Question of the Week: Have you proven/disproven noble connections from your family lore?

+16 votes

Today is National Earl Day!

Apparently, June 9 is the day to celebrate people named Earl, like Earl Scruggs and Earl Warren.

I'm sure we all have someone named Earl in our branches somewhere, but I thought it would also be fun to hear family lore about connections to British Royalty. Maybe you're related to the Earl of Sandwich. ;-)

How have you proven those noble connections? Did you use DNA?

Maybe you have the Earl surname in your tree or a famous Uncle Earl (check your Family List)!


Got a story? Let's hear it! 


Got social media?

On Twitter, use @WikiTreers, #NationalEarlDay, and #QotW to tell your cousins!

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (252k points)

I am very amused to report that I just discovered I have an Earl Day in my branches!!! (He's my 1st cousin, once removed)

Interesting, have no royal or noble person in my database with the name Earl / Earle although do have some with the title.  Have over 33,500+ people listed in my royal/noble database. And do I add and disconnect to it, yes about everyday.  You would think that considering how long people have been working on this topic it would be correct by now.
I am excited to say that Anne Frank has been found in my family tree.
I've not yet ported it to wikitree yet, but in my research Thomas Jefferson is a cousin, his great-grandfather is a direct ancestor and following him back he's a direct descendant of  King William the Conqueror, who was the great-great grandson of the Viking Rollo

Which means I'm a direct descendant to. Rollo is 36 generations back father. I've verified this 4 times. It's cool. Lots of data and people to bring into WikiTree. Hopefully it can help others.


Rollo's relation to you: Direct ancestor (35 generations)
Here's how:
1.    Edwin Earl Lutzen is your father
2.    Blanche Algara Lutzen is the mother of Edwin Earl Lutzen
3.    Bessie Angeline Dunbar is the mother of Blanche Algara Lutzen
4.    Emma Sophia Wenbourne is the mother of Bessie Angeline Dunbar
5.    Robert Henry Harrison is the father of Emma Sophia Wenbourne
6.    Nimrod Henry Harrison is the father of Robert Henry Harrison
7.    Kinsey K. Harrison is the father of Nimrod Henry Harrison
8.    Sarah Harrison is the mother of Kinsey K. Harrison
9.    William Randolph III is the father of Sarah Harrison
10.    William of Chatsworth Randolph, II is the father of William Randolph III
11.    Col. William Thomas Randolph, II is the father of William of Chatsworth Randolph, II
12.    Richard Randolph is the father of Col. William Thomas Randolph, II
13.    Dorothy Randolph is the mother of Richard Randolph
14.    Elizabeth Lane is the mother of Dorothy Randolph
15.    Anne Vincent is the mother of Elizabeth Lane
16.    Francis Tanfield, of Gayton is the father of Anne Vincent
17.    William Tanfield,, Esq. is the father of Francis Tanfield, of Gayton
18.    Katherine Tanfield, is the mother of William Tanfield,, Esq.
19.    Sir Edward George Neville, Baron Bergavenny is the father of Katherine Tanfield,
20.    Countess Joan de Neville, LG is the mother of Sir Edward George Neville, Baron Bergavenny
21.    John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster is the father of Countess Joan de Neville, LG
22.    Edward lll King of England (Plantagenet) is the father of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
23.    Edward II of Plantagenet, King of England is the father of Edward lll King of England (Plantagenet)
24.    Edward I of England is the father of Edward II of Plantagenet, King of England
25.    Henry III of England is the father of Edward I of England
26.    John, King of England is the father of Henry III of England
27.    Henry II of England is the father of John, King of England
28.    Empress Matilda de Anjou is the mother of Henry II of England
29.    Henry I of England (Normandie) is the father of Empress Matilda de Anjou
30.    William The Conqueror is the father of Henry I of England (Normandie)
31.    Robert I, Duke of de Normandie (Normandie) is the father of William The Conqueror
32.    Richard II, Duke of de Normandie (Normandie) is the father of Robert I, Duke of de Normandie (Normandie)
33.    Richard I de Normandie (Normandie) is the father of Richard II, Duke of de Normandie (Normandie)
34.    William I de Normandie, Duke of Normandy is the father of Richard I de Normandie (Normandie)
35.    Rollo is the father of William I de Normandie, Duke of Normandy
My 28th great grandfather's are King Louis VI , King John "Lackland" house of Plantagenet, Magna Carta Barons Hugh and Roger Bigod, Hugh De Vere, Saher De Quincy, and Henry Bohun, John Fitzroger and King Alfonso VIII of Spain and Count Pierre Grandison of Sweden and ap Madog prince of wales.

