Burke's Peerage

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Burke's Peerage
Founder(s) John Burke
Headquarters Buckingham, United Kingdom
File:Burkes WW2 Peerage.jpg

Burke's Peerage publishes authoritative, in-depth historical guides to the royal and titled families of the United Kingdom, such as Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, and of many other countries.[1] Founded in 1826 by Irish genealogist John Burke, and continued by his son, Bernard Burke.[2] Revised editions were frequently published by H. Colburn and R. Bentley between 1832 (fourth edition in two volumes)[3] and 1917, and again between 1923 and 1940, with further editions thereafter. The 105th edition, published in 1970 under the editorship of Mr Peter Townend, was the last update until a 106th edition came out in 1999, and a 107th in 2003.[4] Digital editions of many of the classic Burke's works will be published online in 2010 and a printed Supplement to the 107th Edition is planned to appear under the editorship of William Bortrick in 2011.[5]

eBooks and reunited ownershipEdit

Burke's Peerage, and Landed GentryEdit

The ownership of Burke's Peerage Ltd, the original publisher of Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, was bought in 1974 by Jeremy Norman and a group of investors. The board included Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd (Editorial Director); Jeremy Norman (Managing Director and Chairman); Patrick Lichfield; John Brooke-Little (Richmond Herald); Remington Norman and Peter Cook. The group published a large range of successful new publications from their premises in Walton Street, London, including Burke’s Irish Family Records, Burke's Guide to the Royal Family, Burke's Royal Families of the World, Burke's Guide to Country Houses, Burke’s Family Index and Burke's Presidential Families of USA. Some of these were multi-volume works. In 1984, after ten years of rising costs, the board decided to sell the imprint. The Peerage was sold to Frederik, Baron van Pallandt and the remaining titles were sold separately elsewhere. Ownership then transferred to Harold Brooks-Baker and his associates. For details of the history from 1974-84 see No Make-Up by Jeremy Norman (London 2006).

The 1970 edition of the Peerage, Baronetage, & Knightage was reprinted in 1980 but without further revision by the Norman consortium. The hot metal type for the Peerage had to be destroyed – printers Waterlow and Sons wanted a vast rental to continue to store it. Burke's Peerage Ltd sold all the printing blocks, depicting coats of arms, to Heirloom & Howard Ltd, who in turn sold them on to the general public. After David Sanctuary Howard, who together with his wife owned Heirloom & Howard, died in 2005 the printing blocks were sold to the Baronage Press.

The company publishing the Peerage fell into receivership in the 1980s. Ownership of the publication rights to Burke's Peerage passed through several hands in the succeeding years. In 1989, the rights were acquired by Morris Genealogical Books, who brought out a thoroughly revised two volume 106th edition in 1999.[6] In 2002, the rights to Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage were purchased by the company that owned the rights to Burke's Landed Gentry. The company was renamed Burke's Peerage and Gentry and a fully updated 107th edition was published in 2004 under the editorship of Charles Mosley.[7]

On 7 October 2009, all remaining Burke's rights were acquired from the Burke's Peerage Partnership by Burke's Peerage and Gentry. Thus, Burke's ownership has been reunited in one company for the first time in 25 years. In early 2010, Burke's announced a programme to digitise past content and make it available online in ebook format. The first nine eBooks, ranging from Burke’s Great War Peerage to Burke’s Family Index are now available.

Burke's Peerage PartnershipEdit

Burke's Peerage Partnership was formed in 1984 by a group of investors who were interested in the commercial potential of the Burke's name. The partnership owned the Burke's name and the lesser titles but never owned the publishing rights to Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, & Knightage. From 1984 until his death in 2005, the publishing director of Burke's Peerage Partnership was Harold Brooks-Baker. The partnership published a number of genealogical titles and conducted other genealogy-related business under the Burke's name. In the 1990s, Burke's Peerage Partnership licensed the name to Halbert's Family Heritage, an American publisher that sold "genealogical" books under the name Burke's Peerage World Book of Surnames. The books claimed to be a comprehensive history of any given surname, but in fact comprised mostly computer-generated lists of names and addresses drawn from telephone records, and were marketed through direct mail.[8][9] Burke's Peerage Partnership offered services including genealogical research, custom designed heraldry, and assisting clients to acquire Scottish and French noble titles.[10] On 7 October 2009 all remaining Burke's rights were sold by the Partnership to Peerage and Gentry.

