Weis, Frederick Lewis. Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700: Lineages from Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Robert the Strong, and other Historical Individuals.

With additions and corrections by William R. Beall & Kaleen E. Beall. 8th ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004. xxi, 359p. [Formerly Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650.]

First published in 1950, Weis improves with each new edition. There’s hardly a noble family in Europe west of the Dnieper River that does not appear in this book. The plan is straightforward: Line 1 (of nearly 400) begins with Cerdic, King of the West Saxons, and follows his descendants, step by step, down to Capt. Edward Pelham of Newport, Rhode Island, who died in 1730.

Most of the intermediate generations refer the reader to another line, and another descent (or several); in this first one, No. 30 is John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, who becomes the root of another, different lineage. No. 14 is Ethelwulf, King of Wessex, who is the root of the next lineage (revised for this edition), and so on. The whole book becomes a cascade of the lineages of a relatively small number of colonial American “gateway” ancestors, most of whom interconnect among themselves by marriage — usually several times. Each brief listing (this is not a narrative history) includes page-level citations to well-regarded sources, including published histories, journal articles, parish registers, the Complete Peerage, and others. Which means that if one can work one’s way back to one of the colonial gentlemen or ladies who anchor the lines in this work, one instantly steps onto the express highway to medieval Europe.

Dr. Weis died in 1966 and Sheppard, himself a renowned genealogist, undertook (successfully) to maintain his high standards, until his own death in 2000; the 4th through 7th editions were the result of his own editorial labors, after which the Bealls (who had been assisting Sheppard) took up the mission. Re-checking and verifying all the previously published lines against both the original sources and newer ones, they were able to extensively revise and extend more than ninety of them, add sixty entirely new descents (mostly Continental), and delete a dozen or so that had failed of sufficient proof. This edition is 100 pages longer than even the one just previous. This is a very inexpensive work indeed, especially compared to many of the other titles on this list, and it should be on every genealogist’s bookshelf.

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Published in: on 10 May 2010 at 2:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. he pulishd a book on people arriving into north carolina about their families and so forth it was published last at Baltimore Md in the 1976 if you have one e mail me and let me know molliehosto@yahoo.com


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