The Kings and I

Not long ago, I was whining to a friend that I hadn’t found a new ancestor in a long time.  Well, now I have to unwhine, because I have hit the ancestor lottery – and I mean the Mega-Millions Jackpot.

Somehow, it’s fitting that this past week was the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede.

Gosh, I wish I could have been there, as I could have met several cousins.  It would have been like a virtual family reunion.

Magna Carta

King John (below), the King who signed the Magna Carta (above), and not really by choice, is my ancestor.

King John hunting

You see, once you tie into the royal lines with what is known as a gateway ancestor, you’re home free…well…kind of.  You’re at least in the door, but you still have to figure out how all of that royalty ties together, and there is a lot of misinformation and wishful thinking out there, believe me.

I learned about a year ago that indeed, I did have a gateway ancestor through Sarah Ludlow born about 1640 in Fairfield, Connecticut, who married Nathaniel Brewster.  A gateway ancestor is considered to be an American or colonial settler who descends from documented royalty.

I started slowly working my way backward, after ordering boxes worth of reference material, and not long thereafter, discovered that I was descended, much to my surprise, from King Edward the First, also known as Longshanks.

Little did I know that was only the tip of the iceberg.  That’s because  European royalty is all related to each other like a big ole kudzu vine.  That is, after all, how you kept the money, power and crown in the family.

I discovered the Magna Carta Facebook group and joined.  They discussed the most interesting topics, and with the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the educational factor was what I’ll just call “spongeworthy.”  Given that I had no particular reason to be interested in British royalty before, I wasn’t. But, all of a sudden I have developed an intense interest and I just couldn’t soak up all of the information fast enough.

I kept discovering that I was related to more and more people, like more Kings…King John, King Henry II and III, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots, King Louis VI, VII and VIII of France…and yes…Charlemagne too.

Now, if what National Geographic reports is true, and you’re descended from Charlemagne, you’re cousins with everyone in contemporary Europe except for newcomers.  And all this from one man who lived about 1200 years ago and was exceedingly prolific.

Wow, was I overwhelmed, both by the sheer volume of information, and the fact that…glory be….the research has for the most part been done.  Now, I just had to put the pieces together, not search for the pieces of needles in a huge scavenger hunt haystack.

Even that is no small task.

Then, one day on the Facebook Magna Carta group, someone showed a dramatic, stunningly beautiful chart of their royal connections…beginning with them.  It was “take your breath away” gorgeous.  I’m a visual person and I wanted one, in the worst way, but I didn’t have nearly enough of my genealogy done.

Imagine my big 24X36 frameable chart with me at one end and King Edward I at the other end and a few scatters in-between.  Nope, not ready yet.

However, I saw a few more of these charts and I DESPERATELY wanted one, so I decided to drop a note to Ky (rhymes with sky), the man making these pieces of art.  I explained to him my quandary…and much to my surprise…Ky offered to help me.  Wow!  I was stunned.  I never expected that.

And just because I needed to know… who was Ky, this man I was willing to send Paypal money to unmet and sight unseen?

Ky White has a BS degree in Weapons Systems Engineering from the US Military Academy and an MA in History from Sam Houston State University. He has always found tales of family history, medieval history, and knights in shining armor to be irresistible.  Ok, so far we have a lot in common…well at least that medieval knight part.

Ky has been compiling names, dates, and places, with documentation, for his entire adult life.  Ky has gateway ancestors for 3 of his 4 grandparents.  That certainly explains his intense interest as well.

About two years ago Ky started posting a daily diary of events that happened in medieval times in several FaceBook groups. One thing led to another, and Ky has recently co-authored a book with Chuck Poley (founder of the Magna Carta Facebook group) on the Magna Carta barons and did the original research linking all the Magna Carta Barons (or their wives) to Charlemagne. That book is not quite ready for publication, but is titled “Descendants & Ancestors of King John, his Supporters, & the Magna Carta Barons through the lines of Charlemagne & William The Conqueror.”  Note to self – buy that book when it’s ready.

For the book, Ky created charts showing inter-connected family trees of the barons. Several people wanted to purchase those charts and an internet business was born.

Ky has a website,, where you can view his incredible work.

Ky already has two books to his credit with the third Magna Carta book being finalized for print.  Ky is currently writing a fourth book on the Crusades and the Crusaders featuring short biographical sketches on about 500 noteworthy Crusaders.  Note to self, buy this book too.

Needless to say, Ky has people waiting for his services, so, I got in line.  When it was my turn, I sent Ky my GEDCOM file, telling him who my gateway ancestor was.  Ky, in turn, did his magic, connecting my gateway ancestor with his data base that includes more than 27,000 royally connected people and over 1000 coats of arms, representing more than 40 years of work.

Guess what.  Ky and his wife are both my distant cousins!!!  How about this for a novel way to meet new cousins.

shield 1Ky also connected me with Nick Buckingham, who created my shield for me.  Now, you know “the rest of the story,” why I wanted my shield.

So, Ky was really my gateway to winning the ancestor lottery.  He showed me people I descend from and connect to.  I would never have had any idea otherwise.  I am descended from a fine mix of Saints and Sinners!

Like, for example, Lady Godiva and El Cid.

Lady Godiva statue

I visited this statue of Lady Godiva’s in Coventry, England two years, ago, entirely unsuspecting that she is my ancestor.  In fact, my husband took one look at that statue and announced that I am surely, surely descended from her.  I laughed at the time, because it was just an incredulously ridiculous thing to say.  I know he was kidding because of her obvious propensity to not behave, but it was uncannily prophetic.