Since King John is a direct descendant of William the conquerer this would mean I'm a direct descendant of Rollo and Charlemagne.

I'm a descendent of theses through Sir William Warenne.

I Have done 3 DNA test thru 3 different companies and have miltiple connections to pple with Warren in their lines, two pple who also have Plantagenet in their trees and one person with ap Gruffydd(Welsh royal) and one with Courtenay(french royal line) in their lines . So i would call it DNA confirmed, but they are not on Wikitree. I have taken screenshots, for my records. I have in some of these lines connected to pple with surnames Parsons and Wood and these were a few generations after Fitzroger Like his great grandchild married a Parsons or a Wood. And some of these closer to me lines are pple within the royal chain of descendancy on the Baron side.

I have several Earls in my line. And my Dad is named Earl but not royal, my mother's side is the royal connected side not my dads, lol.
I am also Welsh & Plantagenet offspring and would encourage you to link your DNA to wikitree to help confirm others.
Already done, did it last month, when I received all results. I would encourage people to get a gedmatch number and a mitosearch number, Rico, too many pple just havent done neither. On Mitosearch I compared what was little DNA up for Czar Nicholas and his wife, my hvr2 I matched 3 of her numbers on Nicholas, i matched all four HVR2 mutations, that were listed. Nicholas is 20th cousin, of Course their DNA is incomplete, due to age of the samples, but what they got, I did match 3-4.

I think, all modern Royals should DNA test, and make the results public after they are deceased, for geneological purposes. So people can see that there royal linage lines are true and correct. That would be something for the pple of those perspective countries should petition for.

A couple of notes: "Nobiltiy" is much broader than most responders are thinking.  Most of these responses are referring to titled nobility or even royalty.  Next, in my own family history, the family "lore" about noble roots appears to be better termed "family fairytales."  I have all branches back to great-great grandparents and some back 8 generations.  Thus far we are overwhelmingly farmers, some preachers, some tradesmen, a few senior military officers.  Moreover, it appears that almost all miy ancestors farmed to some extent.  But we do have some "earls," but strictly as a name, not a title.

I've already got gedmatch number, but got confused with the mitosearch . Have so much data to import into WikiTree that I want to get done first, but I'll get to it eventually. I think I can type in faster than the GEDCOM process, besides it gives me a chance to correct data, or make notes for more research. Still fairly new here and learning the sites functions/quirks.
Your tree looks very familiar. It is like mine from #16 to 35. Mine extends back to Egbert the last King of the Saxons of Wessex (0784-0838), my 36th great grandfather) whose spouse was Redburga,   The line has many branches and one of leads to the Avery family in the colonies.  William the Conqueror is my 28th great grandfather. John the Gaunt is my 18th great grandfather.

The titles get very confusing and I wonder how they are determined. It is all good fun in any case.
Heh. Yeah. And Researching another branch I've gone back well past Charlemagn. Lots of notes and have to get it into WikiTree as I'm about done with my paid site. They aren't getting my any closer on some branches and will need help and this looks like the ideal place to get it!!!
Charlemayne is just a few generations from William the Conqueror. As long as you stick with well known individuals it is not difficult to get there either from William or his spouse Maud (Matilda) who is one of my favorites from history.  I don't know why. We are all related to each other so the difficulty is just finding a well known person in your ancestry so you can easily go back. Finding good sources can be challenging and running into individuals with the same name who lived near each other at about the same time can be a problem. It adds to the challenge.

