Modernly speaking there never was a time when greater interest was evinced by intelligent people in their family history, than we find to be the case to-day. And it must not be supposed that this interest is based upon mere vainglory or caprice. On the contrary it appears to be based upon the wholesome principle which animated the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Jews, whose aim was to perpetuate the honour of their races and their claims to those high characteristics which in literature, arts, and arms, if not in science, to any notable degree, marked the earliest makers and moulders of empire. Then again, in many instances the fact that some ancestors had held high offices in the state served as a stimulus to maintain their best personal qualities and to stoop not to anything likely to dishonour those ancestors. On this point something is said on another page of this work therefore it is unnecessary to add anything here.
One can only regret that the ancient interest in family history has been allowed to lapse for so long a period. Revolutions, national convulsions and the decline of a healthy patrician as well as patriotic spirit, following as a consequence, have in the main brought about the indifference. The decline of wealth and positions, more or less hereditary, has in these later ages caused many people to ignore aught but Mammon-worship and luxurious living, and thus erroneous views have made. many persons representing ilie best blood and breed of the land. afraid to reveal their true origin and bring to light their time-honoured escutcheons lest they should be considered fit targets tor sarcasm and ridicule.
The late Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, in one of his best novels* proved very correctly that if the true descendants of nobility and chivalry-in its broadest sense-are to be searched after and discovered in the British empire to-day, they are to be searched after and found in our villages and hamlets where the tillers of the soil abound, some of them yet designated yeomen and dalesmen, while others are among the humblest of the peasant order. The old names in our parish church records-names handed down from generation to generation attest the truth of the assertion. The south and west of England arc able to give instances of Saxon and Gallic occupations in one form or another: the eastern and northern portions supplying instances no less prominent, especially in regard to Saxon and Norse occupations. The south and west still furnish us with such surnames as Daubeney, Delmard, Dormer, Fancourt, Fitz-Baldwin, Glanville, Glanfeylcle. L'Espec, Mandville, Marton, Vallance; and the east and the north display yet very prominently such names as Ashburner, Brockbank, Bellerby, Blaylock, Blenkinsopp, Bellingham, Dargue, Denny. Hewitt. Losh, Martindale, Pickard, Prendergast, Rickerby or Ricaby, Nanson, Veevers, Vipond or Vipont-the shortened form of Veteripont-Threlkeld, and Sands.
Norman sources are indicated by some of the foregoing names. Only recently the writer met with the name Umfraville. Names at one time indigenous to certain districts for many generations are now to be met with more generally in all parts of the kingdom because the stationary character of the people has been changed owing to increased population and commercial enterprise. The postal system, the press, and the locomotive, have played no small part in the scattering of many hundreds of families, whose members formerly were restricted to certain localities because their occupations were restricted to the occupations of their fore-elders.
Among our Northern names, few, if any, are more ancient than that of Story, or Storey, originally Stor, Storri, and Stur, Le Stur and Stury. It is not too much to hazard after the researches made during the last three or four years, that the name Story, or Storey, is almost native to the border country as a territorial name, and is certainly as old as the hills and quite as respectable. Although Storeys have been met with in mediaeval days in the south and west of England, their early home has been on the borders of North and South Britain, id. est., in Eskdale, Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, Westmorland, and the Beverley district of Yorkshire. The Scottish Stories doubtless made their way into various parts of Scotland from a branch on the borders that settled in Dumfries-shire and Roxburghshire.