NEW!! Barkhamsted Lighthouse Newspaper Collection – done by Coni Dubois

I have created a PDF of all the newspaper, magazine or articles I could find & those collected/donated on the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Village/People.

▶️Click Here To View◀️

Please let me know what you think 🤔

➡️UPDATE: I found another newspaper folder in my files. I have added SEVERAL older articles along with a bunch of here and there’s.

Note from Coni: If you find/have anymore please keep us in mind! Will continue to add to this as I find them~


Symposium has been accepted for the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in DC!

Kenny has invited me to come to his Symposium on Lighthouse People April 13, 2018 – unsure at this time if can make it… But planning to try my best!

Via email: Kenneth Feder to Coni Dubois – 9/27/17

Hi Coni:

Some news; I have submitted a symposium to the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, April 11-15, in Washington, DC. I’m attaching a list of the papers for the symposium. And yup; I’ll be spreading the word about the Lighthouse site, community, and family to an international conference of archaeologists. I’m going to focus on how archaeology and family have connected. There are pics of you! I won’t know until sometime in December if the symposium will be accepted.

I have no idea if you might like to come to DC and watch the symposium if it runs.

Lots of sessions, lots of Native people attend.


Via email: Kenneth Feder to Coni Dubois – 12/31/17

Hi Coni!

The symposium I mentioned to you has been accepted for the annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in DC! My presentation is about the Lighthouse!

Hope all is well! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


More on: Kenneth Feder

More on event: Annual meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in DC

Doppelgangers, Mistakes, and Lies

200px-gilbertarms_mediumA few articles ago, I talked about the possibility that a 200 year old assumption about the origins of the Gilbert surname might be erroneous. The well-repeated story is that since the Gilberts of Compton came from Devonshire, and Devonshire was also home to two famous brothers bearing the name FitzGilbert, then naturally these brothers are the progenitors of the surname. I do not assert that this is impossible, but after looking at about 280 descendants of these brothers (what I estimate to be about 80% of the number of actual descendants in the 8 generations I looked at), there is just no evidence. So, we come upon a major problem in the discovery of the Gilbert family origin: trusted sources might just plain be wrong.

In the example above, a manuscript written between 1573 and 1620 contained a passage that said someone called Gilbert (not necessarily a surname) possessed a Devonshire manor called Manaton sometime between 1042 and 1066. Later writers pointed out that the Domesday Book of 1086 showed the above FitzGilbert brothers (FitzGilbert not being a surname) came to own Manaton sometime after 1066. Despite the previous manuscript’s assertion that other men followed Gilbert in owning the manor sometime after 1066, the above described error was stamped into many peerage and pedigree books. Gilbert was just a popular first name at the time of no last names, and FitzGilbert just meant ‘son of Gilbert’. This is just one of several big errors out there.

Another major issue with source material on the Gilberts of Compton is that there appears to have been two women named Elizabeth Champernowne, and both had fathers named Oliver! However, they were born roughly 120 years apart. How can this be? Well at the time Elizabeth and Oliver were pretty common names, and it seemed to be the habit among Anglo-Normans to honor ancestors by passing names down for generations. For example, just in my single patrilineage, there are seven Williams, four Thomases, and four Johns (including this one). Both Elizabeths appear to descend from the Dukes of Normandy, and married into the Gilbert line at two points five generations apart. The younger Elizabeth (1334-1380) appears to be the elder Elizabeth’s (ca. 1210 – ?) great grandniece. The elder appears to have married the mysterious William Gilbert (1204/1210-1270), and the younger his great-great grandson, Sir William Gilbert (1327-1380). Sources continuously conflate these two women.

