Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is Robert Pattinson a cousin to Vlad III Dracula?

The newspapers and the Ancestry.co.uk blog have an enthusiastic report today that English entertainment star Robert Pattinson is a distant cousin to Vlad III Dracula - the Count Dracula of history and entertainment. The New York Daily News story is here. Is this claim true?

A screen shot of the Ancestry.co.uk blog page is shown below, and it includes a simple ancestry chart:


The chart shows Robert Pattinson descended (through an unknown number of generations) from the "Pickerings of York." The Princes William and Harry are also show descended from the "Pickerings of York." And then the Princes are also shown descending from the parents of Vlad III Dracula (through an unknown number of generations through King George VI).

There is only one thing wrong with this picture - remember the adage that "the cousin of my cousin may not be my cousin!" Just because Barack Obama is my cousin doesn't not mean that all of my cousins are also his cousins - only those that share my specific lineage back to a common ancestor are his cousins.

The common definition of a "cousin" is a person with a common ancestor to the subject.

If the information in the picture is correct, then Robert Pattinson is a distant cousin of the Princes. and the Princes are a distant cousin to Vlad III Dracula. But Robert Pattinson and Vlad II Dracula are not distant cousins because no common ancestor is shown on the chart.

If Ancestry.co.uk has more specific direct evidence with primary information from original sources concerning the ancestry of Robert Pattinson and Vlad III Dracula, then they should display it for the world of genealogy to see it. Until then, they should remove the claim.

For the genealogists of the world, a better ancestral chart showing all of the generations from the "Pickerings of York" to the Princes and from Vlad's parents to King George VI should also be shown so that the degree of cousinship with the Princes can be established. Proof of all of the relationships would be nice, too.
UPDATED: Nick Gombash, who writes Nick Gombash's Genealogy Blog, has more information about the Besarab family associated with Vlad III Dracula. Nick disputes the link between Vlad II and King George VI of England in his post, Robert Pattinson is related to Dracula?

6 comments:

Tamura Jones said...

Randy,

That both Robert Pattinson and Vlad the Impaler are related to British Royals still does not mean they are related to each other. Therefore, Ancestry's own press release makes their claim look like sensationalist nonsense…

I emailed Ancestry PR, and asked them to provide the genealogy to go with their claim. The drawing in their latest blog post does not come close to answering to that request.

I tweeted doubts about their claim yesterday already, yet a day later, I still haven't heard from Ancestry.

Seeing how much media has already stated that Pattinson is related to Dracula, I am sure glad to notice that you've joined me in asking critical questions about Ancestry's Pattinson - Dracula claim.

- Tamura

Heather Rojo said...

After reading your post, I saw this story on the evening news on one of the Boston stations. It was a short news clip, no details, but they repeated Ancestry's claim that there was a relationship. I think the media should read the press release a bit more carefully. Even my non-genealogist husband guffawed at the family tree shown on TV for 3 seconds that clearly showed three very separate lineages!

NickMGombash said...

I have done extensive research in Hungary and Transylvania while researching my own family tree. I may not consider myself an expert on Hungarian and Transylvanian nobility and royalty, but I do know A LOT.

No reigning English monarch is a descendant of the Basarab family, which produced Vlad Dracula. King George V of England's wife, Mary of Teck, is however a descendant of Hungarian aristocratic nobility through her paternal grandmother, Klaudina Zsuzsánna Rhédey de Kis-Rhéde. The current royal family are her descendants.

Although the current reigning English monarchy does NOT descend from the Basarab family, there is a connection to Vlad Dracula through his wife. She was a noblewoman from the Szilágyi de Horogszeg family. Klaudina Rhédey (as well as myself) is also a descendant of the same Szilágyi de Horogszeg family. Klaudina and Vlad's wife would be 2nd cousins 15 times removed.

There's a documented connection to Vlad's wife, but no English monarch shares (known) ancestry with Vlad Dracula.

John said...

The claim with the Princes William and Harry is that they descend from Vlad the Monk, Vlad Tepes's half brother. Though the online sources I've seen that show the descent don't provide sources for the information.

Wikipedia link

Roglo said...

We have a link between Dracula and Harry :

Vlad IV Tepes Dracula, prince of Wallachia 1431-1476
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Vlad Dracula
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Ladislas Dracula
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Ladislas Dracula de Sentesti
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Borbara Bilki Dracula de Sentesti
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Vanesca Kornis
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Gáspár Kendeffy
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Gábor Kendeffy +1661/
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Gáspár Kendeffy
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Ágnes Kendeffy
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Gergely Inczédy +1816
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Ágnes Inczédy ca 1788-ca 1856
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Claudine Rhédey, Gräfin von Hohenstein 1812-1841
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Franz von Württemberg, Herzog von Teck 1837-1900
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Mary Cambridge, Prinzessin von Teck 1867-1953
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George VI Windsor, King of Great Britain 1895-1952
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Elizabeth II Windsor, Queen of Great Britain 1926-
|
Charles Windsor, Prince of Wales 1948-
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Henry Windsor, Prince of Great Britain 1984-

Anonymous said...

Vlad IV Tepes Dracula, prince of Wallachia 1431-1476
|
Vlad Dracula
|
Ladislas Dracula
|
Ladislas Dracula de Sentesti
|
Borbara Bilki Dracula de Sentesti
|
Vanesca Kornis
|
Gáspár Kendeffy
|
Gábor Kendeffy +1661/
|
Gáspár Kendeffy
|
Ágnes Kendeffy
|
Gergely Inczédy +1816
|
Ágnes Inczédy ca 1788-ca 1856
|
Claudine Rhédey, Gräfin von Hohenstein 1812-1841
|
Franz von Württemberg, Herzog von Teck 1837-1900
|
Mary Cambridge, Prinzessin von Teck 1867-1953
|
George VI Windsor, King of Great Britain 1895-1952
|
Elizabeth II Windsor, Queen of Great Britain 1926-
|
Charles Windsor, Prince of Wales 1948-
|
Henry Windsor, Prince of Great Britain 1984-