One evening when I was about eight or nine years old, my father brought to the dinner table a little pamphlet which was very old and seemed very important. He explained that his sister, in going through the belongings of my late grandfather, had discovered several copies of this pamphlet and had distributed them among her brothers and sisters.
The pamphlet was called "The Genealogy of the Maule Family". It was small, measuring approximately 8 inches by 5 inches, and short, containing about 30 pages. After we finished dinner, my father proceeded to read it to us. I was spellbound; being interested in history, this was quite exciting, because it told a history that involved people with the names DeMaule and Maule. To me, at that age, the pamphlet was a full and complete history. After all, my father was in it, because, as I later discovered, someone had brought it up-to-date.
Years later I learned that the pamphlet was published in 1868 by my great-great-great grandfather. It contained many errors, and was very incomplete. Yet it also turned out that copies of it survived and were handed down in every branch of the family. I am getting ahead of my story so let me return to when I was younger.
I did not do much about the pamphlet after that night when my father read it to us. Other interests called, and time passed by.
By the time I was 21, I entered law school. In America, the first year of law school is particularly challenging. Subjects such as Property Law and Contracts caused me much less difficulty than Criminal Law. I was struggling early in my first year in that subject, so I decided I needed to read textual material in what is called a "hornbook". A hornbook is a reference book that sets forth the law and an explanation, which differs from the classroom methodology of analyzing cases. I describe all of this because when I started reading the hornbook I discovered many references to opinions written by "Judge Maule". Imagine my surprise! Keep in mind that I also thought I would be the first lawyer in the family. (Jumping ahead again, not only would I discover that was not the case, I also discovered there were other attorneys named Jim Maule!)
At the time I discovered this reference to Judge Maule I had not yet made any sort of firm career plans. Having heard that "clerking" with a judge was an excellent way to begin after graduating law school (which is, in fact, true), I decided that I should try to contact Judge Maule. So I spoke with my father and asked him why he hadn't told me that there was a judge in the family. He did not know of a Judge Maule, so we looked at the pamphlet and did not find any reference to him.
I then spoke with the law librarian at the law school. She looked in a directory of judges and could not find any reference to Judge Maule. By now, I decided that employment with Judge Maule was highly unlikely, but I had become very curious; "Who was this guy?"
I went to the public library, where I could not find anything about Judge Maule, but I found many things about other Maules. Many other Maules, Maules that I did not know existed. Some of them were relatively famous in their fields, and relatively prominent citizens. I was intrigued. How many other cousins did I have?
My next step was to look in the telephone directories for the Philadelphia area, and to send a letter to each of the 20 or so Maule households. I explained who I was, and asked them to tell me about their Maule ancestry and whether they knew who Judge Maule was. Most of these people responded. One introduced me to an 85- year old cousins who knew many Maule cousins and owned many old Maule family papers and letters.
Others sent me to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, where I was like a child in a candy store when I saw all of the genealogies that it has in its collection. I had not had any real sense of the size of the Maule family until I read these genealogies. In the collection was my great-great-great- grandfather's copy of that little pamphlet, in which he had added margin notes containing corrections.
That is when I decided I would update the pamphlet. I wanted to write a genealogy such as those written for other families. My goal was to enter a biographical record for each descendant of Thomas Maule of Salem, Mass.
And that is how I started. There is no end, of course; there never is. Perhaps in another article I can tell you about the things I did to find the information for the 1981 book, "The History and Genealogy of the Maules". Perhaps I can tell you about the additional information I have located since 1981.
Oh, yes! Judge Maule. In 1978, 5 years after I first started looking for him, I located information about Judge Maule. He was a British judge, a member of King's Bench, one of the high courts of England. And, yes, he was born, lived, and died in the nineteenth century. Well, I was glad I had looked elsewhere for a legal position when I graduated law school. I doubt Judge Maule would have answered my letter of application!
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