Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dear Randy: How Far Back Have You Traced Your Ancestry? It Depends!

I am asked this question several times a month when I tell someone that I do genealogy research.

My first response is "Adam" and they say "You're kidding, right?"  So then I say "Adam Mott of Providence, Rhode Island in the 1640s.  

My second response is usually "I have ancestors who were on the Mayflower" in 1620.  They almost always accept that.

Sometimes they ask "Are you related to British royalty?"  And I answer, "The online family trees say I am."  

But how far back is that?  The book The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies of the United States by Gary Boyd Roberts indicates that I have lines back to Edward III of England through Anne (Dudley) Bradstreet; to Edward I of England through Olive (Welby) Farwell; to Henry III of England through Mary (Gye) Maverick.  And through them back to Charlemagne, Alfred the Great, and William the Conqueror.  But that's only 30 generations back to Charlemagne.

Can anyone get further back?  I found this on some time ago:

Yes, Cleopatra, that Cleopatra.  But that was four years ago.  The chart has changed on now, so now I am Cleopatra's "31st great aunt's husband's 16th great uncle's wife's great grandmother's fiancé's mother" according to  "No blood relationship" it says.  How disappointing.

Trying someone a bit more recent - how about Attila the Hun (406-453)?  Five years ago, said I was his 43rd great-grandchild.  Now it says he is "your 34th great grandfather's fiancée's third great grandfather's wife's father's wife's daughter's fiancé."  Again, "No blood relationship."  I guess I should be glad about that.

Oh well.  There must be someone famous that I am related to.  What about "Superman?"

Ah, Christopher Reeve is my 11th cousin, with common ancestors of Thomas Dudley and Dorothy Yorke!  My line from Thomas Dudley is correct as far as I know, but I don't know about Christopher's line.  The "super genes" from Thomas Dudley have probably petered out though.

So that was frustrating but fun!  Will the grandkids care?  I have added most of my known ancestry to and connected tham to existing profiles in


Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to, and have received no other fiancial considerations from Geni.

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