Tell me about it. Good source are one thing, but I also have ancestors in Sweden. They loved to change their names. Kind of throwing up my hands on them right now and focusing on Europe.
In some of the Scandinavian families and in Iceland, a son takes the name of his father and adds son to the end so if a mans name is Andreas his sons would be Andreasson. The daughters would add dr or dottir (or maybe it is dotter)-Andreasdr or andreasdottir. It becomes confusing and is really only useful if the population is small. My Scandinavian ancestors stopped the practice once in the states.I have no very close relatives in Scandinavia so I have never tried to follow back very far.


27 Answers

+7 votes
No not DNA,The British Museum of Art had a painting of my 9th great

grandmother Wife of Lord Morgan,Sent me a photo of her and family.

All the children looked very odd,Wealthy would marry 1st cousins so wealth

would stay within families.My grandmother always said,there were nobility

in our past.
answered by Wayne Morgan G2G6 Pilot (767k points)
That's great, Wayne!! If you still have the picture, it would be fun to share. :-)
+7 votes

My cousin, Earl Arnold is related to the Earl of Sandwich. 


Relationship Found

Earl and Edward are fifth cousins 10 times removed (Uncertain)

Earl Arnold and Edward Montagu are both descendants of Agnes (Chichele) Tattersall.

1. Earl is the son of Alice Thomas Hemenway [unknown confidence] 
2. Alice is the daughter of Sylvia Jane (Thomas) Hemenway [unknown confidence] 
3. Sylvia is the daughter of Alice (Hayward) Thomas[unknown confidence] 
4. Alice is the daughter of Silvia (Conant) Hayward[unknown confidence] 
5. Silvia is the daughter of Silvanus Conant[unknown confidence] 
6. Silvanus is the son of Anne (Kingman) Conant[unknown confidence] 
7. Anne is the daughter of Bethiah (Howard) Kingman [unknown confidence] 
8. Bethiah is the daughter of John Howard Sr.[unknown confidence] 
9. John is the son of James (Howard) Haward[confident] 
10. James is the son of William Howard[uncertain] 
11. William is the son of Thomas Howard KG [confident] 
12. Thomas is the son of Frances (De Vere) Howard [confident] 
13. Frances is the daughter ofElizabeth (Trussell) de Vere [confident] 
14. Elizabeth is the daughter ofEdward Trussell [unknown confidence] 
15. Edward is the son of Bridget (Kene) Keene [unknown confidence] 
16. Bridget is the daughter ofAgnes (Chichele) Tattersall [unknown confidence] 
This makes Agnes the 14th great grandmother of Earl.


answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

1. Edward is the son of Sidney Montagu MP [unknown confidence] 
2. Sidney is the son of Edward Montagu MP [unknownconfidence] 
3. Edward is the son of Elenor Helen (Roper) Montagu[unknown confidence] 
4. Elenor is the daughter of John Roper Esq. [unknownconfidence] 
5. John is the son of Margery (Tattersall) Roper[unknown confidence] 
6. Margery is the daughter of Agnes (Chichele) Tattersall [unknown confidence] 
This makes Agnes the fourth great grandmother of Edward.

It's a double Earl, Frank! I think you get extra points for that. ;-)
+7 votes
How cool is that! My Dad is Earle and his Dad was Earl. I'll call him later and let him know there is a day just for him!

Thanks Julie,

answered by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (449k points)
My pleasure! :-D
+7 votes
I have several probables, but none 100% certain.
answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
+6 votes
Do counts count?
answered by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (384k points)
Earl is an Anglo-Saxon nobility title.  The equivalent title on the continent was Count...
Probably as well as they can subtract  -  sorry, just couldn't help myself.
LOL james actually I find it very funny :) it take a sense of humor to see why it was funny.
+5 votes

In general, my family was deeply suspicious of claims of noble origin, although WikiTree currently connects me to a number of royal ancestors.

