What do Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and I have in common? Quit sniggering. The answer? We all married (or are engaged to marry) into the British royal family. Again, quit sniggering. I'm serious. Kate Middleton married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Meghan Markle is engaged to Harry, Prince Henry of Wales. And I, of course, am married to Ellen, princess/duchess something/something, ...well, read on.
Ellen's hobby for a number of years has been genealogy. She has slowly extended her family tree back several hundred years. Recently, she discovered a genealogy book titled, "Jefferson and Madison Royal Descents" with a chart titled, "Thomas Jefferson Through Christopher Branch." That caused a light bulb to light up in Ellen's head. She remembered a Christopher Branch in her family tree. Could it be the same Christopher Branch? It was. Same wife. Same father. Same guy.
So, let's insert an aside. That means Ellen is related to Thomas Jefferson. The author of the Declaration of Independence is Ellen's tenth cousin, five times removed (if I've counted all the "begats" correctly).
Back to the main story. Once we have Jefferson's royal descents and know how Ellen's own descents intersect Jefferson's, we can extend Ellen's own tree back to...wait for it...Henry I, King of England (1068-1135). Ellen is Henry's Great x30 Granddaughter. Now be honest. If you know Ellen, even just a little, you just know she had to have royal blood, don't you?
And we don't have to stop there. Henry I was son of William the Conqueror, first Norman king of England. And William was the great-great-great grandson of Rollo (c. 846 - c. 930), the Viking who became the first Duke of Normandy. The historical record grows murky with Rollo and there's no reliable information on his own origins. So that's where we have to stop, with Rollo, Ellen's Great x36 Grandfather from the ninth century.
Knowing you are related to William the Conqueror (or Charlemagne or Genghis Khan or any other great person from 1,000 years ago or more) is no big deal. We all are, probably — it's a numbers game. But if you can name each ancestor in your lineage back to, say, William the Conqueror, that is a big deal. Very few people have done the digging to make all those connections all the way back. For the record, here are the descents for Ellen:
Rollo (Ellen's Great x36 Grandfather)
Death: December 17, 942
Richard I “The Fearless” …
Birth: August 28, 932
Death: November 20, 996
Richard II “The Good” …
Death: August 28, 1026
Robert I “The Magnificent” …
Birth: June 22, 1000
Death: July 3, 1035
William I “The Conqueror” Beauclerc
Death: September 9, 1087
Henry I Beauclerc
Death: December 1, 1135
Robert of Caen
Death: October 31, 1147
Maud FitzRobert of Gloucester
Amicia de Meschines
Bertrade de Mainwaring
Emma de Audley
Margred ferch Gruffudd ap Madog
Sir Ralph Bostock
Sir Adam Bostock
Birth: 1524 — Abingdon, Berkshire, England
Death: August 25, 1597 — Abingdon, Berkshire, England
Birth: August 18, 1566 — Abingdon, Berkshire, England
Death: 1605 — Ludgate, London, England
Birth: September 2, 1602 — London, London, England
Death: February 20, 1681 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Birth: 1626 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Death: 1676 — Chesterfield County, Virginia, USA
Birth: February 27, 1654 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Death: 1700 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Birth: October 1, 1680 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Death: 1758 — Chesterfield County, Virginia, USA
Birth: 1708 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Death: 1788 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
William Uriah Perdue
Birth: 1730 — Henrico County, Virginia, USA
Death: 1800 — Montgomery County, Virginia, USA
Meshack “Mash” Perdue
Birth: 1756 — Chesterfield County, Virginia, USA
Death: December 30, 1837 — Rocky Mount, Franklin Co, VA
Birth: 1797 — Rocky Mount, Franklin Co, VA
Death: January 1832 — Oak Grove, Sumner County, Tennessee, USA
Birth: October 15, 1829 — Sumner County, Tennessee, USA
Death: May 5, 1910 — Tennessee, USA
James Eli Perdue
Birth: December 20, 1853
Death: June 2, 1930
Ruby Ellen Perdue
Birth: January 10, 1903 — Sumner County, Tennessee, USA
Death: November 14, 1991 — Murray, KY
Ruth Ellen Denning
Birth: September 25, 1923 — Paducah, KY at 11:55 p.m.
Death: February 8, 2010 — Richardson, Texas
Ellen Marie Tiedeman
Birth: — Evansville, Indiana, USA
I wonder when we can expect to receive our invitation to Harry and Meghan's nuptials.
The whole family tree can be found at msteger.com/webtrees.