In his obituary published on Thursday, Hugh Massingberd is described as a "zealous genealogist who edited Burke’s Peerage and enlivened The Daily Telegraph’s obituaries." For 15 years, Massingberd edited Burke’s Landed Gentry, Burke’s Royal Families of the World and Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage.
As a young man, Massingberd trained to be a solicitor. He obtained a temporary job at Burke's in order to read history and be better prepared for college. While employed at Burke's, Massingberd spent time compiling genealogies for the Landed Gentry. He soon became assistant editor to Peter Townend, with whom he worked on what proved to be the last edition of the Peerage (1970) for some three decades. He was promoted to editor-in-chief, replacing Townend, at the age of 24. Under his leadership, Burke's then published Presidential Families of the USA (1975), Irish Family Records (1976) and the three-volume Country Houses (1978-81).
Hugh Massingberd was the author of more than 30 books, including The Monarchy (1979), Family Seats (1988) and Great Houses of England and Wales (2001). He also edited six anthologies of obituaries from The Daily Telegraph.
He died of cancer on Christmas Day, 2007, aged 60.
As a person who wrote thousands of obituaries, you may find it interesting to read Hugh Massingberd's obituary at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3100894.ece.