehensive?
But by saying that
">1. Other researchers, whose ancestors could have been a part of the Gentry,
>will have a very easy time relatively, of tracing their roots, using
you appear to imply it! I was merely adding a cautionary note.
>Next, there were many granted Arms who were clearly not of the Nobility
[including the Trenchards<g>]
>make it seem that there was a great deal of "cheating," and "shanagans"
The few years that I have spent on the GEN-MED List has taught me that there
are indeed quite a few errors in the Visitations, most of them probably being
errors in view of insufficient information. The College of Arms only started
early 1480s (temp Richard III) and therefore it is impossible for them to have
anything like totally accurate information from the centuries before that
time. During the Visitations the Heralds weeded out quite a few families who
were not entitled to bear arms, but others doubtless (and obviously in some
cases) came through either by accident or fraud.
>I did not go into the process of an application and what was done
>for validation, a distinct subject. I suggest you communicate with the
>College of Arms concerning this issue.
I have certainly already spoken to one of the Heralds on the subject and he
was unable to offer any help on the discrepancies. Additionally, one of my
unrelated Trenchard 'cousins' has the right from the College to bear the
Dorset Trenchard arms of the senior branch (with a difference since it is
through an illegitimate connection) which died out in the male line in the
early 1800s. At the time his application was made it was gone into very
thoroughly with the same result - they do not have any primary information
that can help sort out the discrepancies, and indeed no other information
except for the pedigrees from the time of the Visitations. Also, the College
had no information (until I told them of it) of a separate armigerous Devon
family of Trenchards that died out in the two male lines in the late
>For the most part the Pedigrees were
>investigated with some care, the College being concerned with contamination.
>When I was completing by M.A. I visited the College. and other
>establishments - spent a year, in the UK, taking various courses, some at
>Cambridge. Records lie and liars record, to be sure, truth was bent here and
>there. But you miss the mark, giving beginners the idea that the Pedigrees
>were untruthful! What I was commenting on was that they can be another
>source on information. If one was attached to the Pedigree, by descent, it
>makes it easy to do research.
No, you've missed MY point. SOME of the pedigrees ARE untruthful, and you
won't know if yours is one of them until you have checked every event on it.
THAT was the cautionary note which I was adding.
>Diana, why don't you post some useful information yourself, on the matter.
>Please read over my posting - I did not claim that the records - any record,
>as a matter of fact, could be taken as absolutely correct.
But you didn't SAY this. It is important that especially beginners should
learn not to accept everything they see documented as being Gospel. They must
learn to check everything for themselves. (I've already posted another
message to the Devon List on this subject before downloading this message from
>Another thing: The Pedigrees were frequently updated, so as to include some
>who may not have been inserted at one time. What you should do is go to the
>College themselves; they can provide a first rate reading list, as to the
>system, it concepts and its shortcomings. If you have not already done so,
>obtain a certified copy of the TRENCHARD pedigree, from the College, which
>might solve your discrepincies?
Charles, this has been done, together with obtaining every pedigree known
to have survived in all branches of the family. They were no help at all in
ironing out any of the discrepancies, and in a couple of cases added more to
the confusion. A further complication was that none of them tied up with a
secondary description of a series of armorial windows (dating from early
1500s) in the family home of the senior branch which were destroyed early
>They provide research/reports at a
>reasonable price - even to helping one sort out the kind of thing about
>which you have written.
They were absolutely no help - see above. I have reasonable faith in them for
recent centuries, but significantly less for earlier ones with much, much less
for pre-1480. Before I knew him, an American 'cousin' had obtained a Report
from the CofA on the Trenchards. After I recently made contact with him he
a copy of the Report. I was very unimpressed with the information he had
received. It was long after the Trenchard discrepancies had been gone into,
and no mention was made in the Report of anything about possible
unresolved/doubtful links. You appear to have faith in them, but I certainly
>No, the Visitations/Pedigrees make a research process easier. Do you dispute
They CAN make it easier, or they can give false information leading to a
wastage of time and money. They should be treated with caution.
>Does this explaination satisfy you, Diana?
We obviously agree to differ on the reliability of the Visitations/College of
Arms <big Grin>
|Re: Visitations by "Diana Trenchard" <>|