Tuesday, 6 January 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 - Week 2 - King - Royalty in the family

The theme in the 52 Ancestors 2015 challenge for week 2 is King. A number of suggestions are provided as possibilities for the blog post including do you have a connection to royalty?

Searching through some of my grandmother's papers relating to the history of her family, I found a copy of a letter written to her by a cousin providing information about the Hutton family, including a possible link to Robert the Bruce, James II of Scotland and Edward III of England. He was paying a genealogist in the UK to do some research for him. This was long before personal computers where much of the research can be done from home. In a letter written to another family member he noted, in passing, that there could be family connections to Alfred the Great.

In January 2012 I decided to test these theories. Methodically working back through the Hutton family tree I was able to establish some of the links. Two posts in this blog provide an outline of the research - Connection to royalty? and Royalty - King Robert II of Scotland. The grandfather of Robert II was Robert I, also known as Robert the Bruce.

In June, on the day marking the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, I decided to continue the hunt for connections to royalty in the family. This time the search did lead to Edward III as had been suggested by my grandmother's cousin. However I decided to take the search back further through the Plantagenet family ending with William the Conqueror. This was written up in the blog post, Royalty connections continued.

The Plantagenet's, of course, were French and the blog posts, the French connection and French connection part 2, show some of the links to members of the ruling families in France including French royalty.

Following the ancestral path of William the Conqueror leads to Rollo, the leader of the Vikings who came to Normandy six generations earlier.

Following the ancestral path of Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror, leads back to Alfred the Great and the Anglo Saxons.

I have found no connection to James II of Scotland however James I of Scotland married Joan Beaufort, daughter of John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. Joan was the grand-daughter of Edward III of England.

Due to the intermarriage between the royal families of Europe you can have a lot of fun following back the family lines - male and female. On one line I traced back to Charlemagne (742-814). I suspect that, given time, I may find some other surprises.

Exploring the history of these families and their interconnections helps in the understanding of the history and the politics of the times. Thousands of people throughout the world can trace their families to royal links. It does, however add an additional layer of entertainment to family history research.

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