Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry

'The Delaforce Family History' - Introduction I

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"And they are gone, ages long ago
For old unhappy far-off things
and battles long ago"
Wordsworth 1770-1850

Introduction to the First Edition

by Patrick Delaforce

This is a true story of Kings and Convicts, Princes and Pawnbrokers, Barons and Silkweavers, Prelates and Tailors, Admirals and Lombardsmen, Goldsmiths and... Spies. It concerns a family called Delaforce.

Some of their earlier ancestors - three generations of them - were hung by Charlemagne or his father after the two battles of Roncesvalles in the 8th century. They were directly related to the old Kings of Navarre in the 9th and 10th centuries. They were Princes of Verdun and Savennes (near modern Montauban) in the 10th and 11th centuries & back into the not-so-Dark Ages.

Later on they fought at Hastings, married into the Conqueror's family, appeared in the Domesday Book, were personal friends of Richard Coeur de Lion, King John and other Monarchs. One signed for the Barons at Runnymede, others served personally Edward IV, Mary, Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and Richard III.

Another sailed in the Mayflower as a member of the crew! Now in the twentieth century they are scattered to the four winds. A few are to be found in London. Others in Portugal, America, Australia and Canada. And the author lived in France not far away from the feudal princes' stamping ground of a thousand years ago.

This book is more than just a history of a small unusual Anglo-French family. It is also a serious work on genealogy and the fascinating art of family history research.

It is possible for most families to trace their ancestry back several centuries. It requires time, patience, some luck, a little money, but it most certainly can be done. The author had time, patience, a lot of luck, a little money, and, venturing into the unknown, came up with over a thousand years of well documented family history. Some of the highlights of the history and most of the sources from 1500 are shown in this book. The author discovered new (but old) families of relations in England. Australia, USA and Canada as a direct result of his research.

The many sources of data, references and historical facts spanning a thousand years or more are spelt out in detail. In Appendix I for the UK, and in chapters 18 for the USA, 6 for Australia and 7 for Canada.

Many of Britain's population derived from the Normans of the 11th century and Huguenots of the 16th and 17th centuries. Many British have emigrated to the USA, Canada and Australia. It is felt that genealogical sources for those countries will be of interest.

Most families have a legend lurking in the background perhaps true, perhaps a fantasy!

Some of the Delaforces believed that they descended from the illustrious Dukes De La Force who were marshalls and pairs (peers) in France from the moment when King Henri IV (Paris was worth a Mass) ennobled the Caumont family in 1607. They were Huguenots, so were the Delaforces. However it is clear that the Caumont la Forces were not blood relations to the Delaforces, a very old French family deriving from Navarre, Gascony and the Gironde, with the original names of Fourcès, Forces, Forca etc.

The Caumonts acquired the town and chateau of La Force near Bergerac when in 1554 Philippe de Beaupoil de la Force of Perigord, daughter of Francois de Beaupoil, Seigneur de la Force married Francois de Caummont. Neither the Beaupoils nor the Caumonts were related to the Delaforces who at that time were either in England, Paris or on their way north to Guisnes near Calais. There is more about the Caumonts in chapter 19. (This town is now known as Guines and we make no apology for the multiple spellings in this book, which usually reflect the spelling at the time discussed).

Patrick's family has been, and members still are, Port Wine shippers in Oporto, in northern Portugal. For many generations it was a privately owned firm which meant that records were kept and a family tree preserved as far back as 1781. It could be said that a head start of two centuries is a great advantage to a family historian.

True - but this family tree concerned an English family living and working mainly in Portugal for that two hundred year period. There was little knowledge available of other Delaforce families living elsewhere.

In a sense this has been written as an adventure story. Always round the next corner was a new hero - or a villain - sometimes simultaneously.

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Contact: Ken Baldry for more information, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 but best to e-mail him
Last revised 19/10/2005 ©1980-2005 Patrick Delaforce & Ken Baldry. All rights reserved