Are you related to a Magna Carta Baron, or think you may be ?

+12 votes

Want to Join the Project? Head over to the new Join Post [here]. I'm having a hard time telling when someone's just chatting and when they want to join the project. So... we now have a new join post & we'll leave this one for discussions.~ Liz, filling in for David for the weekend

Does your family tree have a proven or as yet unproven connection to a Magna Carta Surety Baron?  Perhaps you have a Magna Carta Project Gateway Ancestor (as found in Douglas Richardson’s Magna Carta Ancestry) in your family tree?  Perhaps the WikiTree Relationship Finder has indicated that you are a potential descendant of a Magna Carta Baron? Or maybe you are just curious about the Magna Carta project or have an interest in Pre-1700 or earlier research ? If so, membership in the Magna Carta Project may be for you.

What's required to join? Joining is easy. The main requirements for "badged" membership are to be a member of WikiTree at least 3 months, have a Pre-1700 Badge, and select a Gateway Ancestor (see the table [here]) to be Guardian of. Project members help develop, source and improve the profiles of project-approved family trails from a Gateway Ancestor to a Surety Baron. Although it is helpful if you have some experience working with pre-1700 profiles it is not required. It is a skill that you can learn and improve upon as you work with the project. Nor do you have to be Pre-1500 Certified, but it will be of benefit if you are. Membership in this project will also give Non Pre-1500 members the opportunity to sharpen their research skills and begin to gain the experience needed to meet the requirements for Pre-1500 certification and badging.

Being a Member of the Magna Carta Project

See this page for membership requirements. 

The Magna Carta Project is not for the faint of heart, but it offers a unique opportunity to collaborate and learn. Magna Carta trails will take you from British colonial immigrants in the New World (New EnglandEarly Pennsylvania Settlers,  all the way back to nobles in the British Isles from the Renaissance and Reformation  to the High Middle Ages. The research skills needed in each area and era are quite different and can present both a research challenge and growth opportunity.

Trails from Gateway Ancestors to the seventeen surety barons from whom they descended average fifteen to twenty generations deep. This means we have several thousand profiles needing our attention—not to mention their immediate families (parents, spouses/partners, and children)—everything from basic date and parentage validation and sourcing, to more elaborate dispute resolution and fact checking biographies! Fortunately, the trails overlap as we work back into history, so we can work together on those shared ancestors. No matter what your experience level is today, you'll be amazed at how much you can learn about genealogy working on this project!

Besides "badged" Magna Carta Project membership we also have Magna Carta Affiliate Memberships available for those who prefer to work at their own pace or who are not ready to take on the responsibilities of "badged" Project Membership and who may want to have the opportunity to develop stronger research skills.   

If this sounds like something you would want to be a part of, let us know by replying to this G2G topic.

in Requests for Project Volunteers by David Douglass G2G6 Mach 9 (94.5k points)
edited by Liz Shifflett

I am gonzalez 1186. I have the following info related to magna-carta. I don´t know how to include this on the proyect.

Most of the 26 men who signed the Magna Carta, actually 25 of them direct ancestors, were related to the Gooding family and 20 among them

were our direct ancestors through our third great grandfather, John Gooding II (1773-1853), including John I "Lackland" (1166-1216) King of England at the time, who was his 16th great grandfather.
5 other uncles or cousins
Please let me know how I can include this
I seem to be a direct descendant of all of the Magna Carta Surety Barons.  Is that even possible?

Hi! I'm not sure what you're looking for. If you want a sticker to display on your own profile to indicate your connection to surety barons, check out the tailored Descendant Sticker coding available at

If you're wanting to add a Gateway Ancestor (a pre-1700 immigrant)... If your gateway ancestor is not documented in Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry or Royal Ancestry, you'll need to develop the profiles for your gateway and a trail to someone who is documented by Richardson with each parent/child connection supported by clear primary proof.

However, I tried some RF connections for you & found a Richardson-documented Gateway in your tree:

And, finally, if you ran through the Magna Carta Surety Baron connections at Special:Relationship, only 15 are listed because only 17 (two sets of father/son) have descendants past the 4th generation.

