Gateway Ancestors

Gateway Ancestors

What is a Gateway Ancestor?


Gateway ancestor is a term used in genealogy.

It means that when researching a family tree you discover that one of your ancestors is descended from royalty, the aristocracy, or landed gentry. Fortunately this part of the family tree will have been previously investigated and well documented, not only saving you tremendous time and expense, but will lead you into a world of inter-connected royal families and land-owning aristocracy. Quite something to include in your family tree.

But don’t think it will not happen to you, many well-off families fell on hard times, or had many sons who did not inherit any title or wealth, or even there may be a below-stairs liaison with the chamber-maid resulting in an illegitimate child.

Once you have located what is known as a gateway ancestor, one who links your family to a known noble ancestry, the door opens upon a world of recorded and published pedigrees that can lead back to royalty.

He may be a vicar or a tradesman perhaps; he will probably stand out against the background of more humble contemporaries. Any mention of “Esquire” or “Gentleman” should be pounced upon and fully investigated.

Search widely and stay vigilant for the right signs and you will give yourself the best chance to find a royal ancestor.

Though some researchers who claim Royal ancestry are subject to sneering comments or attitudes, this is not a problem as they tend to be criticised by people who have not carried out any extensive research in primary sources. But as long as the researcher can direct them to proof this research can be defended. It is after all so widespread that no one can claim that it is ‘special’ or they are ‘special’ though this might undermine the concept of inherited privilege. Perhaps the sneerers should be directed to page 501 of Burke’s Dormant and Extinct peerages, under the article for ‘Stafford – Barons Stafford, Earls of Stafford, Dukes of Buckingham, Barons Stafford’ Under the entry for Henry Stafford and his wife Ursula Pole is an entry for their granddaughter Jane Stafford, sister of the impoverished last Baron Stafford of the family. It stated that ‘Jane, who married a joiner, and had a son a cobbler, living at Newport, in Shropshire, in 1637: thus the great-great-grandson of Margaret Plantagenet, daughter and heiress of George, Duke of Clarence, sunk to the grade of a mender of old shoes.’ The facts are repeated in ‘The Complete Peerage’ entry for Stafford. It is also worth remembering that William Etty the Artist 1787-1849 was a son of a baker and ginger bread maker in York, was the uncle of two women who married a hairdresser and a house painter, yet through his mother Esther Calverley, he was a descendant of Ann, sister of English Kings Richard III and Edward IV.

My Gateway Ancestors

Below is a list of all Gateway Ancestors in my family tree, I have so far identified 12 people but I have many more possibly links which are in need of further research.

The first two ancestors listed are through my paternal family tree and are illegitimately linked through my 2x great grandmother ‘Mary Ann Mumford’ daughter of Lydia Mumford and Charles Grey.

The remaining ten people are through my Maternal tree and many of them belong in the same branches of my tree.

(i) Richard ‘of Stansted Mountfichet’ GREY
9th great grandfather
June 1637 in Stapleford Tawney, Essex, England

(ii) Joan BOREHAM
14th great grandmother
b. 1511 in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, England
d 1600 in Nazeing, Essex, England

(iii) Anne STRANGE
13th great grandmother
b. 1520 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
d. 17 February 1579 in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England

(iv) Lancelot STROTHER
11th great grandfather
b. 1600 in Northumberland, England
d. 2 February 1631 in Kirknew, Northumberland, England

(v) Nicholas OGLE
9th great grandfather
b. 1602 in Eglingham, Northumberland, England
d. 1646 in Northumberland, England

(vi) Sir Charles ‘of Charing Cross’ HARBORD
11th great grandfather
b. 1595 in Staninghall, Norfolk, England
d. 1679 in Suffolk, England

(vii) Gerard ‘Esquire’ ‘of Redbourn’ SOUTHILL
14th great grandfather
b. 1511 in of Redbourne, Lincolnshire
d. 2 January 1558 in Lincolnshire, England

(viii) Sir Francis BOWYER
13th great grandfather
b. 1525 in Chichester, Sussex, England
d. June 1581 in St. Nicholas, Acons, London, Middlesex, England

(ix) Richard ‘of Rudgwick, Sussex’ HAWLE
14th great grandfather
b. 1520 in Sussex, England

(x) Thomas ‘of Burwash & Brighton’ OWEN
11th great grandfather
b. March 1598 in Slinfold, Sussex, England
d. April 1639 in Brighton, East Sussex, England

(xi) Anne DRAPER
12th great grandmother
b. 1560 in London, England

(xii) Adam ‘of Lyne of Rudry’ GORDON
7th great grandfather
b. September 1710 in Aberlour, Banffshire, Scotland


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