|Administrative / biographical background:
Thomas Duffus Hardy was born in 1804, the son of Major Hardy, obtaining a junior clerkship in the Record Office at the Tower of London in 1819, with the assistance of Samuel Lysons. Several publications of the Record Commission were edited by him, while working at the Tower, including the Close Rolls from A.D. 1204-12 and The Patent Rolls for the reign of King John. Lord Langdale, Master of the Rolls, appointed him as Deputy-Keeper of the Public Record Office in 1861. During this period he was responsible for important reports on documents and a number of publications, writing a biography of Lord Langdale and editing several works for the Rolls Series of Chronicles and Memorials. The establishment of the Historical Manuscripts Commission was largely the result of Thomas's effort. The value of his work was acknowledged by a Knighthood in 1873, five years before his death.
William Hardy, the younger brother of Thomas Duffus Hardy, was born in 1807. Like Thomas he obtained a junior post in the Record Office at the Tower, until in 1830 he accepted the post of Keeper of the Records of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was also permitted to accept private work connected with antiquarian, legal and genealogical inquiries. In 1868 he was transferred to the Public Record Office as Assistant-Keeper, eventually becoming Deputy Keeper on the death of his brother in 1878. William retired in 1886, a year before his death. Other public activities included Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries in 1839 and being placed in the Historical Manuscript Commission in 1887. He received a knighthood for his services in 1884.
William John Hardy was the second son of Sir William Hardy, being born in 1857. He was educated privately and subsequently became a legal and genealogist record searcher, working for some time in partnership with Mr W. Page at 15 Old Square, Lincoln's Inn. Experience in this profession had been gained previously by working in that capacity with his Father, before the latter's appointment as Deputy-Keeper of the Public Record Office. His work involved him in numerous other activities including membership of the Council of Society of Antiquaries 1887-89, 1891-3, 1895-7, 1907, 1912 Inspector of Historical Manuscripts editorship of Calendar of State Paper, William and Mary, and of Middlesex and Hertfordshire Notes and Queries, from 1895 to 1898 and of Home Counties Magazine from 1899 to 1904. In addition to such activities he was also responsible for several publications, such as 'Book Plates' 1893, Lighthouses: their History and Romance 1895, Documents Illustrative of Church History 1896.