So, after some years of never being able to make much progress tracing my ancestral lines backwards, suddenly I made a connection on one line, and found myself, at least allegedly, listed as being in direct descent from Henry III, Charlemagne, a baron who fought under William the Conqueror, a King of Iceland, a Viking warlord, and sundry other celebrities of the Middle Ages. Since there are a bunch of connections that are completely unsourced, and others that are disputed, it's probably all rot, but amusing enough that I told my older brother to apply for his rightful place on the thrones of most of Europe. ;-)
It's not impossible that I'm descended from such people, but since there are thousands of unknown peasants for every noble, it just seems more likely to me that my ancestors (or most people's ancestors, for that matter) were a bunch of unknown nebbishes than such a glittering array of nobility and royalty.
But as I was thinking about it, the thought occurred to me that there might be a way to source one connection which, in my case, is crucial to connection to all those glittery people. I have been able to source my ancestry back (with varying degrees of certainty) back as far as Francis West. Beyond him, it's just a matter of throwing darts, and the document which is quoted on his page states that pretty clearly.
I'm wondering if it's possible to use the DNA results from Francis' descendants, and from demonstrated descendants of the family of Francis West, who may have been his father, to determine whether Francis the elder really was the father of Francis the younger. I'm assuming that such a test would require direct descent through the male line to be accurate, but I haven't looked into DNA testing, so I could be wrong there. Can anybody elucidate whether such a test would be able to determine an answer? If so, the next step would be finding direct descendants in the respective male lines to test.