I’m so proud of Lady Godiva, riding nude like that to oppose taxes.  She was an innovative woman, that’s for sure.  I don’t know if the taxes were reduced or not, but it certainly called attention to the issue and her ride has become her legacy.  Indeed, well behaved women seldom make history! That’s my motto anyway.  In fact, here I am, at right below, wearing my favorite t-shirt, with one of my favorite fellow non-well-behaved-women, Anne Poole, on an archaeology dig, carrying on the family tradition.

well behaved women dig

I bet I carry some of Lady Godiva’s genes someplace!  Well, I haven’t ridden through town nude, at least not yet…but then again, I’m not dead yet either!  Besides…that nude ride thing has already been done – I’ll have to think of something else innovative.  Hey, maybe I’ll push the envelope of genetics research…how about that???

I descend from 15 Magna Carta Barons and Sureties, about 20 Crusaders and 3 Saints. Yes, seriously.  I know, those Saints are probably rolling over in their graves, but I’m guessing it’s probably not the first time, especially if they knew about Lady Godiva’s ride.

I have to wonder – how many of those Kings carry the warrior gene?  Did it help them?  It surely would be interesting to do a study.  Maybe as full genome sequencing becomes more common, their actual genes will one day be sequenced from their remains.  Did I inherit this gene from this line?  Do I carry part of King John’s or Lady Godiva’s DNA in me today?  Maybe one day I’ll be able to know.

I was dumbstruck, flabbergasted, speechless when I saw who I descend from.  Absolutely giddy.  I have struck the ancestor mother-lode.

I am extremely excited for my ancestors to have played such a pivotal part at many critical junctures of both European and colonial American history – good or bad – and because they were famous, or infamous, I know who they are what they were doing.  It’s recorded in the annals of history.   My lucky day, indeed!!!

But wait, that’s not all.  Ky can’t possibly fit everyone on the chart, so he also offers a pedigree service.  You provide him with the name of your gateway ancestor, and he will send you a detailed pedigree for 6-12 generations back in time from that gateway ancestor.  I think this is the best value on the market today.  My pedigree document in 40 pages in length.  The great thing about these people is that if you google any one of them, there are wiki and other articles and documentation about them with photos, graphics, pictures of medieval documents and locations.

Yes, I should have been at Runnymede this week.  British history has suddenly become incredibly fascinating.  And those people wearing those funny hats…they are all my cousins, although I doubt they’ll be claiming me anytime soon or inviting me to high tea at the palace.

I’m thinking Queen Elizabeth probably doesn’t care that I’m her cousin 27 different ways to Sunday.  Maybe if I bought a hat or a “fascinator” it would improve my odds.

Now, I’ll just let you peruse and enjoy the chart that Ky made, just for me, including my Mayflower ancestors as well.  This heirloom chart just arrived from the printers and will be framed and on my wall shortly.  Something lovely to enjoy in my lifetime and pass on to my children, along with the rich history and heritage it represents.

Estes chart final

Thank you, thank you, Ky!!!  I can’t thank Ky enough.

I feel like one of those lucky celebrities on “Who Do You Think You Are” who just received their pedigree scroll and it unrolled all the way down the hallway!  I’ve always looked at those scenes with green-eyed envy…but now…thanks to Ky…it’s unexpectedly my turn!  What an incredible gift.

If you have a gateway ancestor, it can be your turn too.



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research

96 thoughts on “The Kings and I

  1. Proper behavior will never be found in my DNA; if I didn’t do it, I was thinking about it or on the planning committee. As for Saints & Sinners …. have known a few Saints – obviously not members of my tribe (you don’t get excommunicated X 2 for failure to make it to Friday Confession). Sinners … yeah, that’s my tribe .. besides they are having more fun and making waves. Haven’t gotten to England yet … still using backhoe between Colonial New England and Pennsylvania … but having a lovely time.

    Love your posts Roberta …. don’t always comprehend on 1st read … but that’s why we have “Save”!

    Thank you … and .. YES, I can see the resemblance!

    Key West

  2. This is really cool especially since I know that I share the same gateway ancestor with you through Agnes Muncy which is news to me. How do you determine if an ancestor is a gateway ancestor?

  3. Stephen Hopkins is mine, too. Your chart is too little to read comfortably but I could make that out. I’m going to make a side trip to Ky’s site.

        • Oh Mr. White
          I just saw your message.. I am so so sorry. I have been trying to path a link to Charlemagne.
          I at one time I had saw a path from myself to Queen Elizabeth II (Born: ‎21 April 1926).
          I had also seen an article that she is related to Charlemagne, ergo I am..
          However I am having trouble with it..
          In response to why I originally contact you I think it was somewhere in the ballpark of “I think we are related so??)

          You can email me at regarding this, I might see it quicker. Please put ” family?? ” in the Subject so I might spot it easier..

          Thank you
          Toni Moore

  4. What you relate reminds me of the feeling I had when I found my gateway person back to the Mayflower. Mayflower descendants are so well documented I was able to link to a bunch of well known, distant (~11th) cousins. Where we differ is I am pretty sure the folks in your tree are mostly well documented. Mine are more like highly probable outside of my direct lines.

  5. Roberta, I just love, love, love reading your posts! I’ve only recently began my journey in finding my ancestrial origins and your posts have helped me tremendously. Although my “roadblocks” are plenty, the selfless sharing of your knowledge is INVALUABLE!!! I look forward to your insight, tips, tricks and wit! 😉

  6. Great blog! Just noting that the website link only lists about 42 gateway ancestors. I’m sure there are other sources as well, but I had thought one of the more definitive ones was supposed to be Gary Boyd Roberts’ ROYAL DESCENTS OF 600 IMMIGRANTS. I think with revisions it’s closer to about 700 gateway ancestors now. Lots more possibilities!

  7. Oh dear, another rabbit hole to drop down into!! And I was going to do some work on other non-English lines altogether, Roberta! I laughed out loud about how giddy you seemed about this incredible connection, and resource. I’ll be checking my own early NE ancestors, several of whom probably fit in here somewhere… Love your posts.