My only received family lore regarding royal ancestry was a boast that the Stuart ancestors in my mother's mother's family were descended from the royal House of Stewart family in Scotland. I doubt that we'll ever be able to trace my Ulster Scot immigrant ancestor named Stuart back to Ulster, much less trace his family back to Scotland and determine whether they really were descended from Scottish royalty.

Ironically, there's some rather good recent genealogical research that connects my mother's father's family to the House of Stewart (via  the Duncanson sisters who settled in New Netherland). King James IV Stewart currently maps as my 14th great grandfather.

answered by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (840k points)
edited by Ellen Smith
+5 votes
Finding a Noble connection is my number one goal in my personal genealogy. I'm still trying to confirm a gateway ancestor. There are some strong candidates in my tree. I feel quite strongly about my Tattershall line from Wiltshire, England. Another possibility would be the Howard family, but no one really knows where they came from in 1600s England.  The main problem is confirming since there are no primary records going back that far.
answered by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 5 (56.5k points)
Put that portion of your tree on familysearch and maybe the World Tree will connect with you and take you to the royal lines. That did it for me.
I find the tree on Familysearch to be extremely inaccurate. It has me related to a number of royal lineages but I know through my own independent research there is no documentation to prove those lines. The same also with some of the Geni connections.
Yes, you are correct.  I should have put a qualifying statement in there.  In this case, a distant cousin in the 1940's wrote a book based on his own research.  His book is out of print and I have never been able to recover it.  Darn.  As far as familysearch and Ancestry go, I consider them hints that have to be proven.  But they are frequently great hints that reduce research time.  I don't believe in reinventing the wheel.  I do get upset when someone changes what I have on familysearch.  One that is on the World Tree that I ignore (a different line) has a Queen from many years beyond my research.  I have to laugh.  I get those weekly reports on what changes have been made on my tree.  So far, I believe this lady has been credited with about 40 children and the same ones have been added and removed over over.  Obviously the original and the data is not reliable.  LOL  I call a tree beyond 1500 as a 'fun tree'.  It may be accurate and it may have flaws.  I believe that queen with the 40 children, goes back to 500.  Not even a good 'fun tree'.

Go with familysearch World Tree and take their info and research it.
Family search is also a world tree, but lacks things wiki does.  Their is many places where they are trying to make a world tree, and all of them need to improve how they are doing it...
james Names on people born before 1600 Family search has a special Department that handles them, this is due to lack of records and many other things, so it could very accurate. In my thoughts I feel they are any where from 90-100% accurate, Yes their could be errors, but their won't be lots, like on people born after 1600. That is some thing I just wanted you to know.
Thanks for the suggestion S. Sagers. I will look into that.  I never realised such a department existed on Family Search.  What it really boils down to are sources and how reliable they are. I just don't put much stock into poorly documented ancestors.  Do you know the name of that Department on Family Search?
+6 votes

I have quite a story about my husband's tree and I believe I posted that here so I will give a very short version.  He had this overwhelming feeling he had to drive from Charlotte, NC to Richmond, VA to apply for a job he did NOT want.  Ha.  The results of the trip, thanks to a friend who was a professional t genealogist working in the Richmond state archives,.  His brick wall was Hardin DuKE Nuckols.  The results was discovering a book on the DUKES of  Duke University.  His GRANDMOTHER was on something  like page 129 of the book.  It took his family tree and history back to KING HENRY VII era through all sorts of royalty and people of court.  When we returned home, he sent a letter to the company where he interviewed for a job, saying...No thanks, I don't want the job.  He now knew WHY he HAD to go to Richmond.  His mother passed on to us family heirlooms with the royal crest.  She always wanted to know if the family rumor was true.  

