Burke's Peerage is the definitive guide to the genealogy and heraldry of the Peerage and Landed Gentry of the United Kingdom, the historical families of Ireland and the Commonwealth of Nations, the Imperial, Royal and mediatised families of Europe, the Presidential and distinguished families of the United States of America, and other prominent families worldwide.
Burke's Peerage has for over 185 years recorded the genealogy of historical families. The records were created by the Burke family and others to build an unparalleled collection of books of genealogical and heraldic interest. They are without comparison as a genealogical reference and a vast treasure trove of information. Burke's Peerage now has a new owner who intends to develop and strengthen its unique position by updating the records and publishing further editions in print and online. The owner is sensitive to the history associated with Burke's Peerage and will endeavour to honour its reputation and the Burke family who founded what has become a world famous institution.
Burke's Peerage was founded in 1826 by John Burke (1786–1848). He created the narrative style which has become the trademark of Burke's Peerage and a universally recognised model for all written genealogies. He was also the progenitor of a remarkable dynasty of genealogists and heralds. His son Sir John Bernard Burke (1814–92) was Ulster King of Arms 1853–92. And his son Sir Henry Farnham Burke (1859–1930) was Garter Principal King of Arms 1919–30. After his death, ownership passed through a variety of characters including the Peerage to Sir Henry Mallaby-Deeley, 1st Baronet (1863–1937) and the Landed Gentry to Arthur Maundy Gregory (1877–1941). The titles and copyright were reunited by Shaw's Reference Series, later incorporated in Mercury House Publications, who sold it in 1973 to the Holdway Group. The new board included Jeremy Norman (1947–) Chairman 1974–83, Patrick, 5th Earl of Lichfield (1939–2005), and John Philip Brooke-Little, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms (1927–2006). Entirely new volumes on Royal Families, British country houses and Irish genealogy were published.
In 1984 the board decided to sell the copyright. The Peerage was acquired by Frederik Jan Gustav Floris, Baron van Pallandt (1934–94), the Landed Gentry and other titles were sold elsewhere. The Peerage was then bought by Joseph Goldberg, who reprinted the previous edition. In 1989 ownership was acquired by Brian Morris, who published the 106th Edition in 1999, a thorough updating and revision of the 105th Edition. A separate company, which owned the Burke's name, the Landed Gentry and other titles, was formed in 1984 with Lady Elizabeth Anson (1941–), Merlin, 24th Earl of Erroll (1948–) and Sir Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk (1919–85) as directors. Burke's Peerage Partnership was formed out of receivership in 1987 by those associated with the former company, including Harold Brooks-Baker (1933–2005) who was publishing director 1984–2005. In the 1990s, they briefly licensed the use of the Burke's name to Halbert's, an American publisher who sold books under the name The World Book of Surnames, which otherwise had no connection with Burke's Peerage.
In 2000 the Wills family licenced the right to publish the Landed Gentry. And after a gap of thirty years, the 19th edition of Burke's Landed Gentry Scotland was published in 2001. The book was well received and in 2002 they bought the rights to the Peerage from Morris Genealogical Books, thereby bringing together the two titles under one publisher for the first time in several years. Burke's Peerage and Gentry produced a fully updated 107th edition of the Peerage which was published in 2003. And finally in 2013 all remaining Burke's rights were sold to Burke's Peerage Limited, with S. A. Malin as Managing Director.
The Editors after Ashworth P. Burke (1864–1919) were Arthur Charles Fox-Davies (1871–1928) of the Landed Gentry of Ireland 1912 and the Landed Gentry 1914; A. Winton Thorpe of the Peerage and the Landed Gentry 1921; Alfred Trego Butler, MVO, Windsor Herald (1880–1946) of the Peerage 1923–34 and the Landed Gentry 1925; Miss E. M. Swinhoe of the Peerage 1927–37; Mr Smallshaw (his name is not mentioned in the 1938–40 editions); Charles Harry Clinton Pirrie-Gordon of Buthlaw (1883–1969) of the Landed Gentry 1930–36; John Seymour de Spon, Baron de Spon (1913–98) 1941–46; Leslie Gilbert Pine (1907–87) 1946–60; Kenneth Peter Townend (1921–2001) 1960–71; Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd (1946–2007) was Assistant Editor 1968–71, Editor 1971 and Editorial Director 1972–83; Charles Mosley (1948–2013) 1989–2004; and Hugh Peskett (1932–) was Scottish Editor 2007–12.
The Burke's Peerage website now lists online all publications produced since 1826.
- Burke's Peerage and Baronetage 107th Edition
- Burke's Landed Gentry 19th Edition, The Kingdom in Scotland
- Burke's Landed Gentry 19th Edition, The Ridings of York
- Burke's Landed Gentry 19th Edition, The Principality of Wales and the North West
- Burke's Irish Records
- Burke's Great War Peerage
- Burke's Second World War Peerage
- Burke's New and Revised Records
- Burke's Royal Families of the World Volume I, Europe and Latin America
- Burke's Guide to the Royal Family
- Burke's World Orders of Knighthood and Merit
- Burke's Peerage War Gazette
- Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages
- Burke's American Presidential Families
- Burke's Family Index
- Burke's General Armory
- Burke's Colonial Gentry