  8. I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT!! We ARE kin!! LMAO I spent my week after ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ this year in Coventry so I could explore the history of my ancestors Earl Leofric of Mercia and his wife Countess Godgifu!! So, where’s our shared DNA cuz?!?! 🙂

        • Greetings from Germany Zephyr, my mother T714363 matches your Dad’s kit with 7.9 CM over 1 segment with abt 673 SNP’s ! not so bad isn’t it ? ooking forward to reading from you

          • Karl, I was playing with kit numbers, and I matched your mother’s kit. My family is about half German descent. This is an old comment, so not sure you will see this. My number: ED5547820

          • Hi Jessica, when I enter your gedmatch ID and my mothers I can’t see any match only with your fathers on chromo 22. Do you have a visible familytree on Ancestry, MyHeritage, Geneanet or FTDNA ?

      • Yep, oh well….guess what?! Turns out Ky and I are practically neighbors–I’m going to see a ‘live chart’ this evening–you’ve got me burning to have one too! 😀

      • Hello Roberta and Zephyr,

        I compared my kit to yours and I am related to you both. By as much as 4.0 cm. Would you like my kit #? Thank-you!

  9. Well, now you did it: we’re cousins 🙂 My mom descends from a bastard of the Dukes of Brabant, who descend from Eleanor of Aquitaine (King John’s mom) through her daughter Marie with her first husband Louis of France. Funny to read this while doing research in Leeuwarden for you 🙂

    Your distant cousin,

    • You know, it’s funny – I thought about you when I was writing this and wondered if it was somehow our “missing link.” I love and miss Leeuwarden:) Your research adventures are always SOOOO interesting.

      • Statistically, we probably have many shared ancestors in the 12th century. I love Eleanor of Aquitaine though. I first read about her when I was ten years old and felt an instant connection. When I started doing genealogy, I joked that one day I would find out how I descended from her. And then I did… That was an amazing moment.
        That was years after I traced my husband’s descent to her, on the *second day* of researching his mother’s tree. He just laughed at my frustration and used to tease me that he descended from Eleanor and I didn’t. But now we both do. So he’s your distant cousin to. And mine (oops).

  10. Roberta Good for you!
    I’m in the process of searching for my Plantagenet ancestors too. is waiting for me to give them the last King my line would be connected to so we can begin an ancestral chart. Two other cousins have offered their info, but I want my own research due to “there is a lot of misinformation and wishful thinking out there, believe me.”

  11. Ah dear cousin! Kin descendant of Charlemagne…
    In fact, a closer look and I could go down four generations to Heribert I, as a common ancestor, but wait, much closer, I see we also share Louis VII (m Adele de Blois de Champagne 1160) and his son Philippe II, Auguste, kings of France.
    Where do I get this? From a site looking at the descendants of Catherine de Baillon, a King’s daughter of noble ancestry who married Jacques Miville dit Deschênes in 1669 in Quebec :
    I share this privilege with probably 100,000 people living in North America today. Many of my DNA cousins have Miville amongst their stated surnames. This is based on the fact that in 1800, Pierre Miville (Jacques’ father) had 5662 married descendants ( By the way this site is a great resource for anyone who had French Canadian ancestry- database of all inhabitants of Quebec before 1800.

  12. What about non-Mayflower or non-Colonial ancestors? I have one line from an early 20th century immigrant that zigzags back to a noble family in Malta (which previously came from parts of what is now Italy, including Kingdom of Sicily). Any way to see if that line has a European gateway ancestor that goes back to Charlemagne, or whoever?

    Even if you have no ideas for me, this is great news for you. Congratulations. The chart is fabulous.

      • Malta and Sicily almost certainly reach back to the Normans who conquered Sicily which at that time consisted of the island and the bottom half of the Italian boot.

        This goes directly back to the Vikings who conquered Normandy.

        An excerpt from my forthcoming book on Crusades and Crusaders:
        “Antioch, One of the Crusader States—Ruled by the Warrior Princes
        Bohemond I, of Taranto, Prince of Antioch, was born about 1058 in Italy. Like his father, Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, he was a Norman warlord. His mother was Alberada or Alberade. Some speculate she was the daughter of Renaud I Count of Burgundy. This is not certain however. Shortly after Bohemond was born his parents were forced to divorce on grounds of consanguinity. Given the dearth of official, contemporary records we cannot say how they were related unless Alberada was the daughter of Renaud I. Robert Guiscard’s maternal grandfather was Richard I “the Fearless,” Duke of Normandy. Alberada’s maternal grandfather would then be Richard II, “the Good,” Duke of Normandy who was the son of Richard I. This would make Bohemond’s parents first cousins, once removed which would have caused the church to refuse to sanction the marriage.

        He was a giant of a man. He inherited Robert’s large size and height. He was christened “Mark” at his baptism, but his father nicknamed him “Bohemond” after the legendary giant Buamundus gigas. He became embroiled with his father’s wars of expansion against the Byzantine Empire. When Alexios I Komnenos came to the throne in 1081 he arrested the Byzantine decline and fought the Normans to a standstill. Anna, the emperor’s daughter, described him thus:

        Bohemond was such as, to put it briefly, had never before been seen in the land of the Greeks, be he either of the barbarians or of the Greeks (for he was a marvel for the eyes to behold, and his reputation was terrifying). Let me describe the barbarian’s appearance more particularly — he was so tall in stature that he overtopped the tallest by nearly one cubit, narrow in the waist and loins, with broad shoulders and a deep chest and powerful arms. And in the whole build of the body he was neither too slender nor overweighted with flesh, but perfectly proportioned and, one might say, built in conformity with the canon of Polycleitus… His skin all over his body was very white, and in his face the white was tempered with red. His hair was yellowish, but did not hang down to his waist like that of the other barbarians; for the man was not inordinately vain of his hair, but had it cut short to the ears. Whether his beard was reddish, or any other color I cannot say, for the razor had passed over it very closely and left a surface smoother than chalk… His blue eyes indicated both a high spirit and dignity; and his nose and nostrils breathed in the air freely; his chest corresponded to his nostrils and by his nostrils…the breadth of his chest. For by his nostrils nature had given free passage for the high spirit which bubbled up from his heart. A certain charm hung about this man but was partly marred by a general air of the horrible… He was so made in mind and body that both courage and passion reared their crests within him and both inclined to war. His wit was manifold and crafty and able to find a way of escape in every emergency. In conversation he was well informed, and the answers he gave were quite irrefutable. This man who was of such a size and such a character was inferior to the Emperor alone in fortune and eloquence and in other gifts of nature.