A final obstacle to building a clear understanding of the true relationship of these ancestors is simple: people lie. Not only are many ancestors simply overlooked in historical records (for example, even King Henry I’s illegitimate son, Gilbert FitzRoy (1130-1142), has no substantial record), but the stories of what child belonged to whom might be questionable. In a time of multiple mistresses among the landed gentry, one might assume this to be commonplace. For the Gilberts of Compton, one of our biggest claims to fame is the explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert (1539-1583). His mother, Katherine Champernowne (1519-1594) remarried after the death of his father, Otho Gilbert of Compton (1513-1547). She married a Member of Parliament named Walter Raleigh. Their son was the famous explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, half-brother to Humphrey but not a blood relation to the Gilberts of Compton – or so the story goes. I leave you with this portrait of a young Sir Walter Raleigh next to my son, the 20th descendant of Sir Otho Gilbert, Sheriff of Devon (1418-1492) who is also Raleigh’s half-brother Humphrey’s great grandfather:

lach raleigh2

American Knights

200px-gilbertarms_mediumIt’s been close to thirty years since I last read Plato’s Republic. In it, if memory serves, he uses the terms ‘soldier’ and ‘warrior’ interchangeably. That’s understandable since in his day and land roughly every able-bodied man of military age served as a ‘warrior’ in the army. However, I have always found a slight incongruence when applying this to our time. In America, where roughly one percent of the population serves in the military, this Ancient Greek idea inadequately encompasses what surely must include women who are warriors, soldiers who are not warriors, and warriors who are not soldiers. It is this latter category, the warriors we find in every day society outside of the army, to which the subject of genealogy seems most salient at the moment. To discover the near-universal struggle of our warrior ancestors, who carved out our nations and gifted us our very lives, infuses our more mundane modern existence with a new sense of purpose.

For Americans especially, we inheritors of individualism from the Enlightenment, a great gap exists in family histories. Our immigrant ancestors came here throwing off old values, old systems, old traditions, and sometimes even old names, to embrace the new. Disposing of Old World notions of inherited status, titles of nobility, and class by birthright, these young Americans sought success through individual effort. An unfortunate side effect of burning bridges across the Atlantic was that a part of us remains adrift in history, detached from where we came from and devoid of identity. In leaving behind religious persecution and congenital dictatorships, Europeans also left behind what may have been noble about a family name. In being rent from their lands as property, Africans lost touch with their pasts wholesale. In the inexorable Westward expansion, Native Americans were marched away from their ancestry at gunpoint. This is the condition we find ourselves in, and if ever there were a source of our current social woes this is it. As Butch tells the cab driver in Pulp Fiction, “I’m an American, honey. Our names don’t mean shit.”

Take heart. Our nation is still young. We the People have invented the modern world, including amazing powers of genetic research and the astounding instrument of the Internet. We can use these tools to link ourselves with the past warriors in our ancestry, who carried on and built their societies even in the face of plague, invasion, natural disasters, and some man-made ones. This is of urgent importance to the nation’s youth, who too often feel themselves detached, isolated, and that their names “don’t mean shit”. A little research can enlighten them to the struggle that got them this far, and to share in that pride. While the 800 year old Gilbert line has been noted as being “of much estimation [esteemed]” and “of knightly rank”, it is not necessarily the wielders of the sword who are the warriors. Anyone may be such in their daily lives. I believe a warrior is anyone who has seen farther and finds it incumbent upon him or herself to protect those who haven’t. If we are diligent, we still have time to patch the hole in our history.

Sons and Daughters of Crispin?

200px-gilbertarms_mediumThe most often-repeated claim about the origins of the Gilbert surname in Devonshire might not be true. This claim is that the family took its last name from the two prominent Norman landholders who were known to possess a huge amount of property in the area (according to the Domesday Book and other records around the year 1086). These two nobles, Richard Fitz-Gilbert, 1st Earl of Clare (1035-1090), and Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert, Sheriff of Devon (1022-1090), were the sons of the murdered Gilbert “Crispin” of Brionne and Eu (979-1040). Crispin was, in turn, the son of Count Geoffrey of Brionne and Eu (953-1015) who was the illegitimate son of Richard I, Duke of Normandy. (Incidentally, “Crispin” was a nickname given him due to his hair being so curly as to stand up as the branches of a pine tree.) Crispin’s two sons, Richard and Baldwin, accompanied William the Conqueror in his 1066 conquest of England and were richly rewarded with lands in Devonshire and other areas. However, a meta-analysis I just completed on the descendants of these two men strongly indicates that they were not likely the forefathers of the Gilbert line.

