Genealogical Ramification and your Pedigree

On the new book shelf on the British Floor at the Family History Library the other day was a book that immediately captured my attention:

The Geraldines and Medieval Ireland:  The Making of a Myth. Peter Crooks and Sean Duffy, editors. Trinity Medieval Ireland, Series I. Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press, 2016. Available in the United States: ISBS, 920 NE 58th Ave, Suite 200, Portland OR 97213. Footnotes and bibliography including original manuscripts and secondary studies. Each chapter is an independent study of specific aspects of the subject by a different scholar.

“The Dynastic Ramifications of the Geraldines” by Paul MacCotter (pp.170-193) led me to a new genealogical definition of ramification–branch, affiliate, offshoot, division=multiple descents from the same father, different mothers.

And these descents could carry different patronymic and matronymic surnames and given names. Blood descendants leaving different signatures on the land (and in the documents.)

This information is essential to put the family genealogy together with all of its members. I am especially interested in the Earls of Kildare of County Limerick. They descend from and are part of these Geraldines–English settlers in Ireland during the Medieval period who became Irish in their speech, in their allegiances, in their political commitments.

If you have Irish background or Scots-Irish ancestors, add this new book to your Fall reading list. You won’t be sorry. Your favorite Scots-Irish genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Recall my method of study for a book of this kind: Read footnotes and bibliographies first–what sources are used and why? Then Preface and Introduction, Table of Contents with brief bios of the authors included in the volume. Then pick the chapters that interest you most and dig in. This is advanced study–which in my opinion is necessary the minute you move before 1800 in your study. And the Medieval period governed policy, law, and tradition for centuries. Our ancestors were persons of cultural habits.

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