        His father gave him command of the campaign against Byzantine Illyria in 1081. He captured Valona; was defeated in a naval battle by the Venetians allied with Byzantium, but then laid siege to Durazzo. During his father’s temporary absence attacking Rome, Bohemond lost most of the conquered territory. On the death of his father, he fought his half-brother Roger, whom his father had designated sole heir in Apulia. Moving southwards from his castle at Tarento, he captured Oria and Otranto, and was able to force peace in return for the grant, not only of Oria and Otranto, but also of Gallipoli, Tarento and Brindisi together with the region between Conversano and Brindisi, with the title Prince of Tarento. In 1090 he annexed Bari.

        As one of the leaders of the First Crusade, Bohemond swore allegiance to Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium in April 1097, agreeing that the emperor should become overlord of any new principalities founded by the crusaders and that any land captured which had previously belonged to the empire should be handed back to Byzantium. He played a decisive role in the capture of Antioch on 28 June 1098 after a siege lasting eight months. The leaders of the crusade disagreed about which of them should control Antioch. After Raymond ‘de Saint-Gilles’, Count of Toulouse, finally marched south in January 1099 to continue the crusade, Bohemond remained in possession of Antioch.

        He declared himself Bohemond I, Prince of Antioch in defiance of his oath of allegiance to the emperor. He was confirmed as Prince of Antioch in Jerusalem at Christmas 1099 by Daibert, the newly elected patriarch of Jerusalem, although with doubtful authority as John of Oxeia had been appointed patriarch of Antioch. He enlarged his principality by taking Edessa. He was captured by the Danishmend emir Malik Ghazi in 1100 while defending his new acquisition against the Turks. He negotiated his release in 1103 for a payment of a ransom of 100,000 Besants, and returned to Antioch where he resumed his position in place of his nephew, Tancred of Hauteville, who had been installed as regent in his absence. Together with Joscelin de Courtenay, he captured Muslimiye in the summer of 1103 and Basarfut in March 1104, both in the territory of Aleppo. In the summer of 1104 the Byzantines recaptured Tarsus, Adana and Mamistra.

        Faced with these attacks from both the Turks and Byzantium, both of whose interests were threatened by the establishment of the new principality of Antioch on their borders, Bohemond once again appointed his nephew Tancred as regent in Antioch and returned to Europe in 1104 for reinforcements, with a view particularly to attacking Alexios I, emperor of Byzantium.

        In September of 1105 he went to Rome to interview the pope and then in 1106 he journeyed through France to enlist recruits for the crusades. On 26 May 1106 at Chartres he married Constance de France, daughter of Philippe I, King of France, and Bertha of Holland. Bohemond and Constance had two sons, Bohemond, who would succeed his father in 1126, marry and have progeny, and Jean. He was so popular that King Henry I refused to let him enter England to preach Crusade there.

        With some English troops to go with his French and Papal support, Bohemond marched on Byzantium, but was defeated at Avlona near Durazzo in October 1107. Anxious for peace, Emperor Alexios confirmed him as prince of Antioch, but obliged him to accept Byzantine suzerainty in the Treaty of Devol of 1108. Bohemond lived the rest of his life in Apulia, and died at Bari in 1111. His son, Bohemond II succeeded him but was only a child at the time of his father’s death. Bohemond I’s nephew, Tancred of Hauteville, was Regent for Bohemond’s son.

        Named for a giant, he fought against gigantic odds but succeeded in establishing a principality and a dynasty that lasted longer than the Norman dynasties of Sicily and England.

        Bohemond II, Prince of Antioch, was born in 1107 and was the son of Bohemond I and Constance, Princess of France. His maternal grandfather was King Philippe I of France. He was a descendant of the Dukes of Normandy and the Counts of Holland as well. Four generations of his ancestry is below.
        Bohemond II sailed for the Holy Land in September 1126 when he was 19 years of age. The next month he was invested as Prince of Antioch by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem. Shortly thereafter he married Baldwin’s daughter, Alix or Alice of Jerusalem. William of Tyre described him as “rather tall and of fine figure. He had blond hair and well-made features. His whole bearing plainly showed the prince to those who did not know him. His conversation was agreeable and easily won the favor of those who listened to him. He was of a generous nature and, like his father, truly magnificent.”

        He ruled for three and a half years and came into conflict with Joscelin I de Courtenay, Count of Edessa. In 1130 he attacked north to recover territory lost to the kingdom of Armenia. They were allied with the Danishmend Moors. In February his army was ambushed and Bohemond was killed. His blond head was embalmed and sent as a gift to the caliph.

        He was the father of one daughter by his wife, Alix of Jerusalem. Her name was Constance of Antioch. Alix became regent for her toddler during the years of her minority.

        Constance, Princess of Antioch, was born in 1127 and succeeded her father at the age of three when he was killed in battle. Being so young the principality was run by regents until she reached her majority. The regents were successively, her mother, her mother’s father, Baldwin II the King of Jerusalem and his successor, Fulk V d’Anjou, King of Jerusalem. Her right to the principality of Antioch was challenged by her cousin, Roger II, King of Sicily.

        In 1136, at the age of nine, she was married to Raymond of Poitou [See POITOU], son of William IX, Duke of Aquitaine [See AQUITAINE] and Count of Poitou, and his mistress Dangerose de L’Isle-Bouchard. She and Raymond had five children, of whom two, Bohemond III and Maria (who was later murdered) had progeny. After thirteen years of marriage Raymond was killed in battle attempting to win back one of his castles, from the Muslim leader Nur ad-Din (son of Imad ad-Din Zengi) on 27 Jun 1149. She was left a widow at twenty-two.

