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And now, a note from your research curator...

What's This?

The Short Version

This started as a recreational library project the year I was doing my PhD dissertation. I am slowly continuing to work on it and am interested in any material related to any derivations of the name Montague.

This is not a genealogy. My approach is more that of an encylopedist, research curator, or amateur historian. As such I hope this information may prove of interest to many people, including any genealogists whose trees might intersect with information located here.

Many thanks to all the people that have sent me information and suggestions. Please forward any material that is academically verifiable. I apologize that I simply do not have the time to collect personal histories, oral histories, and anecdotes. If you have sufficient interest in such material, or in genealogy, contact Larry and volunteer!

Bruce R. Montague

A Few Reflections

I am collecting and organizing academically documented and verifiable historical information relating to the name Montague, including all spelling variants, regardless of derivation.

Think of this as a somewhat chaotic, detailed, uneven, world-encyclopedia entry for Montague. However, instead of seeing a final polished article, you are exposed to all the "internals", that is, the piles of cards and notes that in a real encyclopedia would be winnowed down into a small article. Real encyclopedias have long been organized by name, and internet search engines reinforce this approach to data organization. However, since it's the internet, you're always seeing an ongoing work-in-progress...

I have tried hard to cite all references to any quoted text, and to always make it clear when material is being quoted. I am trying to avoid writing material, although occasionally I can't restrain myself. I try not to quote at length, to stay within the spirit of what constitutes a citation extract, and to respect copyright. I hope authors of any quoted material feel that I am publicizing their work, which in many cases could be considered somewhat arcane.

I started this as a PhD candidate in Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) . If you've never heard of UCSC, it's the UC campus created in the mid-60's to serve Silicon Valley. As a UC grad student, I had access to some of the better research tools around... When I first came across Larry's site, I did the simplest computer search possible, and came up with a list of about 300 references, some of which were very old books and other rare material, such as collections of letters and personal records donated to UC. I mailed the search results to Larry, and wondered if he was interested...

Well, it seemed like a shame to waste access to such a good research tool. Also, it turns out that UCSC has a very good reputation in the humanities, and a good humanities library. The material that I've collected in this section is more a reflection of the quality of the UCSC humanities library then of my own effort.

It is apparent that many of the people described in the web pages are directly related. I have, in general, avoided trying to indicate who is related to who, and how. That's another project... perhaps when there's some time.

It is clear that Montague genealogy is very confusing. A thousand years ago, surnames really didn't exist. Spelling was not standard. Names were somewhat informal. Individuals did not even spell their name consistently. Both historians and contemporaries have often spelled the same name differently (a humorous example of this is a modern researcher who consistently alternates the spelling between Montague and Montagu). It is clear that many men who have married into the family have taken the name. Also, in the aristocratic branches of the family, those inheriting have sometimes taken the name even if they were no direct relation. This apparently was a common occurrence, and family members have abandoned the name for the same reason. In addition, people have simply "adopted" the name, for instance upon becoming naturalized citizens. Then, of course, the name has been used as a title, and many family members have had aristocratic titles. This leads to confusion because upon being granted a title, one's "name" immediately changes, thus John Montagu becomes Sandwich, and Anthony Browne becomes Montagu...

I will be overjoyed if any researcher, either historian or genealogist, finds this material of interest. I hope people appreciate the effort that Larry has put into the site.

For better or worse, this material provides a walk through the last thousand years of history, a walk with the proverbial human face. It has certainly given me an excuse to read a lot of history and learn an interesting slice of the human story - the bow can't always stand bent!

A final thought - it has become trite to point out the need to study the lessons of history. But what does that mean? ( `History repeats itself. This fact is a testimony to human stupidity.' Edith Hamilton, 1932). I came across a quotation that provides an interesting perspective, and somehow, given the thousand-year span of the material in this section, seems appropriate (considering the "English state" synonymous with anglo-american culture, and shire synonymous with county):

"The origins of the security of the English state lie in the length of its history. This is the determinative contrast between England and the other great states of Europe. In no other has there been such continuity in the exercise of effective authority over so wide an area for so long... Continuity in the exercise of power brought with it, and was sustained by, continuity in the institutions of government... To compare England and France in the eighteenth century... is to be struck by the contrast between the variation and complication of French provincial government and the regularity and uniformity of English shire government. Those qualities were a result, not of the modernity of the English shires, but of their antiquity." (James Campbell).

To anyone wishing to contribute information: Please send any information that you think belongs directly in the research section to me at Please send, along with the information itself, any possible references, citations, etc.. Even obituaries are helpful. I am trying to keep the material in the research section verifiable in the classic scholarly tradition. Thanks for your help!

Family Research and History Section Maintained by Bruce R. Montague:
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