Project: Magna Carta

Categories: Magna Carta Project

Welcome to the Magna Carta Project!

Artist rendering of King John reluctantly signing Magna Carta, overseen by barons and abbots.

About Magna Carta

Magna Carta (Great Charter) was an agreement on 15 June 1215 between John, King of England, and twenty-five rebellious barons, establishing certain limits on the authority of the king. For centuries thereafter, it was considered a foundation of English law.

The ideals of Magna Carta inspired notions of individual liberty in the charters of the English colonies in North America, and later the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Surety Barons

William d'Albini
Hugh Bigod
Roger Bigod
Henry de Bohun
Gilbert de Clare
Richard de Clare
John (Clavering) FitzRobert
Robert FitzWalter
William de Forz
William Hardell
William de Huntingfield
John de Lacy
William de Lanvalay
William Malet
Geoffrey de Mandeville
William Marshal
Roger de Montbegon
Richard de Montfichet
William de Mowbray
Richard de Percy
Saher de Quincy
Robert de Ros
Geoffrey de Say
Robert de Vere
Eustace de Vescy

† These eight barons have no descendants after four generations and do not link to any colonial Gateway Ancestors.

Illustrious Men

Phillipe d’Aubigny
William d'Aubigny
Alan Basset
Thomas Basset
Hubert de Burgh
Warin FitzGerold
Matthew FitzHerbert
Piers FitzHerbert
John FitzHugh
Alan of Galloway
John Marshal
William Marshal
Hugh de Neville
William Longespée
Robert de Roppesley
William de Warenne


The Magna Carta Project exists to categorize and improve profiles of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta; about two hundred proven American colonial Gateway Ancestors who were their descendants; and the documented lineages that connect them. We documented and improved over seventy lineages, and hundreds of profiles on these Magna Carta Trails prior to the 800th anniversary celebration of Magna Carta in June 2015. Although the celebration is over, we continue working on the remaining Trails.

If you have Magna Carta ancestry, or you'd just like to help improve Magna Carta-related profiles on WikiTree, we'd love to have you join us! (First - please review the four points Getting Started below.)

Joining the Magna Carta Project

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 England, Early Pennsylvania Settlers, the Southern Colonies) to nobles in the British isles from the Renaissance and Reformation all the way back to the High Middle Ages. The research skills needed in each area and era are quite different.

Between the seventeen surety barons with descendants, and the two hundred or so known colonial Gateway Ancestors, each trail averages fifteen to twenty generations. This means we have an estimated 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 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 on this project!


Getting Started

Magna Carta Project members must be comfortable creating rigorous, sourced profiles; thoughtfully handling ambiguous and disputed information; and interacting courteously with less-experienced PMs and editors who may, understandably, have passionate feelings about their family's lineage. If you'd like to join the project, or want to understand better what we do, start here:

  1. Find a completed trail on Base Camp and review it from end to end to see the scope of our members' work.
  2. Review the guidelines for our and related projects.
  3. Read "Evolution of a Profile" to see the process of editing a profile up to our project standards.
  4. Review the entries in the third table, Magna Carta Trails Ready to Get Started!!! at Base Camp to see if there are any you'd be interested in working on. Many candidate trails will link up to research already completed by other project members, which makes them a great starting point for newbies.

Having done that, you'll have a better appreciation of what you're signing up for, and you can start your Magna Carta journey with confidence! See the How to Join section (below) for your next steps.

Editing Pre-1700 and Project Protected Profiles

If you have encountered a profile that is protected by the Magna Carta Project, or a pre-1700 profile that is related to Magna Carta, you are not required to join the project to edit the profile, but we do ask you to collaborate with us on your proposed changes. We will be happy to work with you!

In particular, please take a look at our approved sources and Euro Aristo's naming standards (and Cymru project's Naming Guide) to get an idea of the issues affecting Magna Carta profiles.

There are a lot of questionable royal ancestries. Even those published in books may not be proven. Even those with primary sources may not use the evidence accurately. In some cases, the real-life facts might not be knowable today. This can be frustrating, even (especially) for experienced researchers. Please don't take it personally if your favorite ancestors or facts aren't accepted!

Current Members

The Magna Carta badge report lists all current members of the Magna Carta project. To see what project members are working on, check out the badge feed.

Project Leaders

Contact Us

  • Our primary collaboration space is our Base Camp, where you can see what's being worked on now, and opportunities to help out.
  • Browse or follow the magna_carta tag on G2G for project-related questions and discussion.
  • A comment posted on the project profile (WikiTree-36) will be sent as an e-mail to project members who have signed up to receive e-mails from the project's Google Group (the project's discussion space on Google+ is no longer used).

How to Join Us magna_carta.gif

To become a member:
  1. Re-read the project page, especially the four points under Getting Started (above)
  2. Answer "Yes" to the project's G2G "join" post
  3. Add magna_carta to your list of followed tags, and take a look at recent G2G discussions tagged magna_carta
  4. Once you receive your project member badge, send a private message to Liz to receive an invitation to join the project's Google Group
  5. Add [[Category:Magna Carta Project]] to your profile page.
  6. Go to Base Camp and pick a trail to start working on from the third table, "Magna Carta Trails Ready to Get Started!!!" - post a comment at Base Camp that you're taking it on.

Project Guidelines

Magna Carta Project participants (and editors) are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the WikiTree Style Guide and must qualify for the Pre-1700 Badge. We are not part of the European Aristocrats Project ("EuroAristo"), but many Magna Carta profiles fall in both jurisdictions; our members must understand their project standards and coordinate with them where appropriate.

Project Sources

Magna Carta Ancestry and Royal Ancestry by Douglas Richardson are the foundational sources for the Magna Carta Project. Where there is a conflict regarding the facts on a profile, we follow Richardson, unless there is more recent published research that adds to or corrects his work.

The European Aristocrats project uses as its foundational source the Medieval Lands database, maintained by the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy and based on the published works of Charles Cawley. The Puritan Great Migration project uses the Great Migration series by Robert Charles Anderson. These are also accepted as definitive sources for Magna Carta profiles.

Please see the Project Resources page for many more helpful books, websites, and other sources of information.

Naming Standards

We follow the EuroAristo naming standards except for Welsh profiles that follow the Cymru project's naming guidelines. EuroAristo's standards include using the preferred spelling from Medieval Lands for the LNAB and Richardson's spelling, if different, as an Other Last Name.

Project Pages

This page was last modified 20:31, 19 August 2017. This page has been accessed 25,474 times.