Burke's Landed Gentry (original title "Burke's Commoners") is the result of nearly two centuries of intense work by the Burke family, and others since, in building a collection of books of genealogical and heraldic interest,  which has evolved with Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage. The Burke's Landed Gentry, as a detailed listing of key families or other influential figures in the United Kingdom, was first published in 1826, as developed by Sir John Bernard Burke. Burke's Landed Gentry is widely used by historians and genealogical researchers.
However, the historical record tends to be a blend of fact and mythology interwoven, both wittingly or unwittingly, over centuries by word of mouth. Of "Burke's Peerage", Oscar Wilde once said, "it is the best thing the English have done in fiction." Nevertheless, Burke's Landed Gentry has been valuable for research among notable families.
Part of "Burke's" early success lay in the literary writing style adopted by John Burke, the title's founder, who made the material, based on work by many earlier authorities, more readable than ever before.
John's son, Bernard Burke, creator of the "Landed Gentry" (book series), was also a talented writer. Bernard had a flair for flowery phraseology which appealed to some on the "Gothick phantasy" side of the Victorian character. Bernard Burke was a prodigiously hard worker whose volume of output allowed little time for the meticulous checking of modern genealogy. Bernard's typical account of the antiquity of any family was that an ancestor "came in with the Conqueror".
In English history, landed gentry were the smaller landowners, and generally had no titles apart from Knighthoods and Baronetcies. Baronets are something of an exception, since they had hereditary titles but, not being members of the Peerage, were also considered of the gentry or lesser nobility. The landed gentry played an important role in the English Civil War of the seventeenth century. The term is still occasionally employed by the publishers of Burke's Landed Gentry, though they explain that their continued use of that term is elastic and stems, in part, from the adoption of that short title for a series first entitled "Burke's Commoners" (as opposed to Burke's Peerage and Baronetage).
- ^ a b c d e "The History of Burke's Landed Gentry" (genealogy book), Burke's Peerage & Gentry, 2005, Scotland, United Kingdom, webpage: Burkes-Peerage-Scot15.
- Burke's Peerage and Gentry, publishers of Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage
- Burke's Peerage Ltd.
- Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry 1847 A to L, on Google Books
- A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain 1863, on Google Books
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