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The Lincolnshire Pedigrees are a series of pedigrees compiled by Arthur Staunton Larken during the nineteenth century. Larken compiled the pedigrees based on primary documents including parish registers, probate records and the Lincolnshire Visitations of 1562, 1592, 1634 and 1666. Larken conducted his research along with his brother-in-law, William John Monson. Both men were interested in tracking the genealogy of prominent families in Lincolnshire.
Before his death Larken began the process of transcribing the pedigrees he had compiled into a publishable format. Due to various complications, the volume was not published during Larken’s life, but all of the pedigrees were transcribed by Larken and his children. The Harleian Society asked A.R. Maddison, who was acquainted with Larken and his research, to compile this volume based on Larken’s research.
Although the Lincolnshire Pedigrees are a significant resource for those with ancestry in Lincolnshire, the volume has a few weaknesses. In the publication process Maddison had difficulty deciphering some of the handwriting from Larken’s transcripts, particularly the documents written by Larken’s children. Because of gazetteers and maps, Maddison felt confident about the place names, but he was unsure about a few of the dates.
Fortunately, where there is confusion, the researcher can check many of the dates against primary sources. Additionally, Maddison felt that publishing Larken’s pedigrees in their entirety would be foolish because some of the pedigrees had been researched extensively elsewhere. As Maddison indicated in the Preface, “It would be a waste of time and money to print what could be found in books of reference within every one’s reach.”
Additionally, Maddison removed some of the pedigrees that Larken had compiled if Maddison knew the pedigree had been published elsewhere. As Maddison also removed pedigrees that he felt “had been drawn out to an inordinate length by giving the descents from heiresses, even when they had passed into other counties.”
Although Maddison’s editing removed substantial information about Lincolnshire families, the volume is still quite lengthy and informative. Because of the tumultuous time periods that these pedigrees cover (many extend into the sixteenth century), several families mentioned have interesting histories. Many of them came from yeomen farmers and rose to greater societal stature through the generations. Other prominent families gradually diminished in stature until their names were no longer prominent by the time the Lincolnshire Pedigrees was published.
Based on primary records, the Lincolnshire Pedigrees is an excellent resource for people seeking ancestors in Lincolnshire, England.