Hope that answers your questions.

If you'd like to join the project as an Affiliate, just post {{Member|Magna Carta Affiliate}} to your profile. To join as a badged member, please post an answer here (with the name of the Gateway you'll be Guardian for - Frances is available; any name in the table at Category:Gateway Ancestors without a b or a g is available).

Hi Mary Beth! My previous answer was for Claudia, but a bit in it answers your question too. Nope, you can't be a lineal descendant of all of them, as not all 25 had descendants past the 4th generation:

if you ran through the Magna Carta Surety Baron connections at Special:Relationship, only 15 are listed because only 17 (two sets of father/son) have descendants past the 4th generation.

Yes, I ran it through the Magna Carta Surety Baron connections relationship finder.  Is that a fluke or were they from a few common ancestors?
Hi Liz-

I appreciate your response to this question as it raises one of my own. I seem to be directly related to 15 of the 17 Magna Carta Surety Barons. Can this be possible? It seems like a lot!

Thanks for the further clarification

Patty Almond

I will check details. But it is posible that many of them were relatives, which could be why one finds so many

Sorry for the delayed reply...

Yes, if you're related to one, you're probably related to most (there are two, William d'Aubigné and William de Lanvallei, that have fewer descendants and don't seem to as inter-related as the others).

Cheers, Liz

yes, everyone single one of them is a great grandfather of me & my siblings and cousins
Me, too!  There must be a common ancestor up the line somewhere.
They were allies and peers & their families intermarried a lot.
I'm related to all via Wyatt, Rogers , or Stillwell to all of them. One of those had a couple Warren connections that are not confident links

12 Answers

+9 votes
I'm a direct decendant of Bigod, but I was, unfortunately, turned down twice for the pre-1500 badge requirement.

Not a big deal as I keep on doing the best I can... :-D

~Brian Kerr
by Brian Kerr G2G6 Mach 5 (58.8k points)
Hi Brian

Thanks for your comment and for following Magna Carta Project posts to G2G.  Do you have any interest in joining the Magna Carta Project ?

David Douglass
I'm interested, but I don't meet the pre-1500 requirement. :-(

~Brian Kerr

Brian you don't have to be Pre-1500 certified to join the project but Pre-1700 self certification is required however.  All you need to do is decide which level you want to join at, Badged or Affiliate ?   Badged members have to meet participation requirements while Affiliate members do not.  

Check out for more info

Sorry for the delay in my response...

Thank you very much for pointing this out and I do apologize for my overlooking this requirement.

I've been personally debating whether or not i would join this project and had decided to delay it for another time.

I'm currently a part of a handful of other projects and I don't feel that I would be able to place enough attention to this project that it deserves.

I do thank you for your time and understanding with this. I'll definitely keep this under consideration for a more appropriate time to join.

I wish you (and the project) the best of luck in continuing to help make WikiTree a better and stronger tree for all.

~Brian Kerr


Also keep in mind that participation in a project such as Magna Carta where the majority of the profiles we work on are Pre-1700 and Pre-1500 may increase the likelihood of qualifying for Pre-1500 certification.

+6 votes
Some of my Magna Carta surety ancestors include Hugh Bigod, William Marshal, William Mowbray, Gilbert declare, Richard de Clare, William Malet, and William Huntingfield.  I have noticed some of the other surnames on list around that era and am interested in this topic now after reading upon this challenge and realizing I had so many of them in my tree. I would be good to add more resources and do more research on these ancestors. Fascinating history.
by Sherri Harder G2G2 (2.5k points)
Hello Sherri

Would you have an interest in joining the Magna Carta Project ?  We have plenty of room for interested researchers.