        Four years later, in 1153, she married Reynald de Châtillon. She had a further two children with Reynald. These daughters, Agnes and Alisia, both had progeny. Reynald de Châtillon would become Prince of Antioch, jure uxoris in right of his wife. Seven years into their marriage Reynald was taken prisoner where he languished for seventeen years. (See CHȂTILLON] During the time that Reynald was in prison, power returned to Constance. However, when her son Bohemond III was of age, she did not want to relinquish her power. Their supporters almost came to blows before Constance relinquished and her son by her first husband was installed as Bohemond III, Prince of Antioch. Her exact date of death is unknown, but from the records it was some time before 1167.”

  13. Congratulations on your discoveries and your Ky chart, they are amazing presentations. Interesting how you were able to make the jump back and your brilliant diagnosis of the relationships, once you are there. I am on Ky’s waiting list, if I don’t get tossed for political differences. If you begin to apply the awesome abilities you show in your genetic work to filling in your medieval ancestry, I expect you will need to visit Ky again.

  14. Roberta:
    I am also a GEDmatch afficionado, so I could not resist to see if these distant relationships would amount to anything. Most of the time, I find that the 5 cM threshold collapses at about 9-10 generations, even in the endogamous population I belong to.
    So we are working on 25 generations! Can we still see commonality?

    Roberta and me – 25 documented generations to Philippe II (for me the first 10 generations twice, since Catherine de Baillon is my ancestor through two of her sons – one line through my mother, the other through my father)
    To get anything I had to drop to 300 SNP and 3cM…

    Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 300 SNPs
    Mismatch-bunching Limit = 150 SNPs
    Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 3.0 cM

    Chr_ Start __Location __End Location __Centimorgans (cM) __SNPs
    4 _170598726__175074462__4.1 __314
    9 _85210952 __88175554 __3.7 __367
    10_ 60338567 __63567458 __3.2 __343
    Largest segment = 4.9 cM
    Total of segments > 3 cM = 15.8 cM

    Are these due to these common ancestors? Who knows – can all be IBS or indentical by chance as I like to call it.

    For fun I decided to try the other two – here, I do not know the closest match.

    With Zephyr’s dad :
    (same settings)
    Chr _Start Location __End Location __Centimorgans (cM) __SNPs
    2 _71791696 __74819098 __4.1 __387
    2 _134550341 __138539910 __3.1 __692
    2 _227738606 __229689857 __3.2 __409
    2 _237878937 __239713848 __4.7 __419
    4 _84246015 __86841367 __3.1 __350
    9 _89848569 __92609833 __5.4 __535
    16 _53776363 __55578934 __3.3 __484
    20 _8574903 __ 9993078 __ 4.1 __384
    20 _42475005 __44695165 __3.1 __463
    Largest segment = 5.4 cM
    Total of segments > 3 cM = 34.1 cM

    and Zephyr:
    (same settings)
    Chr _Start Location __End Location __Centimorgans (cM) __SNPs
    1 _145183141 __151147296 ___3.9 __527
    2 _227303477 __229605276 ___3.8 __460
    2 _237795103 __239542675 __4.2 __405
    3 _14224536 __16195356 ___3.1 __474
    6 _39910844 __41678328 __3.7 __392
    9 _90460985 __92609833 __4.4 __456
    12 _12140491 __14368454 __5.6 __561
    13 _24616538 __26386025 __4.5 __383
    13 _112030196 __114108295 __4.2 __399
    16 _76837677 __77642211 __ 3.6 __323
    Largest segment = 5.6 cM
    Total of segments > 3 cM = 41.0 cM

    So it would “look” as if I am more related to Zephyr, than Zephyr’s father… There are only 3 segments in common between them – two on chromosome 2 and one on chromosome 9.

    So blue blood is pretty thinned out…

    • The chr 2 and 9 look to could be something there on this one! The rest is likely IBS or on mom’s side. (She’s M132648, if you’d like to play with that) hmmm..

      • Of course I will look, but first I wonder where we are related. Only at Charlemagne? Where do you link up on Roberta’s chart? Since my ancestry is almost purely French in North America going back to the 1600’s, this can be a good test as we are not likely to have other lines. Unless you have a French Canadian tucked in your tree somewhere…

      • So here we go :
        Comparing Kit M132648 (*A Lewis) and *slesage52

        Minimum threshold size to be included in total = 300 SNPs
        Mismatch-bunching Limit = 150 SNPs
        Minimum segment cM to be included in total = 3.0 cM

        Chr _Start Location __End Location __Centimorgans (cM) __SNPs
        3 _192,696,162 __194,959,757 __5.1 __353
        4 _169,800,024 __172,988,097 __3.4 __429
        6 _137,649,051 __138,981,368 __3.3 __318
        8 _11,684,343 __13,442,070 __4.6 __334
        9 _86,772,647 __88,662,738 __3.5 __354
        10 _58,982,339 __61,959,806 __3.0 __543
        11 _27,217,382 __32,009,995 __3.2 __573
        11 _34,539,911 __36,112,700 __3.1 __444
        13 _24,686,586 __26,386,025 __4.3 __362
        14 _89,919,982 __91,823,611 __3.4 __386
        18 _63,260,809 __65,051,399 __3.5 __482
        20 _41,630,239 __43,315,923 __3.3 __369
        Largest segment = 5.1 cM
        Total of segments > 3 cM = 43.6 cM

        So… a 5.1cM segment but only 353 SNPs on 3. You seem to only have the short segment on 13 in common.

