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Burke's Peerage publishes authoritative, in-depth historical guides to the titled families of the United Kingdommarker, such as Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, and many other countries. Founded in 1826 by British genealogist John Burke Esquire, and continued by his son, Sir John Bernard Burke, Burke's Peerage is one of the most recognised names in genealogy. Revised editions were frequently published by H. Colburn and R. Bentley between 1832 (fourth edition in two volumes) and 1917, and again between 1923 and 1940, with further editions thereafter. The 105th edition, published in 1970 under the editorship of Mr Peter Townend, is regarded as the last authoritative edition. However, under new ownership, a 106th edition came out in 1999, and a 107th in 2003, edited by Charles Mosley. A further edition is to appear under the editorship of William Bortrick .

Reunited ownership

Burke's Peerage, and Landed Gentry

The ownership of Burke's Peerage Ltd, the original publisher of Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, was bought in 1974 by Jeremy Norman and a group of investors. The board included Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd (Editorial Director); Jeremy Norman (Managing Director and Chairman); Patrick Lichfield; John Brooke-Little (Richmond Herald); Dr Remington Norman and Peter Cook. The group published a large range of successful new publications from their premises in Walton Street, London, including Burke's Irish Family Records; Burke's Guide to the Royal Family; Burke's Royal Families of the World; Burke's Guide to Country houses; Burke's Family Index and Burke's Presidential Families of USA. Some of these were multi-volume works. In 1984, after ten years of rising costs in the 1970's, the Board decided to sell the imprint. The Peerage was sold to Frederik baron van Pallandt (ex-husband of Nina baroness van Pallandt) and the remaining titles were sold separately elsewhere. Ownership then transferred to Harold Brooks-Baker and his associates.(See below). For details of the history from 1974-84 see "No Make-Up" by Jeremy Norman (London 2006).

The 1970 edition of the Peerage, Baronetage, & Knightage was reprinted in 1980 but without further revision by the Norman consortium. The hot metal type for the Peerage had to be destroyed - Waterlow and Sons the printers wanted a vast rental to continue to store it.

The company publishing the Peerage fell into receivership in the 1980s. Ownership of the publication rights to Burke's Peerage passed through several hands in the succeeding years. In 1989 the rights were acquired by Morris Genealogical Books, who brought out a thoroughly revised 2 volume 106th edition in 1999. In 2002 the rights to Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage were purchased by the company that owned the rights to Burke's Landed Gentry. The company was renamed Burke's Peerage and Gentry and a fully updated 107th edition was published in 2004 under the editorship of Charles Mosley, Genealogist.

On 7th October 2009 all remaining Burke's rights were acquired from the Burke's Peerage Partnership by Burke's Peerage & Gentry. Thus Burke's ownership has been reunited in one company for the first time in 25 years.

Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit

In 2006 Burke's Peerage & Gentry: World Orders of Knighthood and Merit was published under the editorship of Guy Stair Sainty and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo. This monumental two-volume work updated Sir Bernard Burke's original work of 1858 but surpassed its original scope and detail. An electronic version of "World Orders of Knighthood and Merit" will be available online in 2010.

Burke's printing blocks

During the 1970s, Burke's Peerage Ltd sold all the printing blocks, depicting coats of arms, to Heirloom & Howard Ltd, who in turn sold them on to the general public. After David Sanctuary Howard, who together with his wife owned Heirloom & Howard, died in 2005 the printing blocks were sold to The Baronage Press.

Burke's Peerage Partnership

Burke's Peerage Partnership was formed in 1984 by a group of investors who were interested in the commercial potential of the Burke's name. The partnership owned the Burke's name and the lesser titles but never owned the publishing rights to Burke's Peerage, Baronetage, & Knightage. From 1984 until his death in 2005, the publishing director of Burke's Peerage Partnership was the late Harold Brooks-Baker. The partnership published a number of genealogical titles and conducted other genealogy-related business under the Burke's name. In the 1990s Burke's Peerage Partnership licensed the name to Halbert's Family Heritage, an American publisher that sold genealogical books under the name Burke's Peerage World Book of Surnames. The books claimed to be a comprehensive history of any given surname, but in fact comprised mostly computer-generated lists of names and addresses drawn from telephone records, and were marketed through direct mail. Burke's Peerage Partnership offered services including genealogical research, custom designed heraldry, and assisting clients to acquire Scottish and French noble titles. On 7th October, 2009 all remaining Burke's rights were sold by the Partnership to Burke's Peerage & Gentry.

Print edition

It has been announced that the last three-volume 107th edition (2004) will be followed by a Supplement edition, to be published in 2010, comprising those families who have supplied updates to their entries and all subsequent peerage creations. To enable this Burke's has been updating, and will continue to update, existing family records online. Burke's will also be publishing in February 2010 an updated edition of the Royal Families of Europe.

See also


  1. e.g. Burke's Royal Families of the World ISBN 0 85011 023 8
  2. frontispiece, Burke
  5. Burke's Peerage


  • Burke, John, A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, Vol. II, 5th ed., Published by H. Colburn and R. Bentley, London, 1832 [73408]

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