David Douglass
+5 votes

Someone not on the list of gateway ancestors who should be (who I only just discovered is likely one of my ancestors): Margaret Domville, born 1610 in Lymm, Cheshire, who married first Richard Hatton and second Richard Banks and died 1657 in St. Mary's County, Maryland. According to the relationship finder she is a descendant of the following surety barons: Hugh le Bigod, Gilbert de Clare, Richard de Clare, Robert de Vere, John de Lacy, William de Mowbray, and Saier de Quincy. She is also a descendant of "illustrious men" William Marshal, William de Warenne, and William Longespée.

by C Handy G2G6 Mach 6 (70k points)
edited by C Handy
Links found on the relationship finder should be seen as "work in progress" needing a full check, not necessarily correct. That is why project checking these lines are so important. If your line has not been checked then the chances are very high in my experience that it is not real.

I'm quite aware of the SGM posts and participated in those discussions myself at the time (The line through a daughter of William Hatton who married John Lowe and then Thomas Mudd would be "only recently discovered" ancestry); Margaret Domville's ancestry was unknown until relatively recently and isn't in Richardson since it was discovered after Plantagenet Ancestry  and Magna Carta Ancestry were published (but is in Gary Boyd Roberts' updated "Royal Descents of 900 immigrants" and the list of accepted gateway ancestors for the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne, etc).

And see also Nathan W. Murphy, "The English Origin and Royal Descent of Margaret Domville, the Wife of Robert Hatton of Lymm, Cheshire and John Banks of Maryland," The American Genealogist 87 (2015):pp. 226–235, 285–298.

Good. I did not realize, so I checked, but not everyone will do that. Remember that most posts on wikitree which complain about a missing gateway ancestor are probably not going to be well-founded. So you don't want to be mistaken for one of those.

The project's goal is to have a badged trail for each Richardson-documented Gateway Ancestor, and we're a long way from achieving that, so we don't focus on gateways that aren't documented in Magna Carta Ancestry or Royal Ancestry.

To add a gateway to the project, submit the proposed trail to WikiTree-36. The trail should have clear primary proof for each parent/child connection until it hits someone who is documented by Richardson.

Cheers, Liz

edit - the gateway would also need to have immigrated prior to 1700. Sorry, should have mentioned that.

Here's Richardson on soc.genealogy.medieval (cites and references for each generation from Sir William Stanley down to Margaret Domville):

Hi again! Michael Cayley's looked this over and agrees. Thanks!

 (Michael is one of the project's co-leaders & project co-ordinator for research.)

Thank you, C Handy, for drawing Margaret Domville to the attention of Liz Shiflett and myself. I have now formally made Margaret Domville a Gateway Ancestor for Magna Carta Project purposes, adopted her profile for the Project, and have added work on the trail from her to Surety Baron Saher de Quincy to my to-do list. Part of the trail - from her ancestor Thomas Stanley to Saher de Quincy - has already been worked on and badged for a different Magna Carta trail leading to another of Thomas Stanley's descendants.

+5 votes
Is it unusual for WikiTree's relationship finder report that someone is descended from all but 2 of the Surety Barons and be cousins to the remaining?!?

I just checked them & had it report that for my profile.

Have some of my ancestors been tied in wrong?
by Brian McCullough G2G3 (3.2k points)

just posted another answer... all but 2 is pretty normal. Copied from my other comment:

Yes, if you're related to one, you're probably related to most (there are two, William d'Aubigné and William de Lanvallei, that have fewer descendants and don't seem to as inter-related as the others).

Cheers, Liz

I am related to 15 listed including those two.    There were 25 right ? Does wiki have relationship finder for those too ?

Yup, there were 25. Only 17 had descendants past the 4th generation. The Special:Relationship list has only 15, since there were two sets of father/son (the Bigods and the Clares - if you're descended from the son, you're also descended from the father).

You can see links for all 25 on the Magna Carta Project page and in this category.

Thanks Liz!! Yes I found the rest of them in the project. Re-read all the Magna Carts history a few months ago after finding so many connections, cool history.
+3 votes
I appear to be a descendent of many of the Magna Carta signers, all unproven at this point.  Would like to participate in the project to help and learn more about signers and time period.

Hi Mark! To join the project as an Affiliate, just post {{Member|Magna Carta Affiliate}} to your profile. To join as a badged member, please post the name of the Gateway you'll be Guardian for - any name in the table at Category:Gateway Ancestors without a b or a g is available. (Badged members have participation requirement; Affiliate members don't.)