        While I was at it, I decided to compare my mother’s…

        My mother and Zephyr’s father
        Chr__ Start Location__ End Location__ Centimorgans (cM)__ SNPs
        2 _71,593,242 __74,704,651 __4.2 __426
        2 _134,630,424 __138,729,618 __3.2 __685
        2 _238,294,688 __240,023,401 __5.5 __378
        3 _115,341,863 __117,679,148 __3.2 __376
        13 _24,545,331 __26,187,832 __4.2 __326
        13 _77,718,283 __80,950,581 __3.2 __517
        17 _11,124,791 __12,475,200 __3.6 __308
        Largest segment = 5.5 cM
        Total of segments > 3 cM = 27.0 cM

        My mother and Zephyr’s mother
        Comparing Kit M132648 (*A Lewis) and LH

        Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
        1 _201,751,765 __203,724,189 __3.0 __425
        1 _243,966,662 __245,591,062 __3.2 __320
        2 _85,823,031 __97,793,814 __3.4 __441
        2 _195,268,242 __200,571,594 __4.1 __628
        3 _192,063,855 __194,079,059 __4.4 __370
        6 _33,586,740 __36,763,423 __3.0 __587
        7 _67,737,187 __70,745,160 __3.3 __466
        8 _17,208,445 __18,941,936 __3.7 __714
        8 _140,358,168 __141,729,952 __3.1 __359
        10 _80,561,637 __83,332,157 __3.3 __445
        13 _107,951,604 __109,229,892 __3.6 __365
        20 _4,603,760 __5,612,999 __4.6 __302
        20 _50,228,426 __51,847,141 __3.3 __362

        Largest segment = 4.6 cM
        Total of segments > 3 cM = 45.9 cM

        And the grand finale, my mother and Roberta…
        Comparing Kit F6656 (Roberta Jean Estes) and LH

        Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
        2_ 85,324,970 __98,630,649 __4.2 __396
        8 _26,780,243 __28,668,643 __3.3 __311
        Largest segment = 4.2 cM
        Total of segments > 3 cM = 7.5 cM

        and worse (or better) with my sons (twins)
        Comparing Kit F6656 (Roberta Jean Estes) and François et Bruno

        Chr _Start Location __End Location __Centimorgans (cM) __SNPs
        1 _54,092,971 __56,193,115 __3.2 __333
        5 _95,996,726 __101,356,883 __3.4 __342
        12 _70,948,545 __75,838,185 __3.4 __373
        Largest segment = 3.4 cM
        Total of segments > 3 cM = 10.0 cM
        None of my matches with Roberta come from my mother (which is possible), and I seemingly have passed none to my sons…

        In conclusion, this is a good example of the limitation of autosomal DNA in tracing distant relationships. It looks as if all of these are IBS… Is there a significance in the number of these short segments? Those who look at ancient DNA seem to infer there is a possibility there.

        I looked at chromosome painting – all these areas are very red (North Atlantic), with a dash of Mediterranean green, showing common ethnicity.

        Any inkling Roberta?

  15. Greetings, fellow royalty

    Yeah, I had found that my ancestor Captain Charles Barham was a reference for admission to the Charlemagne Society and therefor, I knew right away that I was related to Charlemagne ( He had children through 20 women, ( at least). My best “gateway” ancestor was Barham which married into the Argalls, Scotts, Filmers, Throckmortons and on and on.. Another good “gateway” was Christopher Branch b. 1602 (Virginia planter) who takes me back to Rollo and William the Conqueror. My other ancestors which I found using trees (mainly) were Somerled,Lord of the Isles, the Scottish Bruce, and Stewart, David I, and Duncan Bighead of Scotland, Hereward the Wake, his mother Lady Godiva descended from Alfred the Great (whose mother was a Gothic princess (Jute). My favorite is Siward The Strong, Earl of Northumbria under Canute the Great, who had a part in the Macbeth drama, later written by Shakespeare…..

    Did I mention that I am descended from Ragnar Lodbrok?????


    Steve in Oro Valley

  16. Hi Roberta,
    I’ve been reading your posts on and off for several years and several weeks ago I found out we are cousins through Rev. George McNiel. I was so excited to read your WONDERFUL piece on him that I signed up for your posts. Just read about your “Royal” discoveries and can totally relate to your excitement. A little over a year ago I decided to do some “real digging” and found my “mother load” through several English ancestors (Marriott and Warrens of VA) who came to America in the 17th century. Once you hit the gateway you can plug into ALL kinds of English history that is documented to the hilt. Those Brits love to write books on their ancestry and run it back to the Normans and the Domesday Book and of course the further you go back the more lines you uncover. By the way a note to all those who live above the Mason-Dixon line; I am a Southerner through and through and I NEVER found 1st cousins marrying each other until I went back to Medieval England. I too have a a Magna Carta ancestor and can’t wait to investigate Ky’s “treasure trove”. I’m sure I’ll find we are cousins on several lines.

    Thanks so much for all the interesting and entertaining posts. By the way I loved reading about our cousin Lois McNiel. Keep up the fantastic work and take care.

    Melanie Cagle

  17. This is all so fascinating! I used to think that I was descended from all of these barons, dukes, crusaders and kings, saints and sinners, until FTDNA informed me that I do not descend from the Rogers line that goes straight back, by way of John Rogers, the first of the Protestant clergy to be burned at the stake by “Bloody Mary,” to king Roger of Sicily, and the wife who descended from the Prophet Mohammad. It rather looks like my Rogers are from “one of three brothers who came over from Ireland” in the 17th Century. How often do we hear that? Someone has assigned me some putative ancestors that go back to King John, but I don’t see any documentation, so am not ready to accept it as fact.
    But it piqued my interest in Medieval history, and I assembled quite a library. I learned that Hereward the Wake was an outlaw, & he gave his sword the name of “Brain Biter!”
    Also of interest was Vladimir of Kiev, a relative of Rollo the Viking. He supposedly had something like 300 wives and 900 concubines, which earned him the nickname of “Fornicator Immensus.” He became a Christian, (eventually a saint) under the influence of his mother Saint Olga, gave up most of his wives & all of his concubines, and subsequently “converted” his subjects from their Old Religion at sword-point. But we can only imagine how many children he had.
    Interesting folks, our ancestors!
    I just wish I could knock down some brick walls. I’m thinking that my Alden, Hackett, Lippincott, or Eldridge ancestors might connect with the Mayflower. My Rogers do not, but we were told as children that our ancestors came over on the Mayflower. I might not have much time left to figure this all out, and can no longer travel, so I guess it will be up to my kids to unravel the mysteries.

  18. Congratulations – great news!
    That is one sort of gateway, and the most productive. Nobles always had the best documentation. But there is another sort of gateway – Visitations of Heralds. Some people were using coats of arms they were not entitled to, or claiming descent that was fictional. The Visitation accounts show at least some descent for those who passed, and a list of shame for those that did not. They took a couple of my lines back 500 years from 1620, fusing partway back. The excitement for me was the continuous association with the area. And with changing from male to female line for continuation, quite a few manors in the area were involved. All were centred on a hill named for the sea eagle (cousin of the bald eagle), and I see our local sea eagles from time to time.
    It’s a humbler gateway, for certain, but a fresh and interesting path for me. It has moved my search from genealogy to place, two elements that you have combined so wonderfully in your 52 ancestors.

  19. Roberta, although my largest segment sharing with you is 4.5 cMs, I do share 10.2 cMs with your Charlene. How are you related to her?

    Also, a handy reference in paperback for all things Royal is: Britain’s Royal Families – A complete Genealogy – by Alison Weir

  20. Roberta,

    Thanks again for a great article and introduction to Ky’s chart products. It looks great.

    I feel compelled to present a word of caution to many out there searching for royal lineages to connect to. At least three of the royal lineages of the “gateway” ancestors in the link have been disproven. Using Gary Boyd’s Roberts’ books is a good place to start, but even those aren’t completely foolproof.

  21. Discovering a gateway ancestor (and confirming it) is really a great moment for those interested in genealogy 🙂 To discover exactly how you are connected to such a wide variety of important historical figures.

    My gateway ancestor is William Farrar of Jamestown Virginia.

    Unfortunately as you mention there is a lot of wishful thinking, even getting to a gateway ancestor I’ve disproven too many connections in trees to count.

    Two amazing resources are:

    1) This google group!forum/soc.genealogy.medieval

    Some of the biggest medieval genealogy book authors commonly post here, such as Douglas Richardson, a great place to ask questions or just follow and read, they are constantly making new discoveries or disproving existing ones


    The database Leo has created here is *immense* and he as amazingly helpful person. If you ask nicely he’ll generate a list of interesting ancestors for your gateway ancestor or even give you a text file dump of their entire ancestry (so you can search that one file for any names you may suspect might be ancestors).

    He’s a very active member of the #1 google group and it’s the closest thing to a representation of the genealogies discovered by the variety of researchers on there.

    Best of all both of those resources are completely free, just a lot of great people who hold their genealogy work to an amazing level of scrutiny.

    • Nice to meet you, cousin! My family connects with John Barnett/Katherine Farrar in that line. The interesting thing is that Cecily Reynolds is our double grandmother! She ended up marrying William Farrar that took us down our father’s line, and she also married Thomas Bailey that took us down our mother’s line. Sadly, our father passed away three years ago, but our mother sure got a kick out of learning about this connection with our dad! 🙂

  22. Vicki Cooper (distant cousin) shared this with me. Fascinating. I am too related to Sarah and John Ludlow as well as Charles Dickens, all on my father’s side. Thanks for sharing.

  23. I’m glad you were excited to find your Royal lineage. When I finally found mine, I also found my husband’s & was blown away! I connected King Edward through my Vinson line, Queen Mary through my Collier line & Colonial settlers Love Brewster who married a John Collier who went back to the UK to pass away & brother of Pilgrim William Collier who helped write the Decleration of Independence but couldn’t sign it because he was busy setting up territories in America. I felt like he could be William the Conquerer but haven’t look into it & King James was connected on my husbands side. I am also related to Queen Elizabeth & family including the Middleton’s even before the Royal wedding. I found a lot of Family secrets & I’m grateful for the ability to live a normal unpublicized life. My visual research lead me to 7 A.D. without DNA research.

  24. I loved reading all your information. I am a Boone. Descendant from De Bohuns who came with William the Conqueror in 1066. My father was a Boone. We are direct ancestors of Henry V, Henry IV and on an on. I found on my mother’s side direct blood line of Robert the Bruce and even related to the De Bohuns (Boone). I had a gentleman contact me a while back and we turned out to be cousins on my father’s side, my grandmother’s side, my mother’s father’s side and her father’s side. I was amazed.

  25. Pingback: Lady Godiva (c1040-1066/1086), Gift of God, 52 Ancestors #93 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  26. What a hoot! And how fun! I’m really curious about the “warrior gene” for the Kings – have you heard of anyone doing such a study?

  27. I am so happy to find this chart! Reverend Nathaniel Brewster and Sarah Ludlow are my 10th great grandparents so I guess that would make us cousins.

  28. It looks like my family is distantly connected to you as well, Roberta. We have several royal lines that have been documented in a number of publications. My Gedmatch is A718390 and my brother’s kit is A184593. My sister and mother are on there as well, but it looks like me and my brother match you at two of the exact same areas of the 13th (4.5 cM 1,180 SNPs) and 14th (4.0 cM 596 SNPs) chromosome. There are a number of other small connections scattered throughout, including the 17th chromosome (4.4 cM 742 SNPs) and 2nd chromosome (4.0cM 553 SNPs) where I match with you. Cool!

    -Mary Ann

    • Mary Ann. I’ve recently found out that I descend from Henry II of England and many other kings. I compared your kit and your brother’s with my father’s kit and it turns out that your brother and my father share 3.6 cM in 411 SNPs. Not much, I know, but still something. Our connection is well documented too. By the way, we are also connected to Roberta, whose post is fascinating!

