Page:The Ancestor Number 1.djvu/303

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THE ANCESTOR FAMILY HISTORY FROM THE PUBLIC RECORDS A VETERAN worker in the cause of genealogy, Major- General Wrottesley, has dwelt in the preface to his Crecy and Calais (1898) on the wealth of material for history contained in our public records. He cites, at the outset, the words of Ashmole : ' in our public Records lye matter of Fact, in Full Truth, and therewith the Chronological part, carried on, even to days of the month ; so that an industrious Searcher may thence collect considerable matter for new History, rectifie many mistakes in our old, and in both gratifie the world with unshadowed verity/ The writer himself was able from one class of records alone, a class which had not been previously utilized, to recover 'the names of upwards of 800 Knights and Esquires who served with the King in France in 1346 and 1347/ and to compile a work as interesting as it is valuable to the student of family history. But although the classification of our records in that great repository to which they were transferred in the course of the late reign would, in any case, have greatly facilitated the ardu- ous work of research, it was reserved for the present Deputy Keeper, Sir Henry Maxwell Lyte, to initiate a scheme for which his name deserves to be kept in grateful remembrance by the student of genealogy and topography. The noble series of 'Calendars' begun in 1892, and already extending to more than thirty massive volumes, is gradually placing at the disposal of all who possess or can consult them the contents of the Patent and Close Rolls, of the Inquisitions and Assess- ments relating to Feudal Aids, of the miscellaneous collection of documents known as ' Ancent Deeds,' and of other sources of information which were all virtually inaccessible to the members of ' the general public' For the present I will speak only of the Close Rolls, with