Cheers, Liz

+4 votes
I am descended from the following Plantagenets Henry II, King John and Henry III and Edward I if that is any help. It is likely I have persons on both sides if I went back further.
by Anonymous Whiting G2G2 (2.1k points)
+4 votes
Hawte Wyatt- 10th great grandfather.
by Janice Sutherland G2G6 Mach 3 (32k points)

Cool! We just had a project member working on that profile. He's already in a badged trail, but does not have a Guardian. If you'd like to join the project, you can be the Gateway Guardian for his profile but you would also need to select another Gateway to be guardian for & develop the trail for to meet participation requirements (one without a b or a g by their name in the table at ).

+4 votes
Greetings, since 1997 I've been working on a tree that my great-grandmother developed.  I was a librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library so I do have skills...many of the fantasy Victorian genealogies were snipped off, but it does appear solid that we are descended from English nobility, including a few barons who were present for the Magna Carta, through Governor Edmund Jennings (Jennings-359).  WikiTree says I am also related through Henry Greer (Greer-685), but I've read actual documentation debunking his parentage, and there are several notes on the profile.  I'm proud to be able to trace this history - and it has been a fascinating way to learn history - but I don't let it go to my head.  We are all related, and I like that this site takes sourcing seriously.  I'm still a librarian so I have that to offer.
by Joel Rane G2G Crew (570 points)
Hi Joel! We'd love to have you join us as an Affiliate (you have a month to go to meet "longevity" requirement for joining as a Badged member).

Greer is not a Richardson-documented Gateway, but Jennings is.

To join as an Affiliate, just add {{Member|Magna Carta Affiliate}} to your profile.

Cheers, Liz
Cheers, let me know how I can help.  I'm busy but I'm always nibbling away at my tree.
+4 votes
I  would like to become an affiliate.  Frances Dighton and Mary Launce Sherman are the gateway ancestors that I know of, but there might be more,  Frances is my eighth great grandmother,  I have completed the England Orphan Trail and have also been a trailblazer.  I have pre-1700 self-certification and because of my work on the England Project, I am reasonably comfortable with 1500-1700 profiles although I still have a lot to learn.

Peggy Moss (Haskell-1588)
by Peggy Moss G2G6 Mach 1 (18.8k points)

Welcome Peggy! To become an Affiliate member, post {{Member|Magna Carta Affiliate}} to your profile.

Funny, Claudia posted earlier & she's a descendant of Frances also - but as of now, Frances is still available if you wanted to join as a Badged member as Gateway Guardian for her. Let me know! (Either way, send a join request to the project's Google Group - include your WikiTree ID so we know it's you :)

I'm slow! I just saw that you'd already added the Affiliate sticker :D

Peggy does great work for the England Project, working with new members on the Orphan Trail, and she has added a lot of important info the Haskell family. I think she'd be a great member of the team!
Thanks so much for the endorsement Traci.
+3 votes
Hi there all:)   Wiki relationship finder shows me related to all 25 of the Magna Carta Barons  most direct relationships at 24th to 28th Great Grandfathers !   Two at 1st cousin, xxxxx... Removed, 3 at Great Grand Uncles.    I would like to be in the Affiliate project for now.   The line seems to be mostly the Cole and Luther families.   How do you figure out what the Gateway Ancestor is considered and if that ancestor is being tended by the project ?
by Loretta Morrison G2G6 Mach 1 (12.7k points)
edited by Loretta Morrison

Welcome Loretta! To join as an affiliate, add {{Member|Magna Carta Affiliate}} to your profile. The project's Gateway Ancestors are listed at Category:Gateway Ancestors

You can check your relationship to the sureties at this link:

If your immigrant ancestor was pre-1700, they'll be about 9 generations back (give or take a few).

