Royal and Noble Genealogy Books

Books & Magazines, Books & Media

Nowadays a lot of information can be found online, but not everything and there are still wonderful genealogy books being published with extensive royal and noble genealogies that are a must to have for royal and noble genealogists. They don’t come cheap, but some are really worth buying.

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The original “Almanach de Gotha” was published yearly between 1763 and 1944. Occasionally you can still find copies in second-hand bookshops, but they are rather rare. Between 1763 and 1784 they were published by C.W. Ettinger in Gotha, from 1785 by Justus Perthes Publishing House in Gotha. They didn’t only contain genealogies of sovereign houses in Europe, non-reigning princely and ducal families, as well as mediatized families of comital rank, but also mentioned for example members of the diplomatic corps. The rather small booklets had sometimes more than 1200 pages. It must be said they also published books for , untitled families, barional and countal houses as far as I know. The archives were destroyed by the Soviet troups in 1944. In 1995 the family of Justus Perthes re-established its right to use the name “Almanach de Gotha”. They sold the rights to a company in London, called Almanach de Gotha Limited, that since has published several volumes. I saw some of the first volumes and wasn’t that impressed. In my possession are a few old issues of the “Almanach de Gotha”, as well as two “Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch” issues about barional houses, published by Perthes (that almost fall apart). Some books can be found in online libraries, see for example here.

The successor of the old Almanach de Gotha’s however was the “Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels”, since 1951 published by the C.A. Starke Verlag in Marburg an der Lahn, Germany. Since 2015 the books have been published by the own publishing house of the Duetsches Adelsarchiv and the publication has been renamed “Gothaisches Genealogisches Handbuch“. There are four different series: the noble houses (untitled), the baronial houses, the countal houses and the princely houses (which includes also some non-German families). The intention is that two books a year are being published. I already for years have a subscription to these very informative books.

Another genealogy book is being published by the Vereinigung des Adels in Bayern e.V. and Bayerisches Adelsarchiv e.V. in Bavaria, Germany: the “Genealogisches Handbuch des in Bayern immatrikulierten Adels”. Although I have never seen any of these books, they are said to be rather good.

British noble genealogists rely on the books of Burke’s Peerage and Debrett’s. Burke’s publishes a variety of books: Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, Burke’s Irish Family Records, Burke’s Landed Gentry The Kingom of Scotland, Burke’s Landed Gentry The Ridings of York, Burke’s Landed Gentry The Principality of Wales and The North West, Burke’s Great War Peerage. They even published “Burke’s Royal Families of The World”. Unfortunately the last volume of these series was published in 1980 and contained the genealogies of royal families in Africa and the Middle East. There were rumours in the past years about a new volume, but nothing has been published since unfortunately. I’d especially like to have a look at these non-European royal families as some genealogies are rather hard to find. Debrett’s among others since 1769 publishes “Essential Guide to The Peerage“. You can still subscribe to Burke’s Peerage online, although that doesn’t give you entrance to the most up-to-date information, it is rather good and has an excellent search service too. I think Debrett’s had the same kind of service for a while, but unfortunately stopped.

Various other countries have their own noble genealogy books too.

  • In Belgium the “Annuaire de la noblesse belge” was published in the 19th and early 20th century. Since 1960 – in the French language – the book “État Présent de la Noblesse du Royaume de Belgique” is being published. Yearly two volumes come out. I haven’t been able to find a website.
  • In Czechia almost yearly the “Almanach českých šlechtických a rytířských rodů” is being published since 1996. The publisher is called Baset. The books mainly cover noble families with a Czechian connection. I have three issues that look quite good.
  • The Danish Adelsforeningen publishes “Danmarks Adels Aarbog”, existing since 1884. The book is being published each third year by the Syddansk Universitetsforlag and is a real thick publication.
  • A republic nowadays, but still with quite a lot of nobility. Finlands Riddarhuset has since 1858 published “Finlands Ridderskaps och Adels Kalender”, usually abbreviated to Adelskalendern.
  • Not a monarchy either anymore is Italy. However the “Libro d’Oro della nobilità italiana” was first published in 1910 and still is going strong. It is being published by the Collegio Araldico.
  • In the Netherlands the Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie since 1903 publishes the “Nederland’s Adelsboek” (nobility) as well as the “Nederland’s Patriciaat” (patrician families). The latter book as of 2016 will be published by the Historisch Bureau De Clercq and Uitgeverij Verloren. The CBG has even been published both publications together on one DVD, containing the Nederland’s Adelsboek from 1903 to 1987 and Nederland’s Patriciaat from 1910 to 1997.
  • The Riddarhuset in Sweden every third year since 1854 publishes the “Sveriges Adelskalender”. I have 2010, 2013 and 2016 and love them although they’re awfully thick and probably could do with a better index (especially when families are huge), but I don’t complain. They also publish a  magazine called “Arte et Marte” every half year, which is quite nice and contains some new genealogical information. The Ointroducerad Adels Förening publishes since 1935 its own book every five years called “Ointroducerad Adel”, that contains genealogies of noble families living in Sweden, but not belonging to the Swedish nobility. I have the 2010 issue.

If there are any other similar books, I’d love to know.

2 comments

  • In doing my family history I found that King Henry VII is my 14th grandfather on my mother’s side. I had a major breakthrough this last year. Aside from the Percy/Piercy line. Found that my family beside the nobles are the royals that came to America. How cool🤗

    • I must admit that thus far almost all my ancestors are simple farmers, labourers and fishermen … Some funny and interesting stories however once in a while, and I do have some relatives in the USA.

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