At the signing of the Magna Charta, twenty-five men, representing the barons, signed as sureties of the baronial performance, in effect pledging the barons to fulfill their obligations to the Crown in accordance with the terms of the Great Charter. Of these twenty-five sureties only seventeen have identified descendants. Each of the seventeen is represented in the celebrated Magna Charta Sureties, which traces their connections–line by line and generation by generation–to approximately 160 American colonists.
Eight years have passed since the publication of the last edition of this work, however, and in the interval a great many additions, corrections, and revisions have accumulated. Brought to a very high standard by the unremitting efforts of its editor, Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., this fifth edition incorporates new lines, corrects errors in existing lines, adds recently discovered material, and supplies references where they had previously been omitted. The result is a reliable and authoritative collection of interlocking pedigrees which carry the ancestry of some 160 American colonists back to the thirteenth century. With the possible exception of Weis’s Ancestral Roots (also published by Genealogical Publishing Co.), this is probably the very best work ever written on the pre-colonial ancestry of American colonists. Though there is some overlap between this work and Ancestral Roots, most of the material supplied here is different, and the books may be used together.