By Henry Holman Drake

Transcribed by Richard Grylls

The Source (DRAKE)

Two manuscript volumes of Drake Genealogy were donated to the Society of Genealogists (SOG) in 1948 by "F. Gunther". The compiler of the two volumes - though this is not readily apparent within the two volumes themselves - was in fact Dr. Henry Holman Drake (1820 Nova Scotia - 1905 Islington), M.A., LL.D, a school master by profession (mostly in St Austell). Dr Drake was the son of John Poad Drake, an artist and inventor, and Susanna Johns Holman, who married in 1819. In 1857 H.H.Drake married as his second wife Mary Carkeet, who had been born in Falmouth, and the couple had at least four children. Dr Drake retired from teaching well before 1881, and then occupied himself with genealogical and historical studies. He published a few books and papers, among them the 1620 Visitation of Cornwall, which he jointly edited with John Lambrick Vivian, and a history of Fowey Church.

The donor of the two volumes was Frederic A Gunther (1883 Richmond - 1950 Chelsea). Frederic was the son of Albert Charles Ludwig Gotthilf Günther (1830-1914), Keeper of Zoology at the Natural History Department of the British Museum and a naturalised British citizen. (Wikipedia has an article about him.) In 1879, when aged 49, Albert Gunther had married (as his second wife) Theodora Dowrich Drake, a daughter of Dr Henry Holman Drake. Theodora was just 16 at the time. Dr Drake's manuscript collection presumably passed at his death to his daughter Theodora (who died in Paddington in 1944), and then to her son, Frederic A. Gunther, who donated the volumes to SOG.

The two volumes at the Society of Genealogists contain a huge amount of information gathered about people surnamed Drake, mostly in Devon and Cornwall, and about the families those Drakes married into. Both volumes contain abstracts of wills, and both also contain lists of wills, gleaned from will calendars in Devon. The second volume is rather more miscellaneous in character, and three of the will lists found in it (at f. 1j, f. 108v and f. 139) at least partially duplicate each other. Furthermore a few will abstracts that appear in Vol. 1 are repeated in Vol. 2. Both volumes have folio numbers, rather than page numbers. A number of smaller documents are inserted between some of the main folios.


DWP's editing process

The two volumes of Drake Genealogy have been searched rather selectively for items of use to the Devon Wills Project. Most of the will abstracts made by Henry Holman Drake have been included here, but abstracts of wills which were clearly proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) have been omitted. (Most of the abstracts do not state the probate court precisely.) With regards the lists of wills Dr Drake compiled, in only some cases is the probate court clear. Wills listed as definitely proved at the Archdeaconry Court of Totnes (TOT) or at the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter (PCDC) are definitely included in our list, because no will calendars of those two courts survive. Where Dr Drake listed a will (e.g. in Vol 2, at f.1j or f.139, and in Vol. 1, f. 91b) but did not show the court where it was proved, if the testator or intestate died in a parish within the jurisdictions of either of the two courts mentioned above, then that listed will has been included here. Wills listed as having been proved in other Devon courts are not included, since the complete calendars of those wills are already included in the DWP index.


Locating the source and acquiring copies

If you find in this source an abstract of interest to you, please apply to the Society of Genealogists who will be able to inform you of fees for copying extracts.