Monday, November 23, 2009

The Family Tree

Four of my ancestors (the Nevilles) have effigies at Staindrop Church, County Durham, UK.

Big thanks to my Dad for giving me access to all of his collected genealogical data on! I've always been fascinated with family history and I hope to do some work (detective work, that is) on Brad's side of the family for Halle. I don't know if I'll be able to get nearly as far as my Dad did for a branch of our family.

How far? 1520 BC far. No kidding. Those British nobles were sticklers for breeding!Countess Jane
Jane Neville, Countess of Westmorland

The most recent ancestor of mine to have an audience with the British court was Jane Neville, Countess of Westmorland. From Wikipedia: She was first to urge the rebels to rise up against Elizabeth I of England and yet she expected Elizabeth to pardon her when they failed. She hoped to arrange the marriage of her brother, Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, to Mary I of Scotland and put them both on England's throne. He was executed for treason in 1572 and she lived under house arrest for the rest of her life. Ouch!Ralph Neville & His Enormous Offspring

Her grandfather, Ralph Neville the 4th Earl of Westmorland, was a member of Henry VII's privy council and was one of the peers who tried Anne Boleyn. Tisk tisk! One website claims he had 18 children, another 23. His guardian as a teenager was future father-in-law, Edward Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, who supposedly plotted to overthrow Henry VIII and was executed. His residence was Thornbury Castle, which is now a luxury hotel with 26 rooms and a restaurant. Interestingly enough, an ancestor of the Duke of Buckingham was one of the family badasses, William the Conqueror, who seized the land on which the castle sits from the first husband of his wife, Matilda.Duke of Buckingham
Robert I

Then we have Robert I, who was called both "The Magnificent" and "Robert the Devil" and fathered William the Conqueror. It is suspected that Robert was poisoned. Robert I's Castle in Falaise
This masterpiece of medieval workmanship is a rare example of a castle that was not just designed to be a defensive position but was also designed to be a place to be lived in by a family.

Go back further and we have Conan I, Duke of Bretagne, Queen Gerberge von Saxony, King Heinrich I of the Germans, Queen Bertha de Toulouse of Italy, Charlemagne, CHARLEMAGNE, and even Alexander the Great. And before that? Royalty of extinct kingdoms, such as Acadia, Austrasia, Troy, Iceni, and Teucri to name a few.King Priam visits Achilles

I also found a website that listed some of our earliest ancestors, King Priam, and traced it up to Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah. I'm not nearly as likely to believe any old website, but it would be good to know! The Red Tent has been my favorite book for years.

Links of Interest:

Thornbury Castle
Rooting for Ancestors

Sir Henry Neville, one of our ancestors, is suspected by a few scholars to be the actual author of Shakespeare's work. I personally think it's bunk, but while researching the debate I saw that Sir Henry Neville was a distant relative of William Shakespeare!

ALSO! I was able to find TWO connections to the Tudors; one through the House of Wessex and one through the Beauchamp line, through Anne Boleyn's sister Mary Boleyn, sister-in-law and mistress of Henry VIII.

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