Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Temple genealogy

Some of the most interesting genealogy I've been involved with happens when given a sketch family tree and asked if its true. In my experience such trees usually include elements of truth, generous measures of wishful thinking leavened with half-remembered facts.

Recently I've been working on just such a situation, a friend from Newfoundland with a Temple family tree. Copied a century or more ago, its title, An Abstract of Temple Lineage, suggests that not everything is included, confirmed by occurrences of "from whom descended" and "one son."

Branches of the tree lead to British Prime Minister Viscount Palmerston, and the National Trust property of Stowe Landscape Gardens, called "One of the first and foremost of the great English landscape gardens." The tree links my friend's family to James Temple, one of the people who signed the death warrant for Charles I.

I followed the first golden rule of genealogy and worked the family back in time. There is good documentation that the family arrived in Newfoundland from Norfolk, confirmed by letters written back to England. A family Bible has entries that take the Temple line back to about 1800. Unfortunately records for the area of North Norfolk from which they came are not well represented in the IGI. What there is seems to agree with the information in the tree. Original parish records will need to be consulted in Norwich or through the Family History Library.

Information on regicide James Temple's descendants is lacking although five generations of his ancestors are well documented. There are records for the births of several of his children, so there's scope for a link. It looks like there are two generations missing, as yet, and no evidence of a move to Norfolk. On the other hand, if someone wanted to invent a connection why would they choose to make the link to a not very prominent regicide?

Quite a bit of information can easily be found by Googling Temple in various combinations with geographical and first names. One of the gems Google found were transcribed wills for two members of the family, found at TNA's Your Archives website, which is a beta version.

I was rather disappointed in Google Books which found rather little information, and what there was was mostly limited extracts or snippets, even though the material was long out of copyright. Searching in Live Search Books was more productive and I found several digitized books with further elements of this prestigious family's genealogy.

The hunt continues.

No comments: