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Royal ancestors, or good old common stock.


Staff member
Which would you rather have in your tree, some royals or good old hard working common ancestors?

I have a few ancestors who were vicars, and a few knights, landed gentry in the 1500s but no known royalty yet.
The "good old hard working common ancestors" are probably the ones who keep my interest in family history going. More so the convicts who stole to feed themselves and got sent out here and to be able to follow their trail and see them do ok for themselves. Well all except one poor fella, after he was "free" he stole a cow to feed his family and got caught and executed :eek:
Like Steve says Royals and gentry are easier because the paper trail is good.
I like the ones who are interesting from any walk of life like my 3x g grandfather the polygamist from Warwickshire being married to three women at once....that we know of. There is a marriage in Birmingham and one in London than could also be him, but I'm not sure there is enough information at the moment to attribute them to him, watch this space......

His ancestors may have also been landowners in Dorset and Wiltshire, I was told all Bucklers are related but to connect Wiltshire and Warwickshire together in the 17th century isn't easy.
I have to admit currently I keep plugging away looking for some more gentry in my ancestry. I do have a few ancestors who were gentry, such as the Borde family of Sussex who built Borde Hill manor House in the late 1500s and had land in Somerset. I think we all have gentry and royal ancestors, it is just a case of trying to find them.
I have a number of Mayors and Aldermen in my family tree. I traced one line back to Colchester. Rachel Buxton born 1610. Her father and grandfather were Aldermen and her maternal grandfather Robert Lambert was an Alderman. It says he originated from Walberswick, Suffolk, and was made a Free Burgess in 1542. He died in 1592. Walberswick is about 30 miles north of Colchester, and just below Southwold. Again, quelling that total myth that before the railways came along, people only moved 5 miles or so from their birthplace.
I have a 'crooked' relative an Edwin Murray who was part of the 'Great Turf Fraud' but try as I might I cannot get the real proof its him!
Almost 99% sure but still a bit of doubt - I know he wasnt 'straight' as he has 2 houses and 'wives' on the 1901 census.
I had quite a few 'Gentleman Farmers', there was one that must have been quite wealthy, as he left 4 of his daughters £14,000 each in Trust, plus the rental income from 8 cottages. 4 sons £14000 each, and the the ownership of those cottages, not to be sold without consent of the eldest 5th brother.
The 5th brother inherited Farms, land, pastures, woodlands and orchards in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. And all the rest of the properties his father owned. Plus £29,000 in trust, and a further £12,750 in cash. in 1702. That's a huge amount of money in those days.

By 1852 it had all pretty much vanished. My eldest Gt Gt Uncle sold up what was left and went off to Australia.

That's the problem when the wealth was split in such quantities to so many children. It dwindles faster than a drying up waterfall. A case of Primogeniture not gone far enough.

Because by the time my Gt Gt Grampy was born there was only 5 cottages left, but they belonged to my Gt Gt Uncle. By the time my Gramps was born there was nothing. So that's why I had to work for a living, and not become the 'the lord of the land'.:cry::cry::LOL::LOL:

If you find an ancestor was the child of a knight, mayor, alderman or vicar, that can be good but even knights could have come from humble beginnings and acquired their wealth and status. But the knight alone is easier to trace. I think we all have at least yeomen, clothiers and "gentlemen farmers" in our trees.
My immediate background is resolutely working class - farm labourers, factory workers, railway workers etc - and as a result, most branches die out in the 18th century simply because their lives weren't documented other than through the occasional or long-lost parish record of a baptism, marriage or burial.

However, when I was digging into my (Irish) father's line, I found out that his maternal grandmother - my great-grandmother - was descended through her great-great grandfather from an old Cornish family. In an online search, I turned up a couple of reference books which enabled me to trace this family's line back a long way including, in early 17th century, a marriage into the Grenville family. The latter were English aristocrats whose line is well documented, back to before the Norman Conquest.

As a result, my family tree is somewhat leggy, with a lot of lower foliage and one straggly branch going back over a thousand years!
This past week I came across Court Rolls for Chalfont St Mary Bucks and found an ancestor of mine Russell Farmer from Hillingdon, mentioned as an heir to a John Russell.
As his mother was a Martha Russell I'm assuming they were related, but if she is who I think she is, her brother John died young and she and her twin sister Mary were his heirs at the age of nine and their father was William.

I'm now on the search for this John Russell and how he was related :unsure:
The further you go back, the more likely you are to find wealthier ancestors, and ones who were aristocrats, lawyers, Mayors, etc, and royals.

A factory worker could have been one of several children born to a shop owner who was the son of a local merchant who was the son of a knight who was the son of a string of knights and dukes.
Well I have found a gateway ancestor, and I checked and checked the records to make sure, no harm in checking. Anne Raymond of Belchamp Walter, Essex, married Charles Dister. Anne's paternal gran was Judith Cockayne whose dad was Chadd Cockayne of Bedfordshire. Chad's ancestry includes some judges and barons. His great, great, great gran was Ida De Grey, of Ruthyn, Wales.

Ida's dad was Reynold de Grey whose maternal grandfather was John Hastings, first Baron Hastings, and his maternal line goes back to The Emerald Isle, Wexford/Waterford. So I do have a distant spot of Irish ancestry.
Still working on mine, but the name Hesketh appears on mine and Stanley I'm still checking mine, but it helps having DNA connections to others and pointing in the right direction. Just wish I could do the same with the Cliffords and Pagets :rolleyes::rolleyes:
Always wished for some Irish blood, no matter how distant. Also John Hastings has a spot of Slavic blood as his ancestor was King Vladimir of Kiev. I think it shows most Brits will have some distant Slavic ancestry. King Vlad must have millions of British descendants. His grandchild Maggie of Wessex wed Malcolm III.