Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A more detailed review on why to avoid Royal Families in Europe

"Ulwencreutz's The Royal Familes in Europe: the reigning and formerly reigning sovereign royal houses of Europe and South America" is a shocking mass copy-and paste rip-off of a somewhat dated version of Paul Theroff's long established site "An Online Gotha," which for a decade has been freely available to anyone on the internet, and which is well known to all aficionados of royal genealogy. Mr. Theroff was completely surprised to learn about this, as nobody had ever approached him for permission. There is no acknowlegment, no bibliography, nothing that recognizes that almost 100% of the content of the 700+ page tome was painstakingly compiled, carefully edited, and thoughtfully annotated by Mr. Theroff.

When I first wrote my negative review of his $80 book on Amazon.com, Mr. Ulwencreutz adamantly denied the plagiarism and claimed it all was based on the Almanach de Gotha of the year 1911 and made current by using hundreds of print resources (though not a single acknowledgement, attribution or bibliography appears in the book. I pointed out in the course of our exchanges on Amazon a few of the unique genealogical items that corresponded directly to Mr. Theroff's site. I also mentioned to Mr. Ulwencreutz that all punctuation and other text mistakes corresponded exactly to Mr. Theroff's site. I also pointed out that there was an obvious attempt to disguise the plagiarism by centering each genealogical entry instead of using left-hand margin justification. If the material in the book was reformatted to left-hand margin justification, it would look absolutely identical to a recent-cintage version of the site "An Online Gotha. It is clear that the mass cut-and-paste happened before Mr. Theroff made a few editorial changes, but Mr. Ulwencreutz's book is unmistakably identical to the Online Gotha site's material. Where Online Gotha lacks a space between words, so does Mr. Ulwencreutz's text. Where Online Gotha neglects to close a parenthesis, so does Mr. Ulwencreutz. The evidence of copy-and-pasting is overwhelming. To clinch the case of plagiarism, below are six very unique genealogical entries peculiar to Mr. Theroff's site that appear verbatim in Mr. Ulwencreutz's book, despite the fact Mr. Theroff's own personal annotations are included:

2e) Constantine, renounced his succession rights 26 Jan 1822, which renunciation became official 28 Aug 1823 (Tsarskoie-Selo 8 May 1779-Vitebsk 27 Jun 1831); m.1st St.Petersburg 26 Feb 1796 (div 1820) Juliane Pss of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who took the name Anna Feodorovna on her Orthodox baptism (Coburg 23 Sep 1781-Elfenau 15 Aug 1860); m.2d Warsaw 24 May 1820 Css Joanna Grudzinscy, cr Pss Lowicka (Serene Highness) 1820 (d.Tsarskoie-Selo 29 Nov 1831; NOTE: l'Allemagne Dynastique does not show a birth date for Pss Lowicka, but shows that sources give four different possibilities: Warsaw 21 Sep 1799, Poznan 29 Sep 1799, 29 Nov 1791 and 29 Sep 1795)

1i) Pr Vladimir Romanovsky-Krasinsky (St.Petersburg 30 Jun 1902-Paris 23 Apr 1974); Mathilde Kchessinska had been involved with the future Emperor Nicholas II, and then with Grand Duke Serge Mikhailovich, before settling with Andrei; it is said that Prince Vladimir was wont to say that he was never sure whether Andrei or Serge was his biological father; however, Andrei recognized Vladimir as his son after the revolution

1d) Hermann Carl Bernhard Ferdinand Friedrich Wilhelm August Paul Philipp, renounced his rights and was cr Gf von Ostheim 2 Aug 1909 (Düsseldorf 14 Feb 1886-London 6 Jun 1964); m.1st London 5 Sep 1909 (div 1911) Wanda Paola Lottero (Sportono 14 Jul 1881 [though some sources say Genoa 14 Jul 1884]-Genoa 8 Jul 1963); m.2d Heidelberg 4 Aug 1918 Aagot Midling (Larvik, Norway 3 Mar 1886-Paris 16 Oct 1931); m.3d Paris 28 Nov 1932 Isabel Nielson (New York City 3 Feb 1895-London 13 Jul 1981)

