Edwardian Riggses of America

by Alvy Ray Smith

A series in 9 volumes and 10 papers

This series of 9 volumes and 10 papers is devoted to the scholarly genealogy of Riggses in America who share a Y-chromosome DNA signature, which I have called the "Edwardian" signature (at the suggestion of my longtime research colleague and mentor, Robert Charles Anderson, FASG).

Originally this was to mean those Riggses in America descended from the immigrant Edward Riggs who came to Massachusetts in 1633. DNA studies soon revealed that the number of Riggses sharing the same DNA signature ("genetic signature") was much larger than just those who descend from Edward Riggs. For example, the study revealed that all the descendants in America from the immigrant Thomas Riggs who came to Massachusetts in c1656 were also "Edwardian." Thus "Edwardian" is a bit of a misnomer, but I have used the term so long that I am sticking with it.

A better name would have been "Hawkshead" Riggses, as the DNA has convinced me (and Robert) that the center of the family was (and still is) the Hawkshead Parish region of Cumbria (formerly part of Lancashire) in northwestern England. The original form of the family name there was Rigg (or Rigge or Rig) with the occasional use of the plural form. The families studied in The Edwardian Riggses of America all use the plural form (although that might change in future if this series is extended).

Volumes 1-4 and 5-8 of the series are indeed devoted to descendants of the immigrant Edward Riggs. The fifth is devoted to descendants of the immigrant Thomas Riggs, and the ninth to those of James Riggs who might be an immigrant separate from the other two. The first volume is print published, the other 8 are electronically published.

Another finding from the DNA study was that there are several other "Edwardian" (or "Hawkshead") Riggses  who probably are not members of the two families covered so far in the series. That is, there were probably several other immigrants with either the Riggs or Rigg surname to colonial America from whom  numerous persons have descended. Furthermore there are Riggses (and possibly Riggs) in America who come from one or more completely separate genetic clans. One of these, for example, I have termed the "Abrahamian" Riggses who came apparently from the County Dorset area (or neighboring counties) of southwestern England. Their genetic signature differs completely from that of the "Edwardian" Riggses.

The 10 papers are divided into 4 electronically published papers and 6 print published papers. Several of the print published papers are co-authored by one or another of my two mentors, Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, or (the late) Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG.

On the webpage for the electronically published Edwardian Riggs papers may be found several papers on non-Edwardian Riggs lines, as well as auxiliary papers, and books and papers about Riggses published by other authors.

As of 22 Apr 2011, the volumes total 4,735 pages, and the papers 316, for a grand total of about 5,000 pages. There are 272 pictures in the books. So the 8 books average just under 600 pages each, with an average of  34 pictures each. Because vol. 3 is actually 3 books, it would perhaps be more accurate to say the 10 books average about 475 pages each, with about 27 pictures each. [This was written before the new Vol. 9 was introduced. It is currently, 27 June 2011, less than 100 pages long.]