In 1897, Arthur Henry GILES (born in 1839), Commissioner of Police in Bengal, retired to his birthplace and ancestral home in Somerset, and set to work compiling a record of the GILES families in England, Scotland, Ireland and abroad.
In 1910 he published his research, under the title of "Aegidiana, or Gleanings Among Gileses at Home and Abroad, by One of them."
It was a private publication, of limited number, and intended for relatives and friends, with at least one copy being deposited in the British Library. His details appear in it, commencing at page 106.
It was that copy, in the British Library, which I found in 1983, when I began my first visit to England in pursuit of my ancestors, and which propelled me towards Tavistock, in south-west Devon, and the origins of Rev William GILES (1771-1846), my great-great-great grandfather. His details appear on page 23.
Several years ago, the last of my PIGOTT aunts died, and among Patricia's possessions, including some of her late husband's effects (Dr Frank PIGOTT was the youngest brother of my late father, H. R. PIGOTT, also known by his Chemistry students as "Sodium Bob"), was a scroll with our GILES family pedigree, and this copy of the "Aegidiana..."
Recently, Drew GILES of Alberta, Canada, made contact, and alerted me to a rather gross error I had made by not including his branch in my published pedigrees of my Devon GILES family.
Whilst in the Devon County Records Office in Exeter, I had browsed Bishop's Transcripts of a number of Parishes, including Buckland Monachorum, just south of Tavistock, but had missed one baptism, in 1739, for George GILES, the younger brother of my ancestor John GILES (born in 1736), Rev William GILES's father. John's details appear on page 40, where George is recorded, with the annotation - "not traced."
Drew had heard of the "Aegidiana..." but had been unable to source a copy of it.
So, I thought it might be a good idea to digitalise the whole book, for all the other descendants to read for themselves.
It is not a professional job. I did what I could with a slightly rickety old tripod leaning against a makeshift desk in my bed-room, with variable quality daylight on an overcast day. There is a degree of lens distortion (camera too close to subject), an almost imperceptable shift in angles as the shutter action progressively moved the camera (not all of which I corrected during editing), and some variable exposure issues, some brought about by early stages of "yellowing" of the paper by ageing.
But I think it is, by and large, quite readable.
There are occasional hand-written additions. I suspect that those in black ink, in a tight script, may well be by the author's own hand. Later pencil additions, in a more flowery hand, are probably those of Edwin Barnett GILES, who signed his owner-ship of this volume on the first page - he was a younger half-brother of my great-grandmother Ellen PIGOTT otherwise GILES, a daughter of Rev John Eustace GILES, whose details appear on page 144.
Potts Point, N.S.W.
P.S. My camera's auto focus meant that I had to put something in the middle of the first page that I imaged - hence the temporary placement of a handy penny Australian postage stamp!