1f) Maria Luisa Enriqueta Josefina de Borbón Duquesa de Sevilla (Madrid 4 Apr 1868-19__? [she was succeeded by her sister in 1919, but it is not clear that she died then; she may have surrendered the title; other sources say she almost certainly died 1945 or after; Willis states that the current Duque de Sevilla gives the date as ca 1950, but is unsure]); m.London 25 Jul 1894 Juan Monclus y Cabanellas (Barcelona 18__-Church Stretton, Salop 13 Dec 1918 [per Willis, 1918 is correct, not 1919])

10c) Carlos Maria Isidro Benito Infant of Spain, Conde de Molina; he objected to the alteration in the succession to the throne to allow his niece Isabel II to become Queen, and he and his descendants [they and their partisans were known as the Carlists] fought for the throne for decades (Aranjuez 29 Mar 1788-Trieste 10 Mar 1855); m.1st Madrid 22 Sep 1816 Maria Francisca Infanta of Portugal (Queluz 22 Apr 1800-Alverstoke Rectory, nr Gosport, Hants 4 Sep 1834); m.2d Azcoitia 20 Oct 1838 Maria Teresa Infanta of Portugal, Pss of Beira (Queluz 29 Apr 1793-Trieste 17 Jan 1874)

6b) Milosh (25 Nov 1829-20 Nov 1861); m.Bucharest 22 Apr 1851 (div 1855) Elena Maria Catargiu (1831-Jassy 28 Jun 1879); NOTE: there is some evidence that Milosh had a daughter, but her name does not appear in any sources. A correspondent has sent me the following note: "I got my information out of the August 1998 issue of Royalty Digest. The article on the Obrenovics is on pg. 48 in the "Glimpses" section, and the article itself is an excerpt from a book called "A Soldier-Diplomat," by John Murray (c. 1927). This book consists of the memoirs of Brigadier-General Sir Douglas Dawson, a British militay attache. Dawson's visit to King Milan took place in 1886, and with him went another officer, Major Wortley.
The section of the article pertinent to the sister is as follows:

"Milan is certainly a good talker and raconteur. At this first audience he gave us a detailed description of an attack which had been made on him and his sister when as children playing in the Topchida Park in Belgrade, instigated, he said, by supporters of the rival dynasty of Kara-Georgevitch...He enlarged on the bitter feud which for many years had existed between the Obrenovitch and the Kara-Georgevitch dynasties, and Wortley and I were initiated that day into much which was soon to make history.
"The King invited us to a State ball which was given that evening at the Palace, and to this day I have some favours which Queen Nathalie gave me in the cotillion. Her majesty was a striking-looking lady, very much the Eastern type of beauty. During the ball the King presented me to his sister, whom he described as "full of lead," for as a child she had been wounded in the head, body, and legs during the assault above referred to."

What is most dismaying is that Mr. Ulwencreutz, evenwhen confronted with such overwhelming evidence of rampant plagiarism, remains defiant and has declared he will go forward with selling this book, as well as two subsequent volumes in preparation which he also has learned are ripped from Paul Theroff's online site: one on the mediatized houses (Part 2 of the old Gotha) and the non-reigning princely and ducal houses of Europe (Part 3 of the old Gotha). His justification: he has invested so much money in this profoundly ill-conceived venture. Sadly, Mr. Ulwencreutz cares more about the loss of some money than he does about the loss of his reputation, integrity and his credibility as a soi-disant editor. Instead, he proposes to continue to sell --without permission of the text's true owner-- an $80 printing of a dated version of a well established online site that can be enjoyed by anybody for free.

Steven Lavallee
Providence, Rhode Island

No comments:

Post a Comment