The root source of this erroneous claim is probably a misreading of the manuscript called View of Devon and Compton, by an author named Westcot. It has been cited in many subsequent books and webpages as claiming the Gilberts “possessed lands in Manaton, (in or near Dartmoor,) in Edward the Confessors’ days”. The original passage in the manuscript reads:

“This riveret parts Manaton, alias Magneton, and Lustlegh. Many have possessed lands here: in the Confessor’s time Gilbert; after Sauls, Horton, Le Moyn, and others.”

Clearly, Westcot simply states someone named “Gilbert” possessed lands there. Further, “Edward the Confessor’s days”, which were 1042-1066, were at a time when there were likely no “Gilberts” as a family, surnames not being a Norman practice then.

I looked at around 280 individuals who were known to have descended from Richard and Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert between their time and about 1200, when we see our first William Gilbert of Compton appear on the scene. This accounts for what I estimate to be about 80-90% of all their descendants over seven or eight generations, some descendants being hard to account for, illegitimate, etc. By the year 1200, these people descended into around 145 different family or house names – not a single one being “Gilbert” or even “Fitzgilbert”. This is due not only to the daughters marrying into other houses (accounting for at least 50% of the descendants), but also the Norman naming convention at that time that did not favor transmitting a single ‘family name’ down successive generations. For example, Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert’s children became known as ‘Fitz-Baldwin’. Richards became “Fitz-Richard”. A grandchild named Geoffrey would have children named ‘Fitz-Geoffrey’ and so on. Of course, there were instances of grandchildren receiving the first name of Gilbert from time to time, and whose children would be known as ‘Fitz-Gilbert’, but again that Gilbert name would simply disappear in the next generation. This process over 130 years or so, when people started taking surnames, resulted in the descendants of Richard and Baldwin becoming families and houses as varied as Boplande, Munchensy, Walter, Pendergast, St. Leger, Houghton, and Marshal – not a single Gilbert family.

Of course it is entirely possible that one of the lesser-known descendants, perhaps not being recorded in the tax rolls and deed registers due to little or no inheritance, decided to take great-grandpa Crispin’s name as a surname to honor him. However, this is unlikely in view of what we do know about naming conventions of the time. There were four descendants of the Fitz-Gilbert brothers, who were alive right before or around 1200, who had ‘Gilbert’ incorporated into their name somewhere. Two of these, though, have had their descendants accounted for (the lines terminating through marriage into the houses that became such families as de Neville, de Monmouth, de Briwere, de Wyesham, de Builli, de Bussey, and de Wahull, or becoming other families through the male lines, such as Claire and FitzWalter). One of the others, Gilbert de Vere, Prior of the Knights Hospitaller, Oxford (1122 – ?), son of Avice FitzGilbert de Clare (1091 – 1163), would likely have had three or four generations of descendants before 1200 – likely losing all reference to his first name in the process. The remaining person, Gilbert de Clare de Strigull, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, (1173 – 1185), son of Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Tonebridge (1130 – 1176), died in childhood. Considering the 145 descendants I could identify alive around the late 1100’s to 1200, and a likely 15 or so unaccounted for in that same generation, the odds of any being the progenitor of the Gilbert surname are about 29:3 in the wrong direction.

In addition to this, there is good evidence that Gilbert was in use as a surname already by people not found on the Crispin family tree. For one, a Robert Gilbert witnessed the signing of a deed sometime between 1199 and 1216. From Westcot’s manuscript:

“Sciant presentes et futuri, quod ego Willielmus de Vernon comes Devon dedi Deo et Ecclesie Sancti Michaelis de Brumor, &c. Hiis testibus Mabilia Comitissa, Abbate Quarar, Roberto Gerebert, Rich. Cottle, Samp- son Clerico de Plympton, cum multis aliis”

(John Pierce, citing Westcot in his work, The Worthies of Devon, 1810, went on to claim that this Robert Gilbert was actually the Richard Fitz-Gilbert found in the Domesday Book – a mistake placing Richard 100 years in the future!) Another example is one I mentioned in an earlier article, a William Gilbert cited in the Pipe Rolls of Normandy in 1198. These two are further evidence that some Normans not in the Crispin line were using the surname Gilbert already.