Ok, thanks I will add  the sticker tomorrow.  I am already pre-1700, not feeling quite ready to jump into pre 1500 yet. I get it the Gateway is your immigrant ancestor to US in the line, thanks for clearing that up for me.
+2 votes
I have a question, I went from no relations to magna carta to now related as 1,2,3,4 cousins and "niece", (so since i last checked more lines have been interconnected on wktr). My question is in relationship finder shows up as my 25th grandfather, does this mean there is a direct line gateway ancestor or no?  I also just found that is 24th grfather, sooo totally at a loss here? how do I figure out the gateways?
by Arora Anonymous G2G6 Mach 5 (56.5k points)
edited by Arora Anonymous

The Gateway Ancestors in the Magna Carta Project immigrated to America prior to 1700. Take a look at the names at [Category:Gateway Ancestors] & see if any look familiar. In a trail returned by Special:Relationship, the immigrant ancestor is usually about generation 9 or 10 (give or take a couple).

If you weren't connected before but now you are, that means somewhere along the line there was an addition to your tree.  Any new-to-you names in the trail?

p.s. I went to see if I recognized anyone in your trail to Bigod-2... when I do that, I'll click "Relationship to me" to get the Special:Relationship page up - we're cousins :D

Arora (G) Anonymous and Liz (Noland) Shifflett are both descendants of Jean (Guyon) Guyon du Buisson.

oh hey! I did recognize someone: - daughter of Surety Baron Roger le Bigod. Trails from her are not as developed as others, but Richardson does document her to Gateway Ancestor Robert  Drake (see Richardson's ''Magna Carta Ancestry,'' volume II, page 90 DRAKE).

Mary has loads of descendants, see footnote 121 here

But there's only the one book line, down to Neville-59.  And that section is marooned, surrounded by profiles that are badged already.  It's the only Neville line not badged yet.

The FitzRandolphs of Spennithorne are also descendants of Mary Bigod, but they aren't in the book, owing to lack of unproblematic connections to any colonists.

So, I'm looking something up in Watson's Halifax and I come across a Batte story I'd missed.  There was a Vicar of Halifax, Richard Marsh, whose flavour of God wasn't Puritanical enough for some tastes, so the Roundheads went round to the vicarage to tell him what would happen if he was still there next time.  Or perhaps this was the next time.

Anyway, they couldn't find him, but there was a bulge in the bed, so they stabbed it.  The bulge was his pregnant wife, sister of Capt John Batte, who scarpered to Virginia before they came for him.  She went into labour and had the baby and died.  The baby lived and probably has descendants.

(They'll be telling us all next year how the Puritans fled from persecution to religious freedom)

Anyway, what I learnt was, Rev Richard Marsh came from Berkshire, and doesn't seem to be related to the Yorkshire Marshes I was looking at.  And the said Yorkshire Marshes, obscure minor gentry, descend from Mary Bigod, through the FitzRandolphs.

But the connection wasn't in place, because the key player Isabel Saville-114 had been deparented in the gedcom import years ago.  So I hooked her up to her father, this very afternoon.

Little realizing that all colonial immigrants called Marsh are apparently descended from this obscure one-horse minor gentry family (with a Magna Carta and Charlemagne line), even though Marsh is a common name across most of England.

Which is where we came in, because this rigmarole explains why Arora has these lines she didn't have yesterday.

Wow RJ want to find me a William Malet connection? :)
Wow RJ! Thanks so much!!
holymoly all of you! I was busy doing sourcing and had noooo idea what was going on in here!  Ok so do I get this right.. one of the new ancestors is this Rev. Richard Marsh was a ..scalliwag of sorts? less than puritanical?  hmmm fits right in my figures! rofl.  Does this mean this line looks correct at this point?

(I've connected to Charlemagne thru others lines as well)

Also so the Bigot line is thru Robert Drake (is he the gateway ancestor?)

And YAAAY Liz !  another cousin!!!  thank you all for all of this info. I was reading it in my email notices just laughing  ( not the stabbing..jeez ppl were way to serious back then punishment was harsh and deathly!)the story bout the Rev. just did me in. too funny.

No sorry, it was all an irrelevant digression.

The vicar wasn't really misbehaving.  But the Puritans were the sort of people who thought you'd go to hell for having a fringe on an altar-cloth.

