I have updated all the data on the TNG site [click on Family Tree in the sidebar] and added PDFs of wills for download. All wills are attached to the relevant people in the database but are also available at a single click from the Documents link on the menu bar. I am currently transcribing the wills and will upload them as I go along. Alternatively, you can try reading them yourselves! I am getting pretty good at deciphering sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century handwriting!
The research has been going great guns. I was contacted in October 2008 by a distant cousin on the Bond side, David, who has since been doing a great deal of fabulous research himself and many of the additions to the database have come from him. So, thank you David!
The main thing that has come out of all the recent research is that one branch of the family, the Bonds, came from very illustrious origins indeed. It is Blanch Mayne who holds the key to the really big news. Blanch is descended on all sides from kings, knights and landed gentry. Try finding Blanch Mayne, born in 1641 in Elmdon, Warwickshire in the tree and then show her ancestor view and work your way back. You will find William the Conqueror, Several Plantagenet kings, Kings of France and Italy and more than one Holy Roman Emperor.
Although the current generation are very ordinary, previous generations have been far from it.
For those who wonder how it is possible to trace this far back and be certain of such illustrious lines, once I found George and Dorothy [ne Willing] Hand, their wills opened up the search enormously. Because Dorothy Willing was of a famous family [the Willings of Philadelphia] much has been written of their ancestry and a great deal of information is freely available. Of course, it would not do to accept all the information given as correct without double checking so, what you will find in this tree is what we [David and myself] believe to have been checked and true.
Although there are a number of myths that have been perpetrated by the Willing family [especially regarding their having two of Charles I regicides in their ancestry] we are pretty certain that we have whittled down everything to the lines that we are pretty sure hold up. It was not much of a step to find key people in the tree – verified from wills and other sources – whose ancestry has been written down through generations. From there the entire family history opened up and took us back a very long way indeed. I have often heard it bemoaned that it is difficult to find anything about ordinary people in your tree. The last month or two have proved that it is conversely rather easy to find great deal about not so ordinary people!