Print editionsEdit

It has been announced that the last three-volume 107th edition (2004) will be followed by a Supplement edition, to be published in 2011, comprising those families who have supplied updates to their entries and all subsequent peerage creations. To enable this Burke's has been updating, and will continue to update, existing family records online.[11] On 15 April 2010, Burke's published an updated edition of the Royal Families of Europe.[12]

File:Burkes eBooks.jpg

Digital editions (Burke's eBooks)Edit

In early 2010, Burke's made nine digital eBooks available.[13] These are:

Burke’s Irish Family Records
Burke’s Landed Gentry - The Kingdom of Scotland
Burke’s Landed Gentry - The Principality of Wales and The North West
Burke’s Landed Gentry - The Ridings of York
Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage (107th edition)
Burke’s Great War Peerage (76th edition)
Burke’s Second World War Peerage (97th edition)
Burke’s Family Index
World Orders of Knighthood and Merit

The ebooks are accessible on computers, iPhones, the iPod touch and iPad in partnership with Exact Editions using the Exactly application.

Burke's Colonial Gentry (1895)
Burke's General Armory (1884)

Online databasesEdit

Burke's Peerage maintains the following online databases for libraries and organizations:

  • Burke’s Peerage & Baronetage 107th Edition, including Knights, Scottish Chiefs and Scottish Feudal Barons
  • Burke's Landed Gentry 19th Edition, The Kingdom in Scotland
  • Burke's Landed Gentry 19th Edition, The Ridings of York
  • Burke's Landed Gentry 19th Edition, The North West
  • Burke's Landed Gentry 18th Edition
  • Burke's Landed Gentry Irish Families (Irish supplement to the 15th Edition of Burke's Landed Gentry)
  • American Families with British Ancestry
  • American Presidential Families
  • British Prime Ministers
  • ATAVUS Subscriber Library[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Burke's Royal Families of the World ISBN 0-85011-023-8
  2. ^ Burke, John (1832). A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. Vol. II, 5th ed., London: Colburn and Bentley. 
  3. ^ Burke, John (1832). A General and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of the British Empire (4th ed.). London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Mosley, editor-in-chief Charles (2003). Burke's peerage, baronetage & knightage, clan chiefs, Scottish feudal barons (107th ed. ed.). Wilmington: Burke's Peerage & Gentry. ISBN 978-0-9711966-2-9. 
  5. ^ de Bruxelles, Simon (2009-07-01). "Bible of the aristocracy abandons chauvinism to list offspring in order". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Burke's Peerage: Introduction". 
  7. ^ "Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage: 107th Edition". LOOKup by ISBN. ADABTEK. Retrieved 8 January 2012. "Publication date:2003-12-01" 
  8. ^ Cook, Emma (October 17, 1995). "A peerage for berks? When a famous ancestral directory offers you a handsome tome for the coffee table, you don't expect your name to be taken in vain". The Independent (London). p. 11. 
  9. ^ Gilchrist, Jim (May 14, 1998). "Distant echoes of long-lost and unsung forefathers pop through the letter box". The Scotsman. p. 17. 
  10. ^ Bradley, Lara (July 25, 2004). "Title buyers warned in row over sale of peerages". The Sunday Independent (Ireland). 
  11. ^ Burke's Peerage
  12. ^ Bortrick, William (15 April 2010). Royal families of europe. Buckingham: Burke's Peerage and Gentry. ISBN 978-0-85011-083-8. 
  13. ^ "Burke's eBooks Homepage". Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Burke's Peerage and Gentry site

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Burke's Peerage. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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