He comes in because his poor wife belongs to a different Magna Carta family, the Battes.  She gets a name-check in "Royal Ancestry", but the genealogy books miss the stories.

Your line goes back to this poor boy

Born a Farnsworth in Massachusetts, he was captured by Indians and taken to Canada and turned into a Frenchman.

Of course you didn't put this line in place, you only connected up to what was there already.

Then the internet has traced back to the Farnsworth immigrant, and connected him to a Lancashire couple (without a source).

This makes the immigrant's mother a Marsh, so then they found a family called Marsh with a Magna Carta line and connected her to that family (without a source).

There's a lot of this on the internet.  And on WikiTree.  But in this case, it hadn't been noticed before because the Magna Carta line was accidentally broken higher up.

Fascinating story, I explored the parish record's and  found the marriage of Elizabeth Batte to Richard  Marshe at Birstall in 1634.Only found one son  from this marriage, Henry baptised in 1637  (others from earlier marriage were also baptised at Birstall.) After move to Halifax, found one baptism of a daughter in 1642 but she was buried the same day. (there may be more, both of these are big parishes and not brilliantly  written or indexed by ancestry)  Elizabeth's burial seems to have been in Dec 1643, stark entry uxor Rich Marsh. Have listed them in comments on Richard's profile and added her children to Elizabeth's profile
Thank you RJ for removing my confusion again. lol  As for Matthias Farnsworth -(into Canada=Phaneuf) yep, I knew about his connections but have not done any research on him past his parents at this point. still searching for his infos, but have been working on many other lines that still need connecting back to this century. So thank you RJ.
+3 votes
Hello Again David! :-)

I apologize for the long delay in responding to you, but after thinking about this for a while, I had decided to join in on the fun of the "Magna Carta Project".

I had gone through much of the information provided and I would like to know if you require any further information and such from me to join in on this project.

Thank you very much for both the offer and prompt response regarding the clarification you had provided.

~Brian Kerr
by Brian Kerr G2G6 Mach 5 (58.8k points)
Hi Brian! The project has two levels of membership - Affiliate & Badged. To become an Affiliate member, just copy/paste the following into your profile:

{{Member|Magna Carta Affiliate}}

To become a Badged member, you'll need to pick a Gateway Ancestor to be guardian for. See the list at & pick one with neither "g" nor "b" (if one is your lineal ancestor, give me a holler - we allow "double" guardians in such cases, but you'd still need a trail to develop, which will probably mean you'll need to also pick a second Gateway).

Cheers, Liz
I was looking at becoming a Badge Member I've previously added the badge for the 2 gateway ancestors "Hugh & Roger Le Bigod" on my profile page.

I hope this was what you were referring to regarding the identification of the gateway ancestors.

~Brian Kerr

The Bigods are Surety Barons. I poked around your tree a bit & didn't see any names that looked familiar to me as being within the scope of the project... they're listed at Category:Gateway Ancestors. Do any names look familiar to you?

I posted a comment on your profile with a link to the project's Glossary (which defines project-specific terms, including Gateway Guardian).

oh - WikiTree uses the term "badge" to refer to the Project Member Badge (on the profile of a Badged Member). They're different than project boxes (which are used on profiles managed by a project) and stickers (which are used just about anywhere), which are both templates.

Cheers, Liz
If I did this right, following should be an image of the project's badge:

nope. but the link takes you to the image.
Okay... I hope I have this right. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

It's not the direct descendent your looking for, but the specific decent/individual who had came to America.

It would be my direct connection to that individual who has been identified as a direct descendent of one or more of the Magna Carta Surety Baron.

So this Middle Man/Woman (so to speak) would be that Gateway Ancestor connecting me to the Magna Carta Surety Baron(s).

I hope I had stated the above okay via text... LOL!

~Brian Kerr

from the project's glossary:

gateway ancestor (lowercase) any ancestor, usually the immigrant ancestor, who is descended from royalty or other notable (such as a surety baron) n/a
Gateway Ancestor as used by the project, one of the 200+ immigrant ancestors listed by Richardson in his Magna Carta Ancestry Category:Gateway Ancestors

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+10 votes
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