This site is a repository of information resources for those interested in the history and genealogy of persons descended from John and Margaret (Acres) Rathbun, who decamped from Lancashire (Ditton, to be precise) to settle in North America around the year 1654. A large majority of people bearing the surnames Rathbun, Rathbone and Rathburn are descended from this couple, who made their home on Block Island in the Rhode Island colony.
Beginning in 1981, and continuing for sixteen years, the Rathbun Family Association, under the editorial leadership of the late Frank H. Rathbun of Fairfax, Virginia, published the Rathbun-Rathbone-Rathburn Family Historian, a quarterly journal of genealogical and historical research.
In addition to providing valuable resources for those interested in lines of descent and the role of various family members in American history, the Historian served as a means of communication and coordination for social activities amongst the descendants of John and Margaret.
This incarnation of the Historian was a monumental opus, comprising original research, essays, recent news, compendia of earlier publications, reproductions of rare and unique photographs and documents, personal commentary and genealogical minutiae. The amount of uncompensated effort involved, by Frank and the other members of the team, is staggering to contemplate.
My father, Frank P. Rathbun, as a member of the Association, accumulated a complete set of the Historian issues, together with the place and name index volumes that were issued periodically. Some years ago he put this collection in my custody. I was also a member of the Association, but my collection was incomplete because I spent a number of years abroad and allowed my membership to lapse.
Recently I realized that no way exists for most researchers and other interested persons to access this vast trove of data -- only a few hundred sets were printed, and none of those appears to be accessible over the Internet. As a consequence, after conferring with Robert Rathbun, the Research Director of the Association, I have decided to undertake the electronic publication of the entire sixteen-year Historian corpus using the better of the print copies of the Historian from the two collections.
The Adobe Reader or an equivalent PDF reader will be required on your system if you do not already have one installed.
I am not a genealogical researcher, and do not personally have information about Rathbun genealogy beyond that which appears in the Historian archive here. Consequently, it is exceedingly unlikely that I will be able to answer questions.
Some tips on searching the archives using the Adobe Acrobat reader are here. The searchable text is derived from Optical Character Recognition processing of the original scanned document images. This is always somewhat imperfect when processing older documents; consequently there may be some names or words garbled in the searchable text. This is especially the case with generation numbers applied to names in lines of descent.
NOTICE: The Historian PDF files in the archive directories were modified to include searchable text on Sunday, April 25, 2010. If you have files downloaded before that date, you will need to replace them with the newer ones if you wish to use electronic search.
Each of the links below will take you to a directory containing the files for the Historian volume for the year indicated. For the first fourteen years, the Historian was published quarterly with sixteen pages per issue. Beginning with Volume 15 it became a twice-per-year publication of twenty pages each.
Once you are in a directory, I strongly recommend that you download the files you are interested in to your own system (this usually involves clicking the file name with the right mouse button and selecting the "Save As..." option) rather than trying to access them directly through your Web browser.Volume 1 - 1981
Four Index volumes were published, covering Historian volumes 1 through 8. Indices for some subsequent volumes were compiled but were never published because of cost.
These index volumes are here.
We now have a complete set of scans of the original Historian.
Our cousin Lauri Price Portz has scanned and sent to me 13 issues of the original Historian (V1-4 through V2-4), which I am pleased to make available here.
They are not in very good condition and most of the bindings are falling off so I'm gently taking them apart and scanning them... I'm not sure who had the subscription, but Fred B Leyns wrote all over some of them so I assume his mom Mary Rathbun, and maybe she gave them to Frances which is how they ended up with the Price family. I'm glad I have them and am so happy to share. Maybe someone else will be so inspired and other issues will end up out there.
Many thanks to Cousin Lauri!
Robert Rathbun, Genealogist for the RRRIFA has provided scans of the remaining issues from January 1892 through June 1894 which are to be found here.