Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:7)
Here is an open letter (the original of which has been mailed overseas) to her royal majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, by which I am trying to apply the principle of Romans 13:7 — giving credit where credit is due — recognizing the valuable family history contributions of computer genealogist/professor Dr. Brian Tompsett, of the University of Hull.
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
[contact information omitted]
21st December, A.D. 20017
Her Majesty The Queen
London SW1A 1AA
Re: Royal Genealogical Data website,
formerly posted by Prof. Brian Tompsett / University of Hull
Dear Queen Elizabeth, your Royal Majesty:
Greetings, from the other side of the Pond – may your CHRISTmas season be filled with gladness and joy, as you contemplate how the Christ of Bethlehem, in His all-wise beneficence, selected you as Great Britain’s monarch, for all of these many years. May He continue to bless your reign and your Realm.
The glorious heritage that you have and represent, unto your Realm and to the world (which continues to be providentially blessed by the deeds of the British Empire, its leadership, and its language), has been a personal blessing to me for more than 60 years now. As a descendant of John of Gaunt, I share some of your forefathers and foremothers, so I have a personal interest in appreciating the family history that you biogenetically connect to, by God’s grace and providence. Dr. Bill Cooper, of Staines in Middlesex, introduced me to the wonderful world of British royal family genealogy, and I am all the richer therefor.
Thereafter I came upon the magnificent blend of historical research and computer science, the Royal Genealogical Data website (which was provided online pro bono publico) produced by Professor Brian Tompsett of the University of Hull – the informational wealth of which cannot be priced in pounds or dollars. For many years I used the Internet-accessible data of Brian Tompsett’s Royal Genealogical Data website, as a historian who has taught in American universities and colleges, as well as on 9 different cruise ships – and in all of my teaching years I have tried to promote goodwill for the British royals.
For example, I used Brian Tompsett’s Royal Genealogical Data within this online article: “Christmas, Vikings, and the Providence of God” [posted at http://www.icr.org/article/christmas-vikings-providence-god/ — which refers to genealogies linked to the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and also to the Battle of Hastings], showing that Viking ancestors begat progeny, including descendants providentially responsible for the English Bible (AV) and even for George Washington, the historic father of America.)
Sometimes, sad to say, one isn’t properly grateful for valuable information until it disappears.
However, the University of Hull’s management dissolved Dr. Tompsett’s Royal Genealogical Data website – without warning it deleted the Royal Genealogical Data webpages [see below post-script] – so Americans (like me) no longer can use that online genealogical data now.
Please understand: this letter does not present a “personal” or “political” dispute. Rather, what is mentioned in the post-script (below) is provided only to give context to my appreciation for the online data (while it existed), and to show why I now miss it so. (Now that it’s gone, I better see its value.)
Perhaps your Royal Majesty could devise a way to provide that same electronic information, online to the world, so that Professor Brian Tompsett’s professional labor of love can live on, thereby gracing the cyber-world (including historian-professors like me), pro bono publico, with the genealogical heritage of your royal family. This user-friendly informational legacy is an asset worth salvaging!
Professor Tompsett does not know that I am writing this – I am writing on my own behalf, in hopes that you can and will do something to restore that Internet data to the world. (Maybe a Royal Family website could be invented.) In any event, I thank God for His providential workings in your royal family and kin.
In closing, I have the honour to be an American fan, of you and your regal family, and its illustrious kin (going back many centuries), all of whom our great God has so frequently guided and employed to implement His providential care and kindnesses unto Western Civilization and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Most respectfully, one of your admiring fans in the State of Texas*
(*which adopted English common law as the foundation of Texas law,
by a legislative act during the 1st Congress of the Republic of Texas),
James J. S. Johnson
JD, ThD, MSGeog, CIHE, CPEE, CNHG
Chaplain, historian, lecturer, etc.
P.S., on information and belief, this is my (sad) understanding of how the University of Hull has – disappointingly – discontinued its prior practice of hosting the Royal Genealogical Data website that was laboriously produced by Professor Brian Tompsett and his team. Frankly, it seems (to me) like the wasteful burning of a cyber-palace (and I recall how horrible it was when your own palace burned), but this was destroying an imperial cyber-treasure of Britannic royal family heritage information.
The “management” of the University of Hull decided to take down all web pages except those used for advertising and recruitment. The website was considered a “marketing tool only” for use of the marketing department. Professor Brian Tompsett (and his computer science team) were not warned or otherwise informed, before their web-pages (i.e., those of all individual staff and students) were just canceled — with no advance notice. Even those web-pages, that Professor Brian Tompsett and his team (who teach web technology for the University of Hull) formerly used for teaching and research purposes, were removed as having “no strategic value for the institution”! Professor Tompsett was not able to timely move (or timely protest) the abrupt, arbitrary, and academic quality-quashing abuses of institutional authority.
Since Professor Tompsett’s Royal Genealogical Data project ran from ~ A.D. 1993 it is a terrible loss. The result of these wasteful actions are sad: your Royal Majesty’s family (and all of its dignified historical heritage, linking to all of the best of Western Civilization for many centuries), is cheated and discounted, depriving the Internet world of British Royal Family fans from the user-friendly ability to research and appreciate the God-blessed value of Great Britain’s historic role (and connectedness) for Western Civilization. This is like revisionist history by vandalism.
Of course, it is unlikely that her Britannic Majesty will actually get to read the above letter — Who knows? — yet it would be nice if Great Britain’s Parliament would declare that wonderful computer program as a national heritage treasure, like a historic castle, because that user-friendly royal genealogy information/program is truly an informational legacy worthy of preservation and public educational access.
Meanwhile, I have tried to “give credit where credit is due”.