Archive for November, 2021


My inconstant claim to the English Throne

Way back in 2018, we discovered and mentioned that we are a direct descendant of Henry I of England, Henry Beauclerc, who was all king and stuff (at least according to FamilySearch).

As I noted at the time, FamilySearch’s universally-editable family tree of everyone ever has data-quality problems on the order of your average public restroom wall. And when I’ve gone back to admire my royal connection (a distinction shared by roughly every other human on the planet), it’s generally been broken in one or more ways.

Last night when I checked (because I posted about my eleventh novel and was reading random other weblog entries after), it was only slightly broken (although it took quite a bit of faffing about to find the loose ends on either side), and I thought I would try to record it here and see just how long my begats would end up.

(I also discovered that my mother’s father’s father’s parents were like sixth cousins once removed; isn’t that fascinating?)

Let’s try doing this as a list or something, to keep it maybe compact, since there are a lot of begats here. This is all according to the FamilySearch tree as of this moment; it will be different when you read it quite likely. And for that matter it’s rather confusing at the moment, as there are multiple places where different little boxes in the tree clearly refer to the same person, but whatever.

  • Henry Beauclerc, born 1068, was Henry I, King of England, and he and an unknown woman begat
  • Alice or Alix Fitzroy, born 1099 (“Fitzroy” is said to mean “illegitimate son of the monarch”, but apparently it can also refer to a daughter, likely equally illegitimate) who wed Mathieu I of Montmorency and begat
  • Bouchard V de Montmorency, born 1129, who wed Laura de Hainaut and begat
  • Mathieu II de Montmorency, born 1168 (or 1174), who wed Gertrude de Soissons (or de Nesle) and begat
  • Bouchard VI de Montmorency (frugal with given names, these Montmorencys), born 1190, who wed Isabeau de Laval and begat
  • Mathieu III de Montmorency, born 1221, who wed Jeanne de Brienne and begat
  • Mathieu IV de Montmorency, born 1252, who wed Jeanne de Lévis Mirepoix and begat
  • Jean de Montmorency, born 1280, who wed Jeanne de Calletot (aw, John and Jane) and begat
  • Charles de Montmorency, born 1307, who wed (not Jeanne but) Perenelle de Villiers and begat
  • Jacques de Montmorency, born 1370 (yikes, Charles!), who wed Philippa de Melun (someone had put “18th” after her name in the tree for no apparent reason; I deleted it, heh heh) and begat
  • Jean de Montmorency II (why not Jean II de Montmorency?), born 1404, who wed someone and begat
  • Jean III de Montmorency (there we go), born 1422, who wed Gudula Vilain and begat
  • Philippe de Montmorency de Liedekerke (it says here), born 1466, who wed Marie Van Horns (a name whose like we will encounter again) and begat
  • Joseph de Montmorencey Nivelles, born 1497, who wed Ann von Egmond and begat
  • Philip IV de Montmorency, born 1526. It appears that his father Joseph (or Jozef) died in 1530, and his mother Ann remarried, to Johan II, Count of Horn, described as “one of the wealthiest nobles of the Netherlands” (and who was perhaps childless himself?). Johan left the title Count of Horn to his wife’s children on condition that they take his name, which is why genealogy is hard. Anyway, Philip accordingly became Count of Horn, and he wed Gräfin Walburgis von Neuenahr-Moers (someone had put the “von” at the end of the name and I moved it to the middle where it belongs; aita?) and begat
  • Christian Barent Van Horn, born 1569 who wed Aeltie Jans van Sutphen and begat
  • Barent Barents VanHorn, born 1599, who wed Mary Baerts and here is the current discontinuity, in that there is also an entry for one Cornelius Christiaesne Van Horne, born 1596, no parents listed, who wed Maria Baerts. Same guy? A sibling who married the same lady? Is “Christiaesne” really a thing? It’s probably supposed to be “Christiansen”, which suggests his father is named Christian. It is all a mystery! But in any case Cornelius and Maria, who may also be Barent and Mary, begat
  • Jan Corneliesen Van Horne, born 1618, who wed Hillegonde Joris and begat
  • Joris Jansen Van Horne, born 1645, who wed Maria Rutgers in 1659 in New York, NY (and look how modern we’re getting!) and begat
  • Styntje Joris Van Horne, born “before 1677”, who wed David Cossart and begat
  • Francis Cossart, born 1717, who wed Marigritie Van Nest and begat
  • David Cossart (“wouldn’t it be fun if he had exactly the same name as his grampa?”), born 1742, who wed Sarah Van Duyn and begat
  • Francis Cassatt (“wouldn’t it be fun if he had the same name as his grampa, but with random spelling differences in the surname?”), born 1766, who wed Martha “Mattie” Van Zant (love how they included the nickname here; good ol’ Mattie) and begat apparently nine or more children including
  • Bernard Austin Cassat (“that second T was a bit much really”), born 1814, who wed Mary Couns and begat
  • Massillon Cassat, born 1838, who wed Emma Eliza Smethurst and begat
  • Helen Paxton Cassatt (“always liked that second T myself”), born 1892, who wed Abraham Chess and begat
  • William Chess, born 1927, who wed Susan Leland and begat
  • Me, born [PII REDACTED], who wed M and begat
  • The kids!

