Is this a reliable enough source for a Bruce family member, in Scotland pre-1500?

+6 votes

The wife of Ivo(ne) Kirkpatrick is said to be Euphemia, possibly the daughter of Robert Bruce and Isabelle Huntingdon. The evidence for this marriage appears to be one solitary document, a pedigree which has been in the hands of Bruce descendants, perhaps first documented by William Playfair in his 1811 ''British Baronetage...'' This pedigree does still exist, although we haven't been able to know the details contained in it.

Richardson does provide a daughter Euphame for Robert Bruce and Isabelle Huntingdon, but does not tell us what her later status was, and makes no mention of a husband.

The one redeeming feature is that it is held by the Bruce family, so the Kirkpatricks aren't the ones making the claim. 

The question becomes: Is this source, a family pedigree reportedly held by the Bruce family to present day, but whose content has not been published, sufficient proof to connect Euphemia to her parents and husband in WikiTree's pre-1500 environment for reliable sources? 

WikiTree profile: Euphemia Kirkpatrick
in Policy and Style by Bobbie Hall G2G6 Pilot (209k points)

4 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
I would have said this is not sufficient evidence. The most I would do is consider adding a research note referring to the pedigree and saying that no reliable source has been found to confirm what it is alleged to say.

Family trees handed down within a family are not in my view, reliable sources for pre-1700 profiles, let alone pre-1500 ones. I cannot see how this can come within the definition of a reliable source for pre-1700 genealogy. Such trees may be pointers for research, but I would not see them as acceptable sources.
by Michael Cayley G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
selected by Amy Gilpin
Part of the argument is that this pedigree is of a higher value than most "family trees" because it is held by the current Earl of Elgin. I'm not privy to what is held in those very deep, very secret family vaults and trunks, but are they of a higher value than what is found in other family attics?
Unless a Bruce family genealogist can confirm what the document says and offer supporting sources, I would have to agree with Michael.  As it stands now, it should not be considered reliable enough on its own.
I agree, Michael. It is a hint, possibly a strong hint, of a relationship but without the provenance and supporting documentation, a tree is just a tree. In this case, the "tree" is reported to exist but is not available for evaluation.
The request has been made to the family genealogist to see if they can provide more detail about the document. We wait.
It would not make any difference to me that the current Earl of Elgin holds the pedigree. Nor that it may have possibly been seen by William Playfair.
I agree with Michael that there is not sufficient evidence yet a research note is worthy in this case as it may prompt a close investigation.Without other authentic source(s) to support this claim a family tree is not reliable.

My gtx19 grandfather Gilbert de Glassary (De Glassary-5) possibly married a daughter of Matilda Bruce, i.e Catherine Isaac (Isaac-35) or a sister not recorded. This is supported by several sources but as proof is still lacking I have added that as a Research note to Gilbert's profile rather than link him to Catherine. She is given as died at Stirling (no date) unmarried but no proof is offered .
+1 vote
Agree with Michael and others, as this source does not pass the credibility test for confirmability, trustworthiness, and objectivity.
by Pamela Lohbeck G2G5 (5.5k points)
edited by Pamela Lohbeck
+10 votes
Morning everyone, sorry but I am clearly in a minority here and I will explain why I disagree.

IF the family tree had been written in the modern era "on the back of a chip paper" I would immediately dismiss it.

HOWEVER it is not. It is held according to the information above within the chartulary at Broomhall, the family seat. Assuming that is the case then we must assume the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, both current Chief of the Bruce clan and more importantly the acknowledged most direct male descendant of the mediaeval Bruce family believes it to be accurate.

I often cross swords with Wikitree members who are used to publicly accessible, often digitally available sources. I have on occasion rummaged through old family papers in chartularies belonging to distant cousins while working with them on mutual family research. Most such papers are family papers, private and not open to public viewing. Indeed the earliest Sutherland family title deed, dating from 1165 appears either temporarily lost or mislaid (not by the current Sutherland family) but its contents are accepted pro veritate because distinguished early 19th century historians and genealogists stated in writing that they had examined the document and translated the contents from early mediaeval Latin into "modern" English.

This year alone we have altered the position of two well known men within the Sutherland of Forse family because distant cousins had stumbled across wills, not readily accessible and not digitally available, which showed that the men in question were both "brother german" to the men whom generations of historians had claimed were their fathers.

I would therefore argue that where a document is believed to be in the hands of the correct family and has in the past been seen or verified by someone unlikely to "make it up", that source should be accepted. In the course of "rebuilding" the main cadet lines of the Sutherland family over the past 30 years, I have used all sorts of scraps of information, few if any publicly available and while any one may be open to challenge, taking them together, as we lawyers might say, they begin to corroborate one another and build a clear picture.

I certainly would not object to a research note appearing on any profile indicating that there may be some question as to the validity of the claimed link between two people, one of whom is the subject of the particular profile and then others could decide for themselves the degree of belief they personally choose to apply.

For completeness I might add that in some families, yDNA is confirming the understanding of principal lines and cadet branches. I am now using yDNA to rebuild the wider Sutherland family with yDNA providing positive proof of links which have long been suspected but rarely for which written "proof" exists.
by Mark Sutherland-Fisher G2G6 Mach 3 (33.8k points)

Thank you for your commentary, Mark. I do understand your point of view, and accept that you, based on your experience, would believe that a pedigree in the hands of the right family would hold serious weight. 

Would you expect to see some sort of later evidence of the document? From what our research so far has uncovered, we simply know that a document exists, as it was mentioned in a book published in 1811, and another in 1858. We don't have any clue to the age, provenance or content of the record. Since it records a marriage relationship back in the 13th century, wouldn't you expect there to be some other evidence unearthed or published at some point that confirms it? I keep thinking that if a family (Kirkpatrick) was descended from the family of Bruce they'd be making a bigger deal of it if they had the proof. 

William Playfair's British Baronetage, vol. 3, part 1, p. 339 is the publication from 1811 that mentions Euphemia Bruce as marrying Ivo de Kirkpatrick, seemingly based on a family tree of the Bruce of Clackmannan in the hands of the Earl of Elgin.  The name Euphemia comes from another document that refers to Eufemiam de Kirkpatrick. However my understanding is that even in Medieval Scotland, women were referred to under their birth family?

There is a document in People of Medieval Scotland database that has a William de Brus granting lands to Ivo de Kirkpatrick, dated sometime between 1194 and 16 July 1212.  There appears to be no mention of any marriage, but obviously there was some connection between the two families.  Whether this is the same Ivo de Kirkpatrick who was granted Closeburn in 1232 I'm not sure?

The thesis by Ruth M. Blakely, The Brus Family in England and Scotland 1100 - c.1290, has a note 58 on p. 188, that Ivo de Kirkpatrick doesn't make an "appearance in the Brus records before the time of William de Brus."  

If he married a sister of William de Brus, then perhaps we should expect Ivo would appear more often in Brus records?

Given the document in the hands of the Earl of Elgin, would appear to not be contemporary with the supposed life of Euphemia Bruce, and could be much later, I would be inclined to at least mark her as 'Disputed Existence'

+2 votes

Is she mentioned in any of George Crawfurd's works? ( )

George was a well-regarded historian who was known to be thorough and careful, and was often allowed access to record collections for this purpose as he traveled the country. I would imagine that the family of Robert the Bruce would have been included in his work.

by Jonathan Crawford G2G6 Pilot (102k points)

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