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Burke's published this collection of Family Records as a supplement to its Peerage and Baronetage and the Landed Gentry. The nobility and gentry of England, Scotland, and Wales, as Mr. Burke explains in his preface, "are by no means confined to these classes, but include many other families of equal position, descent and alliance, for a gentleman derives his nobility from his ancestors and not from the mere possession of lands or titles . . . Many a noble lord, paramount in his own county, would be astonished to find that his less distinguished neighbor was of a nobility as ancient as his own. The position of these cadet houses has been still further obscured by the acquisition of lands and titles by those who have risen from humble rank to wealth and honour . . . have ennobled themselves by their great services to the Crown and country, or whose alliances make them so near akin to our ancient nobility."
Following the arrangement of the Peerage and Landed Gentry volumes, this work seeks to put to rights this oversight by tracing the descent of some 300 cadet houses of the British nobility from Airey and Gorton to Swanzy and Yarker. In keeping with Burke's scrupulous standards of evaluation, coats of arms are also provided, but only for those families for which clear official authority was forthcoming. Students of royal and noble genealogy will welcome the index to the more than 10,000 names found in this volume, now rescued from obscurity by Clearfield Company.