Part of the past month was spent analyzing the English abstract of Agatha Houtmans' last will in the Rotterdam Archives. The provisions of her will prompted Thomas Pettus II of Littletown plantation to go to Holland, where he recovered a large sum of money she had left to her grandsons, John, Henry, and George Billingsley. John and Henry had died without issue, and the full legacy had passed to George, who was living in Virginia. When George made his own will in 1681, he named his half-sisters, including Mourning Burgh of Virginia as heirs, but the money was still in Holland. Soon after George's death, Thomas Pettus married Mourning Burgh. The story of Thomas's marriage and his subsequent mission to Holland is now related in detail in chapter 6 of my book.
I also sent off a final (?) draft of my paper on the Pettus family of England to the editors of the Norfolk Standard, journal of the Norfolk Heraldry Society. This article contains short biographies of all the known Pettus descendants of Thomas Petyous, the presumed progenitor who was granted the Freedom of the City of Norwich in 1492. The biographies were based on the full versions in my forthcoming book on the Pettus family of England and Virginia. The September issue of the Norfolk Standard will be devoted entirely to matters relating to the Pettus family, including some well-executed renderings of various grants of arms to members of the family. I think that issue will also contain another article on heraldric symbols found on doorways, ledger stones, portraits, etc., in and around Norwich.
After sending the article, I turned my attention back to my book. One of my reviewers (a professional editor) at the Fairfax Family History Writing Group has suggested I eliminate unnecessary commas after introductory phrases to conform to modern standards. I agreed with the suggestion and have now gone through the first six chapters of my book and made the appropriate changes. I have taken the opportunity to include some further information that has come to light through my correspondence with members of the Norfolk Heraldry Society. Yesterday, I also included pictures I took in 2006 of the ledger stones in the aisle of All Saints Church, Rackheath, Norfolk, and my readings of the inscriptions on the stones.
After eliminating the extra commas in the remaining 44 chapters of my book, I will return to the indexing task I interrupted several months ago. I may try a different strategy this time to expedite the process.
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