So there we go! Just (1, 2, 3, 4…) like 27 generations between Henry I and me. England, get ready!


Aaaaannnd… done!

As readers who are really overthinking this may suspect, the just-barely-over-goal number means that the story was done at somewhat under fifty thousand words, and I ended up going back through it and finding areas that would benefit from another paragraph or two.

No entire filler chapters, though!

And only a smallish amount of using the “anything at all fits in here” device that many of my NaNoWriMo stories have (in this case, the quasi-entheogenic drug “White Stripe”).

I used GPT-style AIs only for things like “a list of obscure but excellent wines”. And even in those cases, I typed say “hotel names in Missouri” more often into Google than into say AIDungeon.

This turned out to be basically a love story (happy ending and all, and I don’t think that’s really a spoiler), with a few oddities, and some areas that are wide-open for a sequel; maybe next November we’ll explore what Agnes’s father was really up to, and whether he’s alive.

I’ll be reading it over (unless I don’t) for the rest of the month, but basically it’s done. Woot!

For those coming in late, a list of all the NaNoWriMo novels prior to 2020 is (for some reason) here. To that list we might add:

  • In 2020 I wrote All Reality, inspired by playing so much with GPT-style AI text generators, in which the characters mostly deal in various ways with the fact that reality is infinitely malleable.
  • And now in 2021 I wrote Snack Bar Only, a novel based on an ancient story idea of mine, about an unnamed protagonist who travels between golf course restaurants (and snack bars) in his red pickup truck.

So that’s eleven novels! Or novellas, really, or something. I suspect the number of readers is of roughly the same order of magnitude as the number of writers :) but hey, it’s a lot of fun.


So I blew that early lead, but…

Still moving along, and on track for the end of the month.

It occurs to me that this one and the last two before it are all, to some degree, about choosing one’s own reality. Or at least about choosing to be in a reality besides the default one. fwiw…

As usual and still, the current up-to-the-minute draft is available (ummm) here.


Chugging along!

I wrote well over two thousand words each of the first three days of the month, somehow.

Then I slacked off a bit on Thursday the fourth (still above the 1,666 minimum, though), basically took the day off on Friday, and then did an easy two-thousand-plus again today.

So we’re currently at like 16,247 words, which would be good progress for day after tomorrow. So woot!

I don’t really know why it’s going so well. I haven’t been talking to or otherwise using any of the GPT-style AIs recently, for reasons related to the novel, or even at all. (My vague impression is that after the initial quite a long time of amazement and playing around, one has become quite aware of their abilities and especially their limitations, and there aren’t really any surprises anymore. I should probably look and see how many I’m paying some monthly subscription to, in fact, and see if there aren’t a few too many.)

It’s true that the basic premise has been floating around in my head for years, but that was probably not much more than a thousand words of content. The narrator’s style is wordy and somewhat repetitive (or just thorough!), which may help.

But basically the ideas and places and events just kept flowing!

We’ll see if that continues. :)


It Begins (NaNoWriMo 2021)

Here it is November already!

And I’ve started writing the 2021 novel.

It’s based (so far anyway, and I’m a couple of thousand words in, so proooobably it’ll stay that way) on the tiny Snack Bar Only snippet that I wrote years and years ago (and still rather like).

The working title is the same, the basic premise is the same, the viewpoint is slightly different (third-person-mostly-limited rather than first person), and I’m sure the voice is different also, to an extent, given the years in between and so on.

For those just joining us or needing a refresher, this weblog entry from last year summarizes my prior National Novel Writing Month activities. The 2020 novel came out quite nicely, I thought, and I am vaguely optimistic about this year. I have a few things in my head that I plan to have happen in the story already, so I’ll have something to start on tomorrow (unless I get antsy tonight and write more and use up the things).

It looks like no longer offers custom URL endings for free accounts, so I don’t be able to make a fancy URL like the that I had last year. (Why isn’t everything that I want, free?)

So I will just give the extremely long link this way. :)

And apparently that’s all I’m going to say here at the moment. Exciting to be starting yet another of these endeavors; now back to the novel! Or not!