Is Edward Fitz Randolph (Fitz_Randolph-42) no longer a proven gateway ancestor?

+9 votes
Edward Fitz Randolph (Fitz_Randolph-42) is a long proven gateway ancestor reaching back to John of Gaunt (Plantagenet-66) and to the English royal line. I've checked this previously on wikitree and it was so. Today I checked again and found that they are no longer connected except as distant cousins. Has new documentation emergered? When did this happen and why? Did I miss something?
WikiTree profile: John of Gaunt
in Genealogy Help by Leila Schutz G2G2 (2.9k points)

Can you post what you think the line was? And  then we can tell you where and why it was broken.

2 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

OK, I think I understand this all now.  The simple answer is, no, Edward Fitz Randolph the immigrant is not a known descendant John of Gaunt, Edward III or have any other known connection to the kings of England.

The connection comes from: L.V.H. Randolph. Fitz Randolph Traditions. (New York, 1907), p. 120.  It is complete garbage.  This book made the Fitz Randolph line go:

Edward Fitz Randolph -- Emigrant,

son of Edward Fitz Randolph of Langton Hall d. 1635

son of Christopher Fitz Randolph

son of Randolph de Neville

5th son of Ralph (or Randolph) de Neville -- Duke of Westmoreland d. 1565.

No, the Fitz Randolphs are not descended from the Dukes of Westmorland and the spectacular ancestry that would go with it.  They are thought to descend from the Fitz Randolph family of Spennithorne, co. York (no connection to the Dukes of Westmorland). 

This family had been traced back quite a few generations to Ranulph Fitz Robert who married Mary le Bigod, daughter of the Magna Carta Surety, Roger Le Bigod.  The line appears in early editions of Magna Carta Sureties and in Douglas Richardson’s 1st editions of Magna Carta Ancestry.  However, there is an unproven or doubtful generation (John Fitz Randolph who m. Joan Conyers is not proven to have had a son John) and the line has been removed from Richardson’s most recent work Royal Ancestry.  The line remains in WikiTree.


NEHGR vol. 97 (1943), 275-277 and  295-298

NEHGR vol. 99 (1945):335-336.

Weis. Magna Carta Sureties 5th edition (1999): line 164, for old line.  There is a good discussion of both the evidence and of the problems with the line by the noted genealogist John Insley Coddington

Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry 1st ed. (2005):342-343, for old line.

See Richardson.  Royal Ancestry vol. IV (2013):226, sub Neville. showing the line removed.

by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (237k points)
selected by Elizabeth Ernst
Just to clarify that the "old line" here is the Spennithorne line.  The "Dukes of Westmorland" line was never in any reputable book.

Fitz Randolph Traditions is a very odd book.  There's a lot of interesting stuff in it.  The pedigree is deliberate fakery, not a mistake or just over-optimism.  And yet the book never mentions Edward III - the author draws the line at making that claim explicit.

I think Gary Boyd Roberts has proposed an alternative line through Joan Conyers, but it doesn't bypass the difficulty.

There are a couple more versions out there on the net.  One is the "Dukes of Westmorland" line mangled by software, including WFT.

Another internet version ingeniously avoids the debunked "Dukes", but keeps some of the ancestry, by having Elizabeth Holland marry a FitzRandolph instead of a Neville.
I have recently found out that Edward Fitz Randolph-42 and Elizabeth Blossom are ancestors of mine. Regarding the ancestry question about Fitz Randolph-42 and the answers from 2016 & 2017, it is my understanding that:

1) the book "Fitz Randolph Traditions" is complete garbage with regards to the English ancestry.

2) the "dukes of Westmorland" line has been debunked;

3) the "Spinnethorne connection is an "old line" that is unproven and doubtful; and

4) the NEHGR and Magna Carta Sureties and Ancestries are out of date.

Has there been any further evidence, proof or information that has come forth on any of this one way or the other since this question was first asked and answered in 2016-2017?  I would appreciate any help anyone can give before I continue my ancestry search past Edward Fitz Randolph-42.

Thanks, Laurie

I stumbled upon this thread as a part of research related to an in-progress page related to Edward FitzRandolph-42. The page attempts to tap into Y-DNA evidence and other resources to address questions/insights/best current understanding of Edward's ancestors and descendants.

Laurie, your summary is clear, concise, and appreciated as I do what I can to learn about Edward-42's story and contribute to the research. Regarding your question about further evidence since 2017, I would say the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Y-DNA testing has established a genetic fingerprint that can confirm shared Y-DNA line ancestry with others claiming ties with Edward-42. If you have any FitzRandolph (or variant) men among your contacts, then a Y-DNA test would provide confirmation of the link to Edward's line.

Beyond that, please have a look at a new and very much under construction page devoted to all things Edward-42: Fitz Randolph One Name Study

Hoping this is helpful, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

Laurie, Just found your post. I hadn't known that the Spennithorne (Yorkshire) line was known to be pretty doubtful. Do you mean there's an unproven connection between Christopher Fitz of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire (who m. Joan Langton), and the fam branch in Yorkshire? Or that the soundness of the Spennithorne line in general is in doubt? Thank you!
+3 votes
He is listed as a questionable gateway ancestor. This generally means  sources considered less reliable than the works of Richardson show him as a gateway ancestor, but Richardson does not. Except in a few instances the Magna Carta Project uses the work of Douglas Richardson as its benchmark for inclusion as a gateway ancestor.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)

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