The TEMPLE Reference Library

The Essential TEMPLE References

A Companion to Name Origin and the Provenance of Abraham

This section summarizes and reviews the key works regarding TEMPLE genealogy and complements the related section, Name Origin and the Provenance of Abraham.

After fairly extensive research into the TEMPLE family, the following represents the core of an essential reference library, in my opinion. All of these references are part of the database presented here on-line. The advantage of the books is that they include additional information such as anecdotes, pictures, and so on. Certainly no source stands out as the definitive work, nor does any work (including this database you are using) come free of errors. Use any reference with caution, and always verify carefully. This listing moves from the encyclopedic works to the very specialized. Other lesser works can also be found among the citations in the Bibliography section, Bibliography.

Some Temple Pedigrees
The Rise of the Temples
The Descendants of Roswell Temple
Descendants of Levi Temple
Temple Annals of Maine
An Account of the Temple Family
Some Account of the Temple Family
Temple Memoirs
Temple People, Volumes 1 and 2
Branches of the Family Tree
William Temple of Prince George County
Temple Family of Wake County
The Parker and Temple Families
THE TEMPLE FAMILY in England and America
Temple/McNulty Genealogy
Ancestors & Descendants of Orson Temple
Descendants of Roderick Temple

From the Northeast

Some Temple Pedigrees

First among the references is the pioneering genealogy to the TEMPLE lines by Levi Daniel Temple, Some Temple Pedigrees, A Genealogy of the Known Descendants of Abraham Temple who settled in Salem, MASS in 1636, David Clapp & Son, Boston, 1900.

Users of Levi's work ought to recognize his momentous achievement pulling so much together in one place. However, ANY fact in the work ought to be taken as tenuous until verified by some other source -- I and others have found numerous errors and erroneous conclusions. Be careful of other sources, too, since many of them will also cite (or draw upon without citation) Levi's work. With this caution in mind, most TEMPLE researchers can get a good start on their New England heritage.
Like the rest of the documents listed here, this reference is fully incorporated into this website and heavily cited. For those wishing to read it, however, the full text is available at The free download site of The American Libraries.

Our cousin Ralph L. Temple (who also provided the section on "Temples In The Census" of this webpage) found the following advertisement for Levi's work while in progress, as he was soliciting inputs for his book. Many thanks to Ralph for sharing:


Rise of the Temples

Next, and nearly as essential for starters, is the work by Albert R. Temple and Danny D. Smith, The Rise of the Temples: A Millenium of Power and Progress, 716 AD to the Present, The Temple Family Association, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1973. Albert and Danny took Levi's effort several steps farther. However, while correcting many errors in Levi's book, they introduced some new ones of their own. However, The Rise of the TEMPLEs is a resource that should be more heavily relied upon than Levi's book in areas of conflicting data. The work itself is not up to the usual standards for Danny D. Smith, in such works as his Preliminary Account of the descendants of Robert Smith (1611-1706) of Exeter and Hampton, N.H. Through the Fifth Generation, which was printed in 1980. The problem stems from Albert's interest in getting published, but without much regard for the content.

Descendants of Roswell Temple

For a subset of the lines followed by Levi, I also highly recommend Teneriffe Temple Larrabee's The Descendants of Roswell Temple and Elizabeth Case, who lived in Washington County, New York, from 1801 to 1893. Also, the genealogy of all their offspring to and through the year 1946, being a supplement to "Some Temple Pedigrees" Los Angeles, CA, 1947. This book will help get the New York and Pennsylvania lines (some of them, in any case) going, but it is unfortunately very limited by the choice of Roswell as the nexus. Excellent work, but of narrow focus.

Descendants of Levi Temple

Another narrowly focussed but very valuable work is Danny D. Smith's Descendants of Levi Temple, 1751-1821, of Bowdoin and Montville, Maine, through 1987, Gardiner, Maine, printed for limited circulation by the author, 1988. I understand that Albert and Danny did not always agree on some of their conclusions, and this work shows Danny's high degree of scholarship. Again, an excellent effort, about 150 pages, with a high degree of error-freeness. Although hard to get hold of, it's a really valuable resource.

Temple Annals of Maine

Finally, another work by Danny D. Smith entitled The Temple Annals of Maine published by him in 1972 is a short piece that refers to a very specific portion of Danny's lines.

Links to England

For those interested in bridging the gaps between England and North America, at least in the elite lines of TEMPLEs, several works might be of interest. If your interest is to track back to England, then these works will help. First is W.H. Whitmore's An Account of the Temple Family With Notes and Pedigree of the Family Bowdoin, Button and Wentworth, Boston, 1856. This tracks the lines of some of the royal governors and the Bowdoin family. It is an older work, hard to get hold of, but it has a good deal of valuable information. A similar book in this category, much more easy to find, is Temple Prime's work, Some Account of the Temple Family, The De Vinne Press, NY, 4th Ed., 1899. Mostly the English lines, but deals in one section with the New England Line - that of Rev. Dr. Thomas Temple, 3rd son of Thomas Temple, 1st Bart. In addition, there is the champion of genealogical book titles in Colonel John Alexander Temple's The Temple Memoirs - An Account of this Historic Family and its Demesnes; with Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes and Legends from Saxon Times to the Present Day; Including a Frontispiece in Colours, Thirty-four Plates and Two Sheet Pedigrees. The Colonel's hero is evidently Macaulay, and much of the book is anecdotal, but there are moments of real value for the English lines.

