Earls and Dukes:

With John Russell KG PC FSA, he was the 6th Duke of Bedford.

Should '6th Duke of Bedford' be entered into the Title, Suffix, AKA or something else?

Being a Duke or Earl wouldn't be an occupation per se would it.


1 Answer 1


They are titles. Specifically, Duke and Earl are two of the five titles in the British peerage:

The five titles of the peerage, in descending order of precedence, or rank, are: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron. The highest rank of the peerage, duke, is the most exclusive.

-- Debrett's Guide to the Hierarchy of Titles in the Peerage

Technically, in your example John Russell's title was simply Duke of Bedford, but it is not uncommon to clarify which of the Dukes of Bedford is being referenced (especially if, as in this case, the father had the same name and title, i.e. John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford).

The case of the Dukes of Bedford is an interesting example. The title has been created six times in the Peerage of England. The first two occasions, in 1414 and 1433 were for John of Lancaster, third son of King Henry IV. The other four times the title was created for four different people.

This means that 1st Duke of Bedford could actually refer to any one of five individuals!

John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford was the sixth duke of the sixth creation of the title. The current Duke of Bedford is the 15th duke of that line.

Exactly how you choose to store it is a personal choice. Personally, I would stick with just Duke of Bedford, since that was his title, and relationships in family trees and the databases in family history programs are maintained explicitly anyway. There is thus little risk of confusion.

However, if you were to store it as 6th Duke of Bedford that would also (in my opinion) be perfectly acceptable, and consistent with common usage.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.