Are you descended from Royalty?

Image from the Bayeux Tapestry showing William with his half-brothers. William is in the centre, Odo is on the left with empty hands, and Robert is on the right with a sword in his hand. Source: Wikipedia

Image from the Bayeux Tapestry showing William with his half-brothers. William is in the centre, Odo is on the left with empty hands, and Robert is on the right with a sword in his hand.
Source: Wikipedia

This is a subject that has often interested me but when I began researching my family history in 1997 it was far from my mind. The idea that I could be descended from Royalty was for me simply not possible.
The reason why I believed this is because I had very little understanding of genealogical mathematics and how family connections came together. It took 14 years of research before I found a connection with Royalty, but when I did the links kept appearing everywhere. The reason why is because I worked very hard on my hobby and spent so long researching every single branch that my chances of discovering such links kept increasing with every generation I added.
I don’t often speak about these connections in person to people because most of my family and friends have no interest in genealogy and many live by the same ideas that I did when I first began researching. That Royal links are just not possible, some of the responses I have had are;

So why don’t you live in a castle?
Why aren’t you the king of England?
So how come’s you work in a supermarket?

Regardless of these comments and whatever your background, a link to royalty might be lurking somewhere in your family’s past.
The power of the mathematics of genealogy is vastly underrated. From just a few royal bed hoppers who lived many hundreds of years ago there are estimated to be millions of descendants walking amongst us today.
The 13 monarchs who reigned between 1066 and 1485 fathered at least 40 bastards between them. Henry II leads the field with around 20. Descendants of Edward III, legitimate or otherwise, are believed to be in excess of 4 millions. Some experts believe that practically everyone alive with British ancestry will have a connection with this king.
If we look at genealogical mathematics and do a little number crunching, you will find that the world population in 1000 AD is estimated to be around; 310,000,000
At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) England probably had a population of about 2 million. (Much less than in Roman times). However the population grew rapidly. It may have reached about 5 or 6 million by the end of the 13th century.
So how many ancestors did we have, who were living in 1000 AD, which is approximately 32 generations in the past, now here comes the big number; 3,623,878,656
We basically have more ancestors alive in 1000 AD, then the entire population of the world combined.
So we must descend from the same people, over and over again, and what is the likelihood that all Europeans descend from William the Conqueror, probably millions of times more likely, then not at all.
But the important thing about genealogical study, is not if we are descended from Royalty, but how. To do that, you need to research your family history and more importantly be committed.

Generation Table, Including approximate year of birth (I have used my own family tree to supply these approximate dates)

Generation Table, Including approximate year of birth (I have used my own family tree to supply these approximate dates)

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11 thoughts on “Are you descended from Royalty?

  1. I AM descended from royalty through Frances Congdon, who married one of my numerous Great etc Grandfather Stephen Gardner’s of RI and CONN. lineage. She was a descendant of King George III of England. But someone else did the research in an 1800’s book.

    • Wow, that’s a pretty impressive link and ancestor. My connections don’t begin until the 1500’s. But through your link you descend from Mary Queen of Scots, Henry VII, Elizabeth Woodville, Edward IV, Charles I and many more.
      Have you posted anything about these connections, I would love to read them 🙂

      • I was thinking about starting a genealogy blog. My family history is pretty wild, and I have a few dead ends. Actually I had no idea those other royal family members were also related, I never thought about it, or looked it up.

      • Elizabeth Woodville is one of my favourite historical people she was very beautiful and with incredible character, strong minded and very loving. Her two sons were the princes in the tower.
        You may also be descended from Mary Boleyn, Anne’s sister, she was the only sibling who survived the wrath of Henry VIII.
        If you do start a blog on your family history I will certainly be reading it.
        A descent from George III is certainly a heritage to be proud of 🙂

  2. There is no way I am descended from royalty—British or any other kind. I’d love to dare you to find someone in my line who is, but I know you have your hands full! 🙂 Of course, at the moment the furthest I have gotten back on any of my branches is to my 4X great-grandparents born in the 1770s. So who knows?

    • Lol, hehe 🙂 I would love to find a link for you and I would be more then happy to take a look at your English lineage.
      Feel free to send me an email with a few details abt your British lines, although I can’t promise anything.
      Stephendawe-kuta@hotmail.co.uk
      I did think exactly the same way though abt royalty. Kate Middleton for instance is from a family of Coal Miners, and it wasn’t until somebody researched her tree that they found a link to Edward III.
      My parents also share the same ancestors and their roots are far removed from each other.
      So anything is possible 🙂

      • Thanks, Stephen. But my family’s stay in England was very short-lived. My 3x great-grandfather arrived sometime around 1800, was married in London, lived there until about 1851 when he as well as all of his children moved to the US. So I can’t see anyway we have deeper English roots!
        But maybe we are descended from some German or Polish aristocracy—though only if they raped one of my ancestors! I do not think many of the noble classes had any close contact with the Jewish citizens living in their countries.

      • Yes, that’s very true and I have thought about how Jewish family’s fall into the larger scheme of things. They have been persecuted for centuries and Christianity began as a Jewish sect in the middle east sometime in the 1st century. That’s 2 thousand years and a long time before the Royal Houses of Europe were established. 🙂

      • True. Jewish genealogy presents lots of interesting challenges—no church records, no surnames for the most part until 1810, and lots of intrafamily marriages.

  3. If my great-grandmother’s genealogy scroll is to be believed (it is quite thorough, but contains no source citations), I am descended from quite a number of English royals. We seemed to have a knack for landing on the losing side of history, though.

    • The losing side sounds pretty much like my family and certainly a storyline played out by most family’s with a royal connection.
      I try not to take these links to seriously, but at the sometime I am proud of my ancestors whoever they are and more importantly England’s history is very often a part of our family history too. For me that makes my country’s heritage something to be very patriotic about and makes history very personal for all of us.

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