I am here to tell you, genealogy comes with ESP!  I will leave it up to you to figure out the source of the ESP.  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Switching to my Mom  did her research the HARD way in the 1940's and 1950's, by books, mail  and by foot power.  She research in the Roanoke, VA  public library and  Peerage  books.  She wrote letters and eventually the library had film you could order. She traced the Lyons tree to John LYONS, Lord of Glamous Castle, Elizabeth Bowes Lyons, Queen Elizabeth. HOWEVER.......SHE DID NOT KEEP HER SOURCES OR COMPLETELY CHART IT!!   Her sources were written on napkins, Christmas Cards, etc.  When I got married, she handed me a box and said, "You are married now.  You just inherited the family genealogy."  I had to put her puzzle together and did sourced research.  I got back to Alexander Lyons and familysearch World Tree picked it up and finished it to the same point where my mother had gotten...Lord Lyon of Glamous Castle.  Mom, you did pretty darn well considering the tools you had at your research!

answered by Sharon DiLuvio G2G6 Mach 1 (16.4k points)
Clarification...common ancestor of Queen Elizabeth.  Not to her personally.
I consider information from Ancestry and familysearch as hints that have to be verified.  But the hints are often helpful and cut hours of digging.  In the case of royalty, in this case, a relative in the 1940's did his own research and wrote a book on the family.  The 1600 and 1500 information can be shaky but it is refreshing to enjoy the fruits of your research.
Correction... King Henry III...
Yes those Fruits are great, Yes information is Shaky, But Like I said to James, Family search helps clean those up with a special department that only research those names, and sources.
+5 votes
To answer the question: Yes.

To prove and disprove.
Had mentions from my grandparents regarding relation to HRH QE II and connection Lady Godiva. The former was proven within the first couple of weeks of joining (try 5th Cousin 2x Removed) Whereas as the latter was disproven.

Baronets and Barons? Yes, related to a lot of them
answered by Richard Shelley G2G6 Mach 9 (90.5k points)
+4 votes
Family folklore going back generations is that my husband's family go back to the Earls of Shrewsbury. I've found links but still trying to definitively prove it.  I found a legal document proving the relationship (transcript of a court case) but lost the link so trying to find it again so I can document the details.
answered by Deborah Talbot G2G6 Mach 2 (29.9k points)
+4 votes

Yes, I discovered a couple weeks ago that my lineage goes back further than I thought. It seems that a branch splits off of my paternal line (Sir John Cole-335) and goes back thru his wife Anne to an Earl of Gloucester to King Henry I (Normandie-45), to King Wm I 'The Conqueror' (Normandie-32), thru four more Dukes ('Of Normandy') to Rollo 'The Walker' (Normandie-54) b. 0842. Was a bit surprised, to say the least but for some reason it didn't seem to impress my wife at  And then this weekend I received my dna results from Ancestry and it shows my ancient ethnicity estimate to be of Great Briton, Scandinavian & French and German descent. I realize there are millions more than can claim these ancestors but it's still sort of cool. Thank you Wiki Tree along with Ancestry & Family Search to help confirm.

answered by Bill Cole G2G1 (1.7k points)
+4 votes
My boyfriend is the 25th great grandson of King John of England (1166-1216). John of England has an illegitimate son, Richard Fitzroy in 1193. Fitzroy's daughter married a Berkeley, of the famed Berkeley Castle in England.The family line then goes on in England for over 500 years, then crosses the ocean to America in the late 17th century, and later into rural Ontario Canada. The surname descending from Berkeley to present is Berkeley>Lygon>Bassett>Dighton>Williams>Bird>Hawes>Bradley>Tuck>Hall.

He doesn't have any particular interest in a DNA test, but I feel confident in my research, as the family connections have been documented and agreed upon by collaboration with dozens of other genealogists.
answered by Nina Hall G2G1 (1.5k points)
+4 votes
My genuine earl is Ralph Earle, Earle-82, a well to do landowner in mid 1600's Newport RI. He has been connected (unproven) with the De Erleigh family of Somerset and Wiltshire, knights of the Norman conquest, and Sheriffs of Dorset and Somerset
answered by Jennifer Wilson-Pines G2G4 (4.9k points)
+4 votes
I have quite the family lore. Full of mystery and intrigue. In fact books have been written on it and there was even a BBC special. My great great great grandmother was Anne Lawn daughter of Buxton Lawn who was reportedly the son of George Hanover and his disputed secret wife Hannah Lightfoot.
answered by Michelle Ladner G2G6 Mach 1 (11.7k points)
+3 votes

