– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Q & A – Founders

Q: Dear Sir/Madam, I am doing some family history research and have encountered a problem that I am hoping you can help to unravel. I have Devorgilla de Galloway married to William de Ros Baron Kendal but I also have Devorgilla married to John Balliol and also to John Vaux whom she married after the death of John Balliol. Is there anything in your records that can help?

A: First of all, my email address hardly ever appears without my name, and in any case it is very easy to find out. Please use it. I always use yours, and your title, as long as you provide them. Occasionally I do have to reply to ‘Dear Enquirer.’ Providing your name is a basic courtesy, as is making the approximately one click it will take to discover mine. There really is no need to address me as ‘Dear Sir,’ or indeed Madam.

Now for your question. The College’s historic collections contain no primary sources about Dervorguilla, Lady of Galloway, or the Balliol family; please see our Founders page at http://archives.balliol.ox.ac.uk/History/founders.asp. Preferably, please have a good look at our website and hopefully find said page before getting in touch. It is there for your convenience and information.

Here is Dervorguilla’s entry in the ODNB [available by subscription, including via many public libraries], which mentions no other marriages. Her documented activities in widowhood make a post-Balliol marriage highly unlikely. Please take anything from genealogical websites which cites 19th century printed sources (if any) with several kilograms of salt.

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