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Old 02-17-2014, 09:42 PM
 
160 posts, read 291,674 times
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European, at least. I read a few times that if you're of European descent - especially if you live in Europe - and that if you dig into your family tree, you'll most likely find not just noble but royal ancestors (kings, queens, emperors, ruling princes of small principalities). And that it's no big deal since practically everyone has at least one monarch in their family tree. How is that possible?

If you look at the line of succession to the British throne, you'll see that it currently lists only about 5800 people. And these are descendants of various European royal houses (Russian, Danish, Norwegian, Greek, Yugoslavian,several German, and a few others) in addition to the British Hanoverian kings. Excluding descendants of monarchs from the 20th century, most lineages date back to 19th, 18th, and I think a few to 17th century rulers. Obviously, there are more descendants out there of other European dynasties and proven illegitimate descendants of all rulers from the 17th century. Let's say that they also number about a few thousand.

Yes, up until the 1st half of the 20th century, most people of all social levels had at least five-eight children. However, the infant mortality rate was also very high. Often, only three or four children survived into adulthood and had descendants. Also, a lot of royals and nobles served in the military and died in wars without issue. A few females were also childless. And some people only had one or two children, who in turn also had the same number of children. Therefore, one can't assume that the number of descendants grew exponentially with each generation.

Let's also not forget that a lot of noble and royal dynasties died out. The younger children of the monarch married either other royals or high-ranking nobles. In a lot of cases proving your descent from an illegitimate child is difficult since few records existed prior to the 2nd half of the 17th century. So, what amazes me is that few people claim ancestors from that time, yet most claim from 15th down to 9th centuries.

I am a descendant of a mid-ranked noble family who were elevated to nobility status very recently in terms of history (in the late 1870s). I'm not gonna say in which European country. We have documents to prove it. We've also traced some of our ancestors to the early 1800s. How can people trace their origins to say, Eleanor of Aquitaine?

Last edited by Marissa23; 02-17-2014 at 10:33 PM..
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
33,854 posts, read 36,005,274 times
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If it's there, royal descent may be easier to prove because there may be better records.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_descent

Then, you get a mathematician involved:

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic....ersal-royalty/

Last edited by suzy_q2010; 02-17-2014 at 10:16 PM..
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:54 PM
 
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Its a possibility. I think many people will have a much harder time accepting that there are plenty of non-whites that also descend from these European royals by virtue of previous (or recent) racial mixing.

Imagine Barack Obama or Derek Jeter as descendants of Charlemagne. We may laugh and be in shock, yet they probably are.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:27 PM
 
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Yes, I realize that it's a possibility even for non-white people to be related to European royalty. Or even for some whites to be related to Asian or African royalty. It's just that I find it hard to believe that there are millions of living descendants of royalty. The reason I only mentioned European royalty is that some genealogists wrote on how practically everyone has royal ancestors in Europe. Again, like I wrote in my OP, living descendants of recent royals (1700-today)- legitimate and proven illegitimate - number in about 10,000-15,000 at best. I'm not a genealogist but I estimate that number based on the family trees I've looked at.

Also, don't forget that a lot of modern European countries were ruled by other countries and, consequently had no royalty for centuries. For example, Greece was ruled for a few hundred years by the Ottoman Empire. It's royal family only came to power in mid-19th century. Obviously, their descendants don't number even in the thousands. Also, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Italy only became independent in the 19th or early 20th centuries. And all their descendants are obviously documented and maybe run in the high hundreds.

Now, even proven descendants from the 17th and the 16th centuries aren't likely to number in six figures. Even if you look at U.S. history - which is very recent compared to Europe - you'll see that the number of known presidential descendants from Washington to Obama is only about 755. And that figure includes both living and deceased offspring. You can gather all of these people in one big banquet hall. Add to that alleged illegitimate offspring,descendants of vice-presidents, supreme court justices and state governors since 1776, I don't think you'll even reach 15k living descendants.

Descendants of the U.S. Presidents - Familypedia

Last edited by Marissa23; 02-18-2014 at 12:11 AM.. Reason: Adding info
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:20 AM
 
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Who cares about royal decent? It is so watered out, especially here in Norway. Our current king, Harald, married an ordinary woman and so did Crown Prince Haakon. Haakon actually married a single mom. Very classy!
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:22 AM
 
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Well considering Charlemagne lived around 1200 years ago, if you divide that by roughly 30 years (a good guesstimate for a generation) you get 40 generations.

If you assume each generation had three children that then had three children, etc...

3 to the power of 40, you get:

12,157,665,459,056,929,000

Now that of course assumes the amount of children that lives and passes on children of their own averages out to 3. That also doesn't count branches that inbreed somewhere along the line (which happens many times in a branch that long). Though no matter how you cut the number down the amount of likely descendants of him are quite many. There are roughly 7 billion people in the world:

7,000,000,000

Obviously not everyone is descended from that one person 1200 years ago, but the numbers start to paint a picture of how interconnected we are.