    • Hi Mary Ann,
      Just wondering which royal lines you have and what publications? I match everyone else here but we have a closer match. Of 5.2cm and 7 matching segments. I am working on Howard lines in my tree and there appears to be Beaufort on one of my lines. Also Reade/Warner which appears to also be in Queen Elizabeth’s line. I am still trying to sort fact from fiction in my tree documentation.

    • Mary Ann, I just compared yours to my dad and you share

      Chr B37 Start Pos’n B37 End Pos’n Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
      19 50,153,332 53,162,971 10.9 261

      which Royals or surnames are you connected to? My dad is connected to Clan Donald, Clan Maitland for sure. There is talk that my mcconnell connection comes from princess margaret stewart


  29. Also, it looks like my family is distantly connected to Zephyr’s father as well. The 7th and 8th chromosomes are the most interesting. My kit (A718390) and my sister’s kit (A249992) match at pretty much the exact same area of his 7th chromosome at 5.4 cM & 711/712 SNPs. Also, my brother (A184593) and sister both match at the exact same area of his 8th chromosome at 5.1 cM & 557/551 SNPs.

    -Mary Ann

  30. I found a new site to look up my Acadian ancestors a few days ago and I have been quite busy looking up their extensive genealogy for my noble St-Castin d’Abbadie and St-Étienne de la Tour families.

    Then I had a flash, didn’t someone on the French Heritage DNA Project said the Mius d’Entremont were also descendants from Charlemagne? I looked them up and yes, they indeed are:

    It’s a bit long before you get any note worthy name, so let me get you one of the lines (I only tested a few lines, I leave you the rest of the fun)

    Philippe Muis d’Entremont père
    Béatrice de Coligny
    Gaspard II de Coligny
    Louise de Montmorency
    Anne Pot
    Marie de Villiers
    Jeanne de Clermont
    Guy de Clermont
    Marguerite de Coucy
    Raoul de Coucy
    Isabelle de Châtillon
    Marie de Bretagne
    Beatrice Plantagenet of England
    Henry III King of England

    I wasn’t sure if you knew about it, since there is no mention of the Mius line on your chart, so just in case you don’t know.

  31. My father has numerous lines going up to royalty and nobility throughout Europe back several centuries, which I can only think accounts for his 22% Southern Europe result. The first Spaniard found was Sancha de Ayala. Now Spanish and Italian kings, princesses, etc, are included. Other than them, there are NO other Spaniards or Hispanic people in my tree anywhere! Supposedly Family Finder involves just the last 5-6 generations preceding us, but for obvious reasons I have doubts about that.

    My results show 21% Southern Europe, and my mother’s paternal grandmother comes from another large quantity of Puritans. Mom & Dad share several sets of Puritan grandparents, including three sets of Mayflower couples.

    Talk about endogamous communities. Plymouth and other parts of New England are endogamous. European royalty back through the centuries are another endogamous community. I found repeated sets of several royal couples for parents, as I worked up new lines. And I’m nowhere near done yet.

    I recently read an article which stated that practically everyone in Europe and the United States descends from royalty by now. Not overly surprising, when you consider that about 10% of the U.S. population is a Mayflower descendant. That is much more recent than my Southern European ancestors, and especially Charlemagne, Alfred the Great, and such folks. Given the fact that I saw trees with Polish, Hispanic and other ethnic names lining up with mine as I worked on my Mayflower grandparents, it’s not too difficult to understand how that could be. My reasoning is if I come from these people, anyone can. Working on my tree, I found 3rd cousins who are Native American; they descend from these people too.

  32. I would think more than 10% of the US population has not only one Mayflower descendant, but several/many, as well as Gateway ancestors. And Revolutionary War Patriots; some of us have MANY.

  33. Keep in mind that the story of Lady Godiva is probably not true. It was written about 200 years after she lived. Scholars believe it is no doubt a fabricated story. Lady Godiva did exist but probably never actually rode naked on horseback as a protest against taxation. Still, it has taken on a life of its own and adds much to the story of Lady Godiva (Godgifu) born before 1066.

    Unfortunately, I don’t connect to any gateway ancestor listed officially in the books. I do have a number of English and Scottish ancestors from Colonial America who are landed gentry in Maryland and Virginia, but none of them are the documented gateways. It is my number one goal to find at least one such ancestor hopefully one day.

  34. Yes Roberta, I would love to find a gateway ancestor just to have Ky’s chart. What is odd is that Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry Vol. III, has my 9th great grandparents, Robert Clarke and Winifred Seybourne, but their parentage is unknown. It might be because Winifred Seybourne was married to Gov. Thomas Green who does have royal connections.

    I’m not holding out much hope though, I doubt the 500 plus official list of Gateways will be expanded upon, and unless new developments with DNA shed further light I don’t expect any new evidence will be found with documentation. I’ve been searching for 10 plus years with no luck.


  36. I also researched my ancestry through Ky White. Also, to my surprise i am also a decedent of King Edward. I would love to know how to research his ancestors.. i feel lost and I don’t know exactly where to turn for more research. I would greatly appreciate your help.

  37. Mary Ann, I just posted but it looks like it got deleted. Which Royal lines are you related to and which publications are they documented in? I am showing connections to everyone here but appears to be closer to yours. 5.2cm and one has over 5000 SNPs. I am working on my Howard lines and also have found some Beaufort and Reade/Warner. I’m trying to separate fact from fiction. Thanks!

  38. Well Cousin, Constance Hopkins and Nicholas Snow are my Mayflower links, and William Farrar links me back to you and Charlemane. I too have Surrieties through him, and through the de Clares, back to William the C and Edward 1.Pat Kelly

  39. Pingback: Blanche of Castile, Queen of France (1188-1252), An Astute Matriarch – 52 Ancestors #283 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

Leave a Reply