I. Biographical
Part One: Introduction
George Langford
Joliet, Illinois
May 26, 1953
It has been about fifteen years since I compiled these family records, and I am now having at last a look at them, with the recollection of having found considerable entertainment in the doing of it.
My first cousin Mary Alden, old enough to be my grandmother, was an experienced genealogist, and published a number of articles from time to time on Langford ancestry.  She tried to interest my mother in it, and sent her many items of family history, but Mother merely put them in her files and showed no particular interest.  Cousin Mary finally turned to me and frequently urged me to turn my attention to the genealogy business.  But I felt no interest, and she finally gave us all up.  We just wouldn't jell.  Langford ancestry had not the slightest appeal for Mother, my two brothers, and myself.
After Mother's death in October 1931, my two brothers found cousin Mary's correspondence intact, also other letters and notes concerning her Robertson family.  They decided to send it all to me to see if I could make anything out of it, as neither one of thrm felt like tackling the job.  So I looked it all over rather indifferently at first, then with growing interest, as I began to scent mystery of some sort.  I always had a good nose for novelty, and I began to deteect a bit of it in our family history.
My grandfather Robertson was owner and editor of the St. Paul democratic newspaper.  I found a clipping from it that told of his mother's death and who her parents were.  It gave the place of his birth and other items bearing on his ancestry.  Then I found a letter sent to his widow after his death.  They were from his relatives living in Ontario.  Their records did not jibe with my grandfather's.  He was a politician, U.S. Marshall, mayor of St. Paul, and Colonel of Militia.  I judged that he chose to pose as an American, and not as a Scot born elsewhere.  So I began a search for his true ancestry.
At the same time I found a strange quirk in Langford ancestry.  This concerned my great grandfather George Langford I ancestry.  It had Cousin Mary Alden stumped.  She published quite a bit about it, making one guess after another but getting nowhere.  I wrote to my brother Nathaniel about all this, and he began to get interested.  I went to the Newberry Library frequently and passed on to him the many items I found there which concerned our Langford and Robertson ancestries.
George Jr. [my father - GL III, ed.] became interested in his mother Sydney Holmes ancestry, and we often went to the Newberry Library together.  A great many of the family histories published were compilations of the many descendants of some one man, a first colonist of 1626-1650 vintage.  We were not interested in that angle.  Our researches were directed toward our ancestors in the female as well as in the male line.
We learned gradually that much of what we were looking for could not be found in genealogical books.  Wills; local birth, marriage and death records; deeds; family letters; gravestones in cemeteries; and other records giving names and dates, became our main sources of information.  Our correct Langford ancestry was finally settled by one of our correspondents, Mr Ives, who visited North Kingston, Rhode Island, and found that a published record had been miscopied from the original.  And to make things more difficult, our ancestor Holderby [also Holdebee and Holderbee in my grandfather's records - GL III] of Rhode Island changed his name to Northrup [also Northup - GL III] Langford.
In tracing my grandfather Alexander Robertson's line through his father William and grandfather Alexander, I began a correspondence with the Secretary of Robertsons of Struan clan, who were seeking data on my grandfather's ancestry.  The chiefs of clans were sort of kings, and so their ancestral records  were well kept.  The Jacobite faction with which I corresponded suspected that my grandfather Alexander Robertson might have been the rightful heir.  The Jacobites supported the Stewarts in opposition to the English, and our Robertsons were finally suppressed after the disastrous Battle Of Culloden in 1746.  Much of the Robertson records were suppressed by the English heralds, as I learned from our correspondence with the Earl of _________.  However, I found what I was looking for.  Being a Clan Chief had become only a social distinction.  My brother Nathaniel and I were voted into the Clan Donnachadh as descendants of the 10th Chief and received invitations each year and accounts of the annual celebrations.  Donnachadh, meaning Clan of Duncan 1st Chief, was the Scot name for Clan Robertson of Struan.
The third problem to be unravelled was the ancestry of my grandfather Alexander Robertson's mother Lilias Mackintosh.  My grandfather's published account gave her father as Alexander Mackintosh, a surgeon in Edinburgh.  We found that he was Daniel Mackintosh, a minister in Gairloch.  We got on the trail of his wife and found that she was descended from the chiefs of Clan Mackenzie of Kintail.  I was quite sure of this until I took a shot in the dark and wrote to the mayor of Reidsville, Tatnall County, Georgia, asking for information.  The letter was answered by Mrs. Howard Strifling and settled the whole thing 100 percent.  All of this I explained in my records.  From then on it was a case of recording ancetors by the wholesale lot from Scot and English records, as most of them were kings, chiefs, and nobles whose ancestries were available.
