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The Author,
John R. Mayer

(1952/9/16 - 1998/3/31)

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Equidem plura transcribo, quam credo:   nam nec affirmare sustineo, de quibus dubito, nec subducere quae accepi. 

Truly, I set down more things than I believe, for I can neither affirm things whereof I doubt, nor suppress what I have heard. 

Quintus Curtius, 9.1, Montaigne, 3.9.457

Carpamus dulcia; nostrum est,
Quod vivis; cinis, et manes, et fabula fies.

Let us pluck life’s sweets, ‘tis for them we live:
by-and-by we shall be ashes, a ghost, a mere subject of talk.

Persius, Satire, 5.151.   Montaigne, 1.38.112

Quelqu’un pourrait dire de moi que j’ai seulement fait ici un amas de fleurs étrangères, m’y ayant fourni du mien que le filet à les lier.

It could be said of me that in this book I have only made up a bunch of other men’s flowers, providing of my own only the string that ties them together.                                               Montaigne, 1533-1592, Essais, 3.12

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Motto of John R. Mayer:

Saepe stilum vertas, iterum quoe digna legi sint scripturus.
Often turn the stile [correct with care],
if you expect to write anything worthy of being read twice.

                           Horace, Satires, 1.10.72

We Strange genealogists are collectively building the record of a vast family, the fortunes of which happen to rise and fall today in much the same ways as the family flourished and declined in the past. These many rites of passage mark the diverse emigrations of the Stranges, teaching us a great many personal details of Western historical time. The true historical context of each life deserves our full consideration and examination, but in the end we shall see that the essential parts of each particular life happen to bear some remarkable similarities and connections with all the other lives in our collective story. The principles and philosophies that guided our ancestors were not so different from those that guide us today. The circumstances and happenstances of history are merely decorative embellishments: our ancestral stories transmit to us many wholesome truths and significant regularities that need to be uncovered and patiently contemplated.

Reader, I suspect you have found this book due to your interest in some person or family named Strange. How coincidental soever may have been the inquiry that led you to my work, I hope you will find herein plenty of related materials, enough to stimulate your curiosity and expand the scope of your own studies. It may well be that biographies and genealogies so informal and personal as these can never independently merit our prolonged attention, nor even our intricate study. And yet, the strings and fetters of affinity and kinship that tie all these stories together, across space and time, linking us with various timelines to the distant past, serve an important function: each break and bifurcation, each migration and confluence, each profession and fate relates to some similar event in some other time and place, illustrating for us quite comprehensively the ways in which ordinary and distinguished personages interrelate with one another through tactics and strategies, concords and disputations, vicissitudes and troubles.

In short, my dear cousins, through our combined powers and efforts, and with the help of resources and indices never available to our predecessors, we are able to do today what no one has been able to do in the past. The wake of our collective remembrances is now so wide as to reach from shore to shore, and the delimiting shoreline itself can be known. We who are related through Strange blood can now erect our temples to familial knowledge, and at least ensure that the temple doors are properly orientated and facing the distant progenitor stars with which each lineage ought to be aligned.

John R. Mayer
20 March 1994

Excerpt from Extraneus, Book XI, Strange of Blisland

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