Thursday, August 14, 2014

Valerie Bertinelli is My Cousin

I watched Who Do You Think You Are? last night, the Valerie Bertinelli episode.  In the show Valerie finds that her mother, and Valerie herself, are descended from Edward I "Longshanks," King of England (1239-1307).

The royal descents from European royalty have been documented fairly well in a series of books over the last two centuries, including:

Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, Who Were Themselves Notable or left Descendants Notable in American History, (Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004).

I have several "gateway ancestors" in this book that lead back to English royalty, and thence to European royalty, including:

*  Olive Welby (1604-1692) of Massachusetts, who married Henry Farwell (1605-1670)

*  Mary Gye (1580-1666) of Massachusetts, who married John Maverick (1578-1638)

*  Thomas Dudley (1576-1653) of Massachusetts, who married Dorothy Yorke (1582-1643)

*  Edward FitzRandolph  (1607-1675) of Massachusetts and New Jersey, who married Elizabeth Blossom (1620-1713)

These lines are documented in the Gary Boyd Roberts book, which references several other books that provide more information.  In addition, the FamilySearch Community Trees website has Olive Welby in two of the Community Trees:

*  Europe: Royal and Noble Houses of Europe

*  British Isles: Peerage, Baronetage, and Landed Gentry Families with Extended Lineage

The information in these trees is extensively documented with sources to published books on royalty, nobility, peerage, etc.

I had some of this information already in my own RootsMagic database because my relatives were fascinated by the relationships.  Just like Valerie Bertinelli was!  I admit that I am also fascinated and happy to know that a very small - probably 1 Centi-Morgan or less! - part of my DNA could be traced to English royalty.

I added some data to my database today to get back to Edward I, and found that he is my 22nd great-grandfather, assuming that the research done by Roberts and the other researchers is correct, and that my research from Olive Welby is correct.

Here is my descent from Edward I "Longshanks," King of England, created in RootsMagic 6 with a Relationships Report (over five pages):


I really need a fancy calligraphy scroll, like on, for things like this.  Maybe it would impress my brothers, wife, cousins, daughters and grandchildren.

So, it appears that Valerie Bertinelli is my 23rd cousin, once or twice removed.  I wonder if she wants to come to our next family reunion?  I hope that my cousins on Facebook see this post too!

As many other researchers have noted, nearly everyone with a significant colonial American ancestry, and nearly everyone in England with a significant English ancestry, are descended from English and European royalty.  The challenge is, of course, to get your own research back to the "gateway ancestors" who have been extensively researched by scholars.

There are several "universal" family trees available - including, WikiTree and FamilySearch Family Tree - do they reflect the lines of descent that are in the published books?  I hope so!  I haven't checked this particular line, or my other lines, yet.

Perhaps A. J. Jacobs is my cousin through this connection.

Are you my cousin based on descent from the Edwards?  If so, please let me know in a comment to this post.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Robbhaas said...

Interesting - I got an email this morning from telling me that I am an 8th cousin twice removed to Valeri Bertinelli and they gave the rundown - mine were through the Quaker part of my family.

Janice Harshbarger said...

Yup, I'm a cousin, with quite a few lines from Edward I, again if there are no errors back from the gateway ancestors. I don't know which I love more, genealogy, or the history that goes with it!

Dona said...

Yep, cousins again. Edward I is my 22nd great-grandfather; my descent from him goes through his daughters Joan and Elizabeth (of wife Alianore de Castile) and roundabout through multiple grandchildren to end up with my gateway ancestor Dorothy Needham whose daughter Grace Chetwode married the Reverend Peter Bulkeley as his second wife. Peter's father the Rev. Edward Bulkeley is also one of your ancestors.

As you pointed out, anyone with lots of colonial ancestors is likely to find some royal descent, making us Yankees all related to each other. The research into my royal ancestors was fascinating for a while when I was fairly new to genealogy, but finding out how many people you're likely to be related to on these lines makes it a bit less fascinating. Just an interesting look at English/Scottish life and a way of making history come more alive for each of us.

Rodney Thompson said...

Edward I was my 21st great-grandfather, my line follows though the Earl of Stafford branch and into the Bedingfield Family line of Suffolk to the migration to the U.S....

judi marks said...

I am a cousin too! Olive Welby and Farwell are our common ancestors. I also have Hildreths and Seavers in my tree. What fun!