Following the family line to William the Conqueror takes us back to the Norman conquest of the Saxons in England. However using sources on the Internet such as thepeerage.com allows the family line to be continued much further to France, Norway and eventually to Finland.
William I of England was descended from the Dukes of Normandy. His father, Robert, was the 6th Duc de Normandie, his grandfather, Robert, was the 4th duke, his great grandfather was the 3rd duke, his great, great grandfather was the 2nd duke and his great, great, great grandfather, Rollo Ragnvaldsson, was the 1st duke, (c846 to c931). Rollo Rangnvaldsson was leader of the Viking invasion of France in the area that became known as Normany.
A brief account of the invasion is provided in a History Channel clip on YouTube Viking Fury from the North. The invaders settled in France and intermarried with the French, taking on the Christian religion.
This then leads to the next stage in the family saga in Norway.
Rollo Ragnvaldsson was the son of the Viking, Ragnvald
I ‘the Wise’ Eysteinsson, Earl of More. Ragnvald I was born in Norway and was Earl of Orkney (Scotland) but died in More, Norway, c890 so he had been one of the Vikings raiding Scotland at that time. The listing in the peerage.com continues back to Sveidi' the Sea King 'Heytirsson, the Norse King born in Raumsdal, Norway c650 and dying in Norway in 710.
The further back you go the more rubbery the dates become but it is suggested that Sveidi's ancestors were originally from Finland.
From this exercise the British history that we learned at school and see being excavated in shows such as Time Team becomes much more relevant. Obviously we all have historical roots going back to these times and we are also aware of these threads of history but to be able to trace a family back through these periods of history makes the history itself far more interesting and relevant. I now also know that I have a great deal of work to do investigating all these trails and also learning the stories of the people named in the genealogy lists.