Am I Related to Royalty?

Last week we discussed discovering our relationship to the Presidents of the United States.   Research has proven that all the Presidents are related to one another and share a common ancestor in Eleanor of Aquitaine, with the majority of the Presidents related through her son, King John of England {this is the same King John mentioned in Robin Hood}.

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine

So, how do we know if we are related to Royalty?

  1. Know your family history—without knowing your line and ancestry it is impossible to move back farther
  2. Royal Genealogies—the royal houses have maintained copious notes of their genealogies over the centuries with the very earliest dating back to the sixth century.
  3. Understand that many of the monarchs had illegitimate children. According to one resource, “The 13 monarchs [in England] who reigned between 1066 and 1485 fathered at least 40 bastards between them.”  Some illegitimate heirs were recognized while others were not.
  4. Surnames Change—understand that surnames change and often issue is highly unlikely to follow a direct male line. There will be twist and turns with the daughters of the kings and their daughters, etc following the pedigree line.
  5. Understanding rules of ancestry—the younger sons and daughters of a Monarch were not in line for succession. They became the nobility, gentry and middle class family.  Often their status depended on who they married and the profession of their spouse.  Many married lawyers, churchmen, farmers or tradesmen.
  6. Note titles—when you are conducting your research take note of titles such as Sir, Duke, Count or of course King. Titles give an idea of their standing and to continue researching because there may be a royal connection in the next few generations.
  7. Millions of descendants—there are millions of descendants related to the various royal houses. Also remember that the royal houses often intermarried so you may be related to more than one royal house.  There are many individuals not only in America, but across the world related to the early sovereigns.

So with so many descended from the Plantagenet Kings and other royal houses the odds of having a royal ancestor somewhere in your ancestry is pretty high.

So just remember that it is common to be related to royalty, but it’s fun to hunt down the connection.  Discovering this connection doesn’t provide any special rights, but it’s interesting to research your ancestor and learn more about the sovereign you descend from and his/her place in history.

How are you related to royalty?