Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thoughts on Royal Ancestry

Charles II of Sicily & Maria of Hungary:
great-grandparents of Queen Philippa

"That nirvana of genealogical research, demonstrated descent from a royal family." -- Steve Olson

“Think not that the nobilitie of your ancestors doth free you to doe all that you list, contrariwise, may it bindeth you more to follow vertue.” -- Pierre Erondell

"Anyone who believes that they belong to one race, or that their ancestors were fine people, hasn't done enough genealogy." -- Mark Humphrys

"It is difficult to be involved in the genealogical community in any capacity without hearing distinguished ancestor stories. It seems that almost everyone has a distinguished, often royal, ancestor who is somehow rumored to be connected to a distant but often vague branch of the family. Countless hours of research are spent searching for these elusive connections often at the expense of more achievable goals. Even more distressing is the undeniable underworld of genealogy catering to this desire to be connected to "important" ancestors. Gustave Anjou, active in the first quarter of the 20th century, is known to have forged hundreds of distinguished pedigrees that are estimated to have tainted the lineages of over two thousand surnames. Anjou was just one of several known forgers and unfortunately the family pedigrees that these unscrupulous individuals created have become part of the vast collection of ancestral records so readily available on the Internet today. It is difficult to estimate the number of researchers that are being misled by these spurious ancestries. It is well established that hundreds of thousands of North Americans are genuinely descended from the royal families of Europe, but it is most important that these ancestral links be carefully established with primary source material from several sources if possible. This is the only way in which you can have confidence in your research and if this arduous path does indeed lead to distinguished ancestors then you can be well pleased with your efforts. And if it doesn't, then you can delight in those ancestors you have found and join the happy majority of researchers." -- Ron Wild, "10 Frequently Asked Questions at Family History Centers." Family History Chronicle, Nov/Dec. 2000.

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