Recently I was delighted to find the Lane Family Papers online at the website of the Bedford [Massachusetts] Historical Society. I had known about the papers through Whitmore’s transcription of them, running serially in the New England Historical & Genealogical Register beginning back in 1857, since 2006, when I wrote a long article on a similar set of 17th-century family papers belonging Edward1 Farmer of Billerica — but the Lane papers have the added appeal, for me, of being from a family I’m descended from (Lane is middle name, inherited from my great-great-grandmother who was of this line).
Though he’s mentioned in some other documents here, there is a single document created by my direct ancestor, James1 Lane of Malden and Casco, Maine — a power of attorney made out to his brother Job1 Lane of Malden and Bedford. Here is James’s mark and (non-armorial) seal:
At the core of the Lane papers is a collection of letters relating to the brother, Job1 Lane, especially material documenting his financial interest in English lands both from Job’s wife’s family in Yorkshire (the wife he married here, in New England), and from Job’s and James’s natal family at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. Fitts printed a photo of a house said to be the Lane ancestral farm (held as copyhold, I think, from the manor of Rickmansworth):
Looking at the ‘A2A’ online union catalogue of manuscripts in British archives, one can readily find further documents — a couple of bonds and releases by Job Lane of Malden, relating to the Rickmansworth Lanes’ land, and now held in an archive in London. The Rickmansworth church register includes at least some vital records of the Lane family which have not been published, as can be found in an extracted batch in the IGI. All this material, coupled with the Rickmansworth Lane wills already found and published back in Fitts’s Lane Genealogies, vol. 3 (1902), provides fodder for a new study of this family. These Lanes were middling (actually apparently reasonably secure) yeomen, but bringing such families into focus is more challenging than, and as much fun as, turning up a gentleman in the tree.