This is why if you have strong European descent at all you likely have royal blood, which also means you likely descend from Charlemagne.

Being able to map it with any level of accuracy becomes the bigger challenge however.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:34 AM
 
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I think most of us are not direct descendants of anyone famous, but our distant relatives like cousins are so numerous they almost have to include some famous people/

Some of my distant relatives were Mary Queen of Scots & King Edward. Then, in US, Roger Sherman, only Founding Father to sign all 5 documents; Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, VP James S. Sherman 1909-1912 (died in office); uncountable # in Congress, who at 1st had no pay; John Sherman, author of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, a cousin of great-great-great grandfather & his brother Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. I may be distantly related to Nixon's prosecutor Archibald Cox as he is direct descendant of Founding Father Roger Sherman, who is distantly related to William Tecumseh Sherman.

In total, my distant relatives made up the 4th largest political family in the history of US. Also, some were theologians, teachers, successful business people, etc. My great grandfather on my dad's side was a doctor in many towns & his father was a bodyguard for U.S. Grant. Related to my grandmother I think were the surveyors who did the original plat for La Crosse, WI in 1850s.

I can hardly figure out how my current relatives are related(!) so not the best on those in past. But my distant relatives seemed to drop out of Congress when they knew they could no longer advocate for the people, as corporations had bought the govt.

If the world started with a very few people, does that make us all very distantly related? Best wishes.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 11,339,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marissa23 View Post
European, at least. I read a few times that if you're of European descent - especially if you live in Europe - and that if you dig into your family tree, you'll most likely find not just noble but royal ancestors (kings, queens, emperors, ruling princes of small principalities). And that it's no big deal since practically everyone has at least one monarch in their family tree. How is that possible?

If you look at the line of succession to the British throne, you'll see that it currently lists only about 5800 people. And these are descendants of various European royal houses (Russian, Danish, Norwegian, Greek, Yugoslavian,several German, and a few others) in addition to the British Hanoverian kings. Excluding descendants of monarchs from the 20th century, most lineages date back to 19th, 18th, and I think a few to 17th century rulers. Obviously, there are more descendants out there of other European dynasties and proven illegitimate descendants of all rulers from the 17th century. Let's say that they also number about a few thousand.

Yes, up until the 1st half of the 20th century, most people of all social levels had at least five-eight children. However, the infant mortality rate was also very high. Often, only three or four children survived into adulthood and had descendants. Also, a lot of royals and nobles served in the military and died in wars without issue. A few females were also childless. And some people only had one or two children, who in turn also had the same number of children. Therefore, one can't assume that the number of descendants grew exponentially with each generation.

Let's also not forget that a lot of noble and royal dynasties died out. The younger children of the monarch married either other royals or high-ranking nobles. In a lot of cases proving your descent from an illegitimate child is difficult since few records existed prior to the 2nd half of the 17th century. So, what amazes me is that few people claim ancestors from that time, yet most claim from 15th down to 9th centuries.

I am a descendant of a mid-ranked noble family who were elevated to nobility status very recently in terms of history (in the late 1870s). I'm not gonna say in which European country. We have documents to prove it. We've also traced some of our ancestors to the early 1800s. How can people trace their origins to say, Eleanor of Aquitaine?
Well ... I can. But I find all the "royal" genealogy a bit silly. The records are generally not good enough for me to truly accept it. But ... it's fun to say.

But a mistaken assumption is that there's "one" royal family. There were hundreds of them. And so then you're talking about descendants of all those. And to use your Eleanor of Aquitaine example. Well, she had 10 children, eight of whom had issue. She had 46 grandchildren. Those kinds of numbers expand rapidly.

Alandros laid out very well just why so many people are descended. And to look at it, going the other direction, in that 40th generation you would have (if there were no duplicate ancestors and even more miraculously, if you were able to identify them all!) 549,755,813,888 grandparents in just that one generation. One more generation back ... double that, and so on. How can you not be related from someone royal?
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
7,214 posts, read 8,798,696 times
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Yes, it's all about the numbers game. Basically, the further you're able to trace your tree back, the greater your odds of connecting with royalty.

Of course, actually being able to verify these lineages many hundreds of years later is an entirely different thing.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:12 AM
 
Location: The High Desert
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The Royals, generally, were survivors....with some notable exceptions. The had the resources to survive and provide healthy offspring who also were survivors. They had the food when commoners went hungry. They could avoid some dieases by being isolated from the sick folks and had access to what passed as medical care. Most of the folks marching off to war or the crusades were the common people....Royals stayed home and had babies.

Many of our thousands of ancestors were Royals ---probably multiple times since they had a tendency to in-breed. Once you tie into a Royal family the road back to Charlemagne or Alfred the Great or (maybe) Ivan the Terrible is pretty well spelled out.
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