The Southern Lines

Now, there are many TEMPLE lines which went through Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and then spread west. There is NO single source for these disparate lines, and in fact, it is most difficult to track these back to their progenitors. A peculiar difficulty is the fractionation of the TEMPLE surname into TEMPLE(S) and TEMPLES, a phenomenon that occurred in the southeast states. Having said that, however, there are some very good resources to help get started.

Temple People, Volumes 1 and 2

Probably the best place to start is Joyce Temple Barnett's Temple People, Volumes 1 and 2, privately published, 1988 and 2001. They are available in the DAR Library in Washington, DC. Both volumes are monumental works, orders of magnitude greater in scope than the combined works of Levi, Albert and Danny. They trace southern TEMPLE, TEMPLE(S) and TEMPLES lines along with extensive family lore. Fascinating reading, I have found that Volume 1 can be generally relied upon to be correct. Over 600 pages long, Volume 1 is incredibly comprehensive. Volume 2 came out in 2001, and corrected some errors in Volume 1, but added considerably more information. Joyce's idea for the second volume was to repeat as little as possible from the first volume. Over 730 pages cover much new ground, and add data that she was unable to correlate (like the "Factoids" data of this web page) but which might be useful to researchers who can place it in context. I should note that Joyce was ably assisted by others, among them Robert TEMPLES, who has been diligently pursuing the TEMPLES lines, and who believes (as do I) that the TEMPLES surname starts with Frederick TEMPLES about 1725. One note of caution here, since Joyce works entirely in text, without a database, there are data repetitions, data contradictions, errors in indexing, and more errors that have crept into Volume 2 than we would have liked, but Volume 2 is an incredibly rich source nonetheless.

Branches of the Family Tree

On similar lines, though with much less family lore--mostly the bald facts--is Evelyn Ling Creech's Branches of the Family Tree which she published in 1991. Every fact is well documented, with very little guess work and few conclusions. The book follows several lines of TEMPLE: William, Thomas, John, Thomas Jefferson. It extends Levi's work, more rigorously documented, but not much new ground. If you are looking for original source material, though, this book points the way.

William Temple of Prince George County, VA

For Virginia folks, we have an important work by Lucy Temple Temple (that's not a typo), William Temple of Prince George County, Virginia and His Descendants, privately published in 1980. The book is extensive, and ends up branching out into a number of related lines. Over 300 pages packed with TEMPLE family connections, and extensive discussions about the underlying documentation she used to arrive at her conclusions. A thorough and excellent job of scholarship. Joyce Temple Barnett relied heavily on Lucy's work as well.

Temple Family of Wake County, NC

For North Carolina specifics, we have Eunice Temple Kirkpatrick's The Temple Family of Wake County, NC and Related Families, Durham, NC, 1978. Another comprehensive work, it also has a high degree of accuracy. As with all such works, however, conclusions by the author need to be checked against other sources, but this is a very good starting point for the Carolina connection.

Parker and Temple Families

A similar comment can be made about Eunice Temple Kirkpatrick's The Parker and Temple Families, Privately published, 1984. Again, lots of good insight to family lore and some of the interactions between these two families. Having come from a PARKER line myself, however, I found that there are gaping holes in this book, which focuses more on the southern lines than my northern lines. If the southern TEMPLEs and PARKERs are of interest, this book is fascinating and necessary reading.

TEMPLE FAMILY in England and America

Another book of focused interest is Henry Curtis Temple's work, THE TEMPLE FAMILY in England and America 856 A.D. TO 1930 A.D., Alliance, Ohio, 1930. This follows 488 descendants of Robert and Mary Davis TEMPLE for six generations. It extensively fixes errors in Albert and Danny's Rise of the Temples where they listed some pedigrees in this line as uncertain. Henry Curtis's work was very thorough and accurate in reflecting dates and precise names of the TEMPLEs and their related lines, especially in and around Pennsylvania. My appreciation to Ethel Temple Jensen for sharing her copy of this book with me, filling in many gaps in the elusive Pennsylvania TEMPLEs.

TEMPLE Lines in the Midwest


Hard to find, but well worth the trouble, is Ethel Temple Jensen's Temple/McNulty Genealogy. Ethel told me it is "simply our THOMAS TEMPLE (1772-1845) in Ohio and his descendants." It is, however, much more than that humble description. This is a rich source of the midwestern TEMPLE lines, scrupulously researched by a top-notch genealogist. I have found the book in several places, but the one of which I am most sure is that it is in the main library in Omaha, NE.

Descendants of Orson Temple

Another excellent supplement for some lines is Ancestors & Descendants of Orson Temple 1821-1871 by Ada Temple Sleeth. It can be found as Gc 929.2 T247b at the Allen Co. Library in Ft. Wayne IN. It is a non-circulating rare book in which the author has extended Levi's original work through use of many family documents.

Descendants of Roderick Temple

As the sources get more and more specialized, a work similar to the Orson Temple genealogy is Elmer Edwin Temple's Some Temple Pedigrees - A Genealogy of the Known Descendants of Roderick Temple Who Settled Near Nashville Tennessee. This book was graciously shared by Diane Canaan, and was particularly useful in extending these lines. It is obviously from family sources and much direct interaction with the people mentioned, though not extensively documented.

BibliographyGo to the Bibliography

HomeReturn to Table of Contents