Some comments on “A Most Remarkable Family”

+9 votes
I have just received a copy of “A Most Remarkable Family: A History of the Lyon Family From 1066 to 2014.” I descend from Benjamin Lyon, and therefore was interested in what this book has to say about his ancestors, and especially on the purported Scotland origin.

The book seems to contain little or no original research. Much of the book is based on earlier works, without a critical discussion of them. The author does not present a discussion of primary sources to support the assumption that the American Lyons had their origin in Scotland.
in The Tree House by George Fulton G2G6 Pilot (499k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

3 Answers

+10 votes
Thanks for your review, George.

I've read pieces of this book in Google Books or Amazon preview, and I concluded that it was garbage. Unfortunately, an attractive cover image and an appealing blurb on Amazon can give an aura of credibility to almost anything. And people keep contributing profiles to WikiTree that were created from this book.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
When considering the current standards and expectations for genealogical works, such in the Mayflower Descendant and the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, this book falls short.

Ellen, I wonder if there is a way that WT can somehow recognize when that book is used as a source and tag the profile. I can’t think of how that could be done (technically speaking), but maybe when members run across that source (and sources like it) they could notify someone in leadership. ‘Course, if the book actually did get something right by chance, then...... ?

+9 votes

It is really interesting how after one becomes educated about "primary sources" you start to sort out the wheat from the chaff. For example I have a copy of "The XXX Family Book" done by an amateur genealogist in the 50s which has no sources at all.  It does contain several charming personal recollections of the people concerned and it also is an okay starting place for the general outlines of the family.  However I have also accessed a book of primary sources about the family compiled by a genealogist (of the same era, may I add) and those sources do certainly tell a somewhat different story in many different cases and facts! 

by Crispin Reedy G2G6 Mach 4 (42.5k points)
When I was in highschool, more than 50 years ago, the major second year English project was to write a term paper. When my children were in highschool, they did the same thing. We had to follow the Chicago Manuel of Style which showed to how to cite sources and create a proper bibliography.

The Chicago Manual dates from 1906, and is currently in its 17th edition. So, the proper technique has been around for a long time!

There are other style manuals, but the principles are the same!
+3 votes

I read the preface of Lyon Memorial I

The editor-in-chief says there was going to be one book covering all the New England immigrants, but it was going to be too big, so they split it.  Something odd about this being his own executive decision.

The true story seems more likely to be that they had a falling-out.  The 2nd book

is a very different sort of book.  According to this, the Connecticut immigrants were Scottish, from Glen Lyon, though they must have been Scottish Roundheads, because they stopped off to witness the execution of Charles I on their way to New Haven CT. {{citation needed}}

The whole story of the Lyons of Glamis is given.  He doesn't say exactly how to connect the immigrants, but the reader can join the dots.

One fantasy begets another.



by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (572k points)

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