Is Medieval history bunk?
Culture,  Family Genealogies,  Location,  Records

Medieval Genealogy Research: Myth vs. Fact

I have found my many years of our family genealogy research to be both difficult and rewarding; especially medieval research when one has to distinguish between myth and fact. There is no feeling like breaking down a ‘brick wall’ and finding solid support and/or primary genealogy sources to document the finds.


There are a few sites for ancestry research that I consider to be ‘gold standard’. I have itemized these global and Canadian sites in my previous post ‘O Canada!‘ and on the site’s ‘Genealogy Links‘ pages.

Research into my husband’s royal and Welsh Quaker family history has been consistently rewarding and I was able to find sources without a great deal of difficulty – until I reached the medieval period. I spent a great amount of time searching for reliable and respected sites and usually had to resort to entering unsupported data until I could locate sources for verification.

The truth of the matter is that medieval genealogy research incorporates fact and myth and it can be very difficult to verify information as few primary sources are available.

Foundation for Medieval Genealogy LogoThe one site I have found and rely upon the most is that of the ‘Foundation for Medieval Genealogy‘, a non-profit organization consisting of British genealogists and historians with a special interest in the medieval period. They seek to educate in, promote research in and publish results from the study of medieval genealogy.

It is possible to search for specific individuals. However, one thing I have learned is that name spellings can vary greatly. When researching one individual, I will usually search for them first and then close family members second. Once a family member is identified, it’s a simple matter of comparing the data of the others to identify duplicates for merge.

To access the digital collections, it is necessary to register. I have never registered, but I have been able to obtain information by using their open genealogical database that does not require registration.

Those responsible for this database have made every effort to cite the best possible sources in support of their conclusions and deductions. I especially like and respect the fact that they make it clear when information is speculative and provide detailed explanations of their conclusions. Any information that is speculative or unsupported is contained within square brackets (i.e. ‘[ ]’). Facts supported by sources are signified by numerical links to the source citation.

I consider this site to be the best source for medieval genealogy research and would not hesitate to recommend it for such.

A fifties' child, mom, wife, avid genealogy researcher, web contributor and author/owner of four blogs including Empty Nest Ancestry, Feathering the Empty Nest Nest, Top Web Blog Tips, Job Bully, and our extensive family genealogy database site at Blythe Genealogy.