The Society of Genealogist has hundreds of old Peerage Claims dating as far back as the 18th century.
A Peerage claim happens when a hereditary peer dies, and his heir wishes to prove his claim to the title, he or she must provide suitable documentary evidence to the Crown Office of the House of Lords to prove that he or she is indeed the heir to the title.
Claims to peerages whose succession is in dispute (as is the below example), are made by Petition to The Crown, presented through the Lord Chancellor. He refers the accompanying documents to the Attorney General in order that he may report upon them to the Sovereign.
Peerage claims are large books or files filled with ‘evidence’. The example we have used below has just under 400 pages. Mr. John Borthwick and his father were trying to prove their claim for over 40 years until it was finally recognised at the Lord Lyon Court in Edinburgh. The discovery of forged papers dating back to the 18th century helped secure the claim.
Front cover of the 1868 case of John Borthwick claiming the title ‘Lord, Honor and Dignity of Lord Borthwick’ (who died in the battle of Flodden in 1513) to the objection of Mr. Archibald Borthwick.