So we finished our job pot-hunting for the easy ones.  "Americans of Royal Descent" sounds fine, but almost any descendant of an American colonist can be one if he can trace his family line.  The hard part is tracing his line to that colonist, and harder still to trace it back into Great Britain.  We found that many of these so-called royal ancestries were incorrect.  Establishing such lines correctly is generally a very difficult job requiring a lot of research. 
As requested by my wife Sydney Holmes, I undertook to hunt for our ancestors in common.  We were far apart: I, originating in Scot and New England ancestors, generally broke and fleeing from political or religious persecution; she, descended from wealthy ancestors, founding estates and plantations in Virginia.
I finally discovered that Edward II King of England 1312-1377 wqs our latest common ancestor.  Her line went back through Massey, Withers, Pickett, Cooke, etc. to Lionel, Duke of Clarence 1338-1368.
My line went back through Robertson, Mackenzie, Stewart and Beaufort to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster 1340-1389.
Lionel and John were brothers, sons of Edward III, King of England.
There were some other angles to this genalogy business.
One of my father's old letters told of his being involved with his partner Joseph Marshall in an iron-making venture near Denver, Colorado.  He seemed to disapprove of it.  He was running an iron foundry and machine shop at Black Hawk, a part of Central, Colorado.  The iron he needed, had to be hauled across the plains by wagon from St. Joseph, Missouri.  I learned from other sources that iron-making was tried out at Marshall.  Some of the iron used in my father's foundry to cast a cannon for use in the Civil War.
In 1933 [1932 in other accounts by GL, Sr. - GL III], my brother Nathaniel and I. with our wives, drove by auto to Denver.  My wife and I visited Charles Hanington.  He, his two brothers, and their parents were our old Denver friends.  I had not been to Denver since we left there in December 1885.
Charles Hanington and I drove to Marshall and called upon the oldest settler, Mr. Brierly.  He was son of my father's coal mine foreman.  My father took me to see the mine when I was six years old.  I dimly remembered the visit.  Mr. Brierly told me that there had been an iron-making furnace near Marshall, but he could not remember just where.
Being familiar with iron-making in the old days, I looked for a source of water to supply power, and the high ground for charging; and finally, traces of stone furnace foundations.  This led me to a family's back yard.  I had a spade with me, and they permitted me to dig.  I had to guess where the molten metal outlet was and where the casting floor might have been.  But when I had dug four feet down, I struck bars of pig iron.  I took them back with me to Denver, and the Historical Society made quite a fuss over them: the first iron made west of the Mississippi River.  They kept one of the bars.  I sent another to the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.
Next year 1934, my brother Nathaniel and I drove to Utica, New York, my father's home.  His grandfather George Langford I had taken some part in the first iron-making west of the Hudson River.
We located the furnace near Westmoreland which was not far from the farm of my grandfather George Langford II.  The big wooden water wheel was still there.  As at Marshall, Colorado, iron-making in an unfavorable environment was a colossal task but probably not much worse than transporting iron over rough trails through hostile Indian contry.
Not far from the old furnace we spotted a small cemetary on the crest of a hill.  It was about thirty feet square, knee deep with grass and weeds.  There were four headstone slabs in a row marking the graves my father's four grandparents:
George Langford I
His wife Abigail Elliott
Nathaniel Sweeting
His wife Mary Tirrell II

The two men were American Revolutionary War veterans.  We called the D.A.R.'s attention to this, and they promised to give the small cemetary better care.
I recently added some ancestors at the end of Book No.6, coming from the research of G. Andrew Moriarty, dean of American genealogists.  Until then 800 A.D. was considered the limit of authentic ancestry, royal or otherwise.  That was going too far back for reliable proof.  Moriarty carried some ancestries back to about 400 A.D.  Because of his prestige and careful methods of research, these records are accepted as probabilities.  [I have no trace of this book - GL III.]
This No.1 book is given over mostly to biographical sketches of Langford Ancestors.
The index follows - GL III.
The six books are my originals.  The Newberry Library of Chicago has copies of them.  They sent photopring digests of them to ten of our contry's leading libraries.  [I only have the two reproduced here - GL III.]