Preface to the 2014, 100th Anniversary Edition

December 22, 2014

The Pemberton Family World Wide had been working on the re-publication of this wonderful old book for a few years. As the calendar came closer to the 100th anniversary of the death of its compiler, it was determined that we should attempt to finalize the project as a tribute to him. So it is with some satisfaction that we offer this work to the world on this, the 22nd of December 2014, exactly 100 years after the death of Robert Charles Boileau Pemberton.

Pemberton Pedigrees first came to the attention of this author many decades ago and the recent discovery that it might be published again without violation of any copyright was a source of great satisfaction. A well marked up copy of the book was discovered on microfilm in the library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and scans were made of every image in August, 2011. Upon examination of those images, it became clear that a satisfactory edition could not be produced from that source. There were pages missing, the order of pages was in question, the personal notes needed rubbing out and some of the images were unreadable.

When the Pemberton Family World Wide organization matured sufficiently to support the effort, a call went out for anyone who might have access to a hard copy. Herbert Pemberton, a retired librarian of Blackpool, England responded with enthusiasm. Within a few days he and his son Steven were in the Lancashire Archives in Preston, England, meticulously photographing each page, including the many problematic fold-out pedigree charts. It was only a few days later that I received a CD in the mail containing the fruits of their dedication.

Then the work began of preparing the images for publication. It was clear that a conversion of the images of pages of text should be undertaken so as to produce an electronic, searchable version of those pages while the condition of the paper of the old book and the lighting in the Archives rendered the images of the charts in need of enhanced contrast. Chris Pemberton of Redditch, Worcestershire, England, and Michael Spier of Seattle, Washington, answered the calls that went out and soon my computer was notifying me of pedigree charts appearing in the Treated Images section of the DropBox folder of my hard drive. These communication facilities reminded me of the gargantuan effort expended by R. C. B. Pemberton as he researched and assembled text and charts more than a century ago. Then even personal transportation was slow and tedious by today’s standards, and information technology was not even a concept. He and his son, the Rev. Robert who took up the task when his father died, were required to do their work by letter, by personal visitations to people, places and libraries. All this underscores the value that we all now place upon their labors.

With great interest Herbert, Chris and myself and many others read the following in the Preface to the original edition:

R. C. B. Pemberton “… died in December, 1914, and it was impossible for me [his son Robert] during the war to do anything towards fulfilling his wish, but during the last two years I have endeavoured to assimilate the information he had gleaned, to bring it up to date and in some cases to add to it, but in the midst of a busy life I have had to forego any extensive original research, and think it best to issue now the necessarily incomplete result. The cost of printing, however, makes it impossible to publish the whole work at the present time and so, acting on expert advice, I am publishing the Pedigrees separately as a first volume, hoping that the interest of the various families may justify the issue of the Notes on the Pedigrees as a second volume in the near future. I have added short introductions to most of the Charts, noting the chief cases where assumptions have been made, but fuller details and also acknowledgments of help received are reserved for the future. There is still need for much further research in some of the branches, especially Lancashire, Cheshire, London and Suffolk, and as more Parish Registers and early documents are printed it should become possible to link up most, if not all, of the branches with the original Lancashire stock.”

And so it is that a large portion of the hopes for this present work rest in the possibility, however seemingly remote, that R. C. B.’s notes and research papers may, because of this edition, be found and finally published. Perhaps the Pemberton Family World Wide organization will endure and volunteers will continue to provide these valuable services to the rest of the worldwide Pemberton family. But first we have to find the main body of the work of Robert Charles Boileau Pemberton.

[Ed. Note: January 15, 2015, Now in the final throes of publication, we are delighted to receive word from England that R. C. B. Pemberton's notes and research papers have been located in the library of the Society of Genealogists in London! A most happy event.]

We can still find traces of his work such as the following which appeared in “The Cheshire Sheaf”, the April 1906 issue, page 33 (British Library:


The Pemberton Family

Information is desired in connection with the early Pembertons of Lancashire and Cheshire, more especially with regard to those branches whose members migrated to S. Albans, co. Herts, and Rushden and Higham Ferrers, co. Northampton, in the 15th and 16th centuries, and regarding James Pemberton of Whiston, co. Lancs., whose estates were confiscated by the Confiscation Act of 1652, cap. 23, and his ancestors and descendants.

The Lancashire and Cheshire Record Society’s publications have already been examined, as well as most of those of the Chetham and Surtees societies.

A “Geoffrey [or Jeffery] Pemberton, who came fromWiston, co. Lancs., and settled at S. Albans, being decended from the Pembertons of Pemberton Hall, co. Lancs.,” is stated in the Visitation of Northamptonshire of 1681, which is in the College of Arms, to have been the father of Roger Pemberton of S. Albans, who died in 1627, whereas in various Visitations of Hertfordshire, of earlier dates, his father’s name is given as “Robert,” whose wife’s name was “Catherine.” In some this Robert is styled “of S. Albans.” Anything tending to elucidate the fasts would be useful.

The undersigned would be glad to enter into communication with any Pembertons or others who may be interested in such inquiries.

R. C. B. Pemberton
13, Creswell Gardens,
South Kensington, London, S.W.

This 2014 edition was the work of many volunteers but primarily the following:

Herbert Pemberton, Blackpool, England
Christopher Pemberton, Redditch, England
Michael Spier, Seabeck, Washington, USA

Jackson Pemberton, Fairview, Utah, USA
December 22, 2014