Joseph Foster (genealogist)

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Joseph Foster (9 March 1844 29 July 1905) was an English antiquarian and genealogist whose transcriptions of records held by the Inns of Court and the University of Oxford are still important historical resources.

Contents

Life and career

While his family was originally seated at Cold Hesledon and Hawthorne on the east coast of County Durham, Joseph Foster was born in Sunniside, Sunderland, and developed an interest in genealogy at an early age. Educated in private schools in the neighbouring towns of North Shields, Sunderland, and Newcastle-on-Tyne, Foster inherited his genealogical faculty from his grandfather, Myles Birket Foster (1785-1861), and published his first genealogical work in 1862, entitled "The Pedigree of the Fosters of Cold Hesledon in Co. Durham," at the age of 18. He was a nephew of the artist Myles Birket Foster. [1]

Working initially as a printer in London, Foster continued to undertake genealogical research and became a prolific writer and publisher in the field. He undertook research into the histories of various families from the north of England, later publishing four volumes of Lancashire and Yorkshire pedigrees. He became friends with several Kings of Arms and heralds of arms during his lifetime, and the records of the College of Arms were often unreservedly placed at his service. [2]

His major works, still used by historians, were transcriptions of the admission registers of the Inns of Court (published in 1885 as Men at the Bar ) and of the matriculation registers of the University of Oxford for the period 1500 to 1886 (published as Alumni Oxonienses ). This latter work was marked by the award of an honorary MA degree by the university in 1892. It has been said of Foster that he was "no scholarly antiquary, but his energy as a transcriber and collector of genealogical and heraldic data has few parallels, and many of his publications remained classic resources, several of permanent value." [1]

Foster died in London aged 61, at his home in St John's Wood, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery. [1]

Works

Foster's publications include the following: [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Foster, Joseph (18441905)" . Obituary . The Times. 1905. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  2. Humphery-Smith, Cecil R. (2004). "Foster, Joseph (18441905)" . Oxford Dictionary of National Biography . Oxford University Press . Retrieved 25 February 2008.