Notable authors of articles in the Annual Bulletins of La Société Jersiaise

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In the list of authors in the index to articles in the Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise the same names can be seen to reappear year after year, and sometimes decade after decade.

Although most of the authors are keen amateur historians, with no formal training as writers, some have adopted a readable and entertaining style. Others, it must be said, have been content to regurgitate a succession of factual details with no attempt to paint an overall picture of their subject, resulting in articles which are too boring for the layman to contemplating reading beyond a few paragraphs.

The majority of articles of this nature have been excluded from Jerripedia, or rewritten in abridged and hopefully more readable form. Others, which represent the only published work on important subjects have been included for this very reason.

J A Messervy

The first regular contributor was the Rev J A Messervy, who is recognised as the island's foremost historian and genealogist of the late 19th and early 20th century. He undertook much of his research with his wife, Auguste, and after his death she continued to publish articles.

James Messervy (always known as 'J A') wrote in French, the official language of the island at the time and the main language of the Annual Bulletins from its inception in 1875 until about 1912. Most, if not all, of his histories of Jersey families with family trees have been translated for Jerripedia and are linked to from the appropriate family pages. Genealogy was Messervy's speciality, but he was also instrumental in drawing up definitive lists of Lords of the Isles, Wardens of the Isles, Governors and Lieut-Governors, Bailiffs and Lieut-Bailiffs, and other important Channel Island offices.

Messervy wrote in a very undemanding if somewhat idiomatic style (sometimes difficult to translate - Ed) and the articles published by his wife after his death are in the same style, suggesting that he must, at least, have produced the original drafts.

Very little that Messervy wrote has been successfully challenged in the past 100 years and his family trees in particular are renowned for their accuracy.

A C Saunders

Messervy was Honorary Librarian of La Société Jersiaise, a position also held by A C Saunders, whose articles will be found in the Bulletins in the 1930s.

Norman Rybot

Saunders returned to Jersey in 1921 after military service, a year after Norman Rybot, who became secretary of La Société Jersiaise and wrote for its Annual Bulletin over five decades, his last article being published in the 1961 bulletin, the year of his death.

Apart from having had a distinguished military career in the Indian Army in the late 19th century and during the First World War, when he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, Major Rybot, as he was always known on his return to Jersey, was an accomplished artist, authority on coats of arms and everything associated with them, and developed a strong interest in archaeoglogy in his native island.

His writings left little or no room for opinions contrary to his own, but he was rarely faulted and is still quoted extensively to this day.

Edmund Toulmin Nicolle

Edmund Toulmin Nicolle

A prolific writer on Jersey history, Edmund Toulmin Nicolle's name appears infrequently as a writer for the Annual Bulletins, but this is explained by his devotion to the work of editing the journal, as well as numerous other roles within La Société.

Article to be completed

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