I am likely related to Kings of Scotland, Ireland and England, with all generations proven with the possible exception of Mary Agnew Bebout (Agnew-559). Her presumed father, James Agnew, II, is in Burke's Peerage, and is a 14th great grandson of King Robert the Bruce. The Scottish King is related to English King Henry I, and King Brian Boru of Ireland. (

Autosomal DNA indicates I am related to James Agnew and Rebecca Scott. There is no proven paper trail, as Mary is not listed in James' Will as she was 13 when he died. There is no known probate record. Family lore is that she moved to Washington County, Pennsylvania with her maternal uncle, Hugh Scott after 1770 when her father died. There she met and married John Bebout, Jr., who is recognized as a patriot by the DAR.

Proof of Mary's parentage is the only questionable part of the claim of royal ancestry. Mary is not listed as the child of Rebecca in the peerage. She was born 4 years after Ann Agnew, but her mother Rebecca would have been near 50 years old.

It is frustrating not to have solid proof, but DNA is a strong indication.


answered by Brenda Carter G2G2 (2.2k points)
+4 votes
Yes, my 12th great-grandfather was Baron Guillaume Jean DeBlondin Blantine born in 1517 (France) his wife Marie.  Their son was born in Lancaster, Lancashire, England where the last name evolved so he was Sir John Blanton.  The name remained and I still have cousins by that last name today. :)
answered by Selena Simon G2G Crew (320 points)
+3 votes
My grandmother liked to tell us her maternal grandmother Laura Ligon Hunter and her mother Susan (Burns) from South Carolina were special. Turns out Granny had direct ancestors from the Thomas Ligon III guy with the historic marker on a highway in Virginia. They descended from William the Conqueror through a lady named Beauchamp or something like that. That gives us the dubious distinction of direct lineage from the Plantagenet kings of England in the high Middle Ages. Wondering if the Ligon connection was fully understood by Granny. She probably would not have thought very much of it either way. They were successful middle class 19th Century American. Probably members of the democratic party like people in the south would have been.
answered by Tim Stringfellow G2G4 (4.1k points)
+4 votes
My O'Connor relatives always had the story that we were descended from the High Kings of Ireland. (Last one was Rory O'Connor. Took the 23-and-me test a few years ago and found I share the same Y-chromosome with about 8% of Irish descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a high king in the 5th century. Other High kings share that Y-chromosome, so that confirms the old legends.

Patrick J. O'Connor
answered by Patrick O'Connor G2G Crew (720 points)
+3 votes
good timing with this question- just found out yesterday that I am, on my dad's side, is related to Queen Elizabeth II Windsor by 23 degrees. Fun stuff to learn.

Queen Elizabeth's father,

George Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha's brother,

EdwardVIII Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha's wife,

Wallis Warfield's mother,

Alice Montague's father,

William Montague's father,

Henry Montague's father,

John Montague's father,

Thomas Montague's brother,

Clement Montague's wife,

Ann Bartett's brother,

Henry Bartlett's son,

Nathan Bartlett's daughter,

Nellie Bartlett's daughter,

Hester Bartlett's husband,

Madison Buck's father,

Bethuel Buck's father,

Jonathan Buck's son,

Morgan Buck's son,

William Morgan Buck's son,

Charlie Washington buck's son,

James Buck's Son,

Ernest Buck's daughter,

Kandy Goodrich(ME).
answered by Kandy Goodrich G2G Crew (300 points)
+3 votes
I have an uncertain connection to the Baynards of Baynard's Castle in London.

As for non-noble relatives who have the name, I have a second cousin named Earle, a first cousin once removed named Earle, a great-uncle named Earle, a great-grandfather named Earle, and a great-great-grandfather named Earle.
answered by Chris Wagner G2G3 (3.3k points)

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