Posts tagged ‘genealogy’


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!


Wrong Side of the Blanket

I am totally a descendant of Henry I of England, aka Henry Beauclerc, who was born in like 1068, which was a very long time ago!

And King!

At least if we believe Family Search, which is the Mormons, who are making sure that everyone who converts has a full record of their family tree so that they can go back through it and do the appropriate ritual to make sure that all of their ancestors can (if they want to) get into the right Realm or whatever; but it has the nice side-effect of making this huge genealogy database thing that the rest of us can use, too.

It has two parts: a vast database of public records of various kinds, digitized and indexed by all sorts of things; and a sort of huge family-tree Wiki which anyone who signs up (for free!) can edit, which is both wonderful and horribly full of data-quality problems omg you wouldn’t believe it.

I wrote to one person, on the system, asking her why she’d removed one very correct-looking father-son relationship from the Family Tree part, and she replied asking who the heck I was, and why I was questioning edits that she’d made to her own family tree? She was rather surprised to be told that the family tree is actually shared between everyone, and that her pruning out of relationships that she wasn’t personally interested in had been messing up everyone else’s trees, too.

In another part of my family tree, someone has been busy for the last two months changing the name associated with one particular entry back and forth between two completely different names. I’m guessing this is because they don’t actually understand how the interface works. They have also completely merged the information of two as far as I can see entirely different couples; the information from the two husbands has been merged into one, as has the information from the two wives. The resulting horrible mess has so far discouraged me from going in and actually doing anything about it, other than adding an incredulous annotation to the page.

But anyway! Descended from Henry I! King of England!

Great great great etc gramps

Great great great etc gramps

Henry, it seems, had an illegitimate daughter named variously Aline or Alix or Alice Fitzroy and/or von England, by a woman whose name is unknown at least to me. This daughter cleverly married Matthieu (or Matthew) I of Montmorency, which led to a line of like a dozen more dudes of Montmorency, named Matthew and Charles and Jean and Phillipe and Joseph and Jacques and things, until we suddenly get to Christian Berent Van Horn, born in about 1570. Not immediately clear what happened to Montmorency.

We then have four or five generations of Van Horns, until Styntje Van Horn marries one David Cossart in New York, America, in 1696. There is then a bit of a mess, or to be frank a horrible mess, as various Cossarts and Cossats and Cassets, all named David and/or Francis, father each other for a few generations, until we get to the birth of the memorably-named Massillon Cassat in the more civilized year of 1840. He has a daughter, she has a son, and that son marries my mother, and they beget me.


So there you can see my descent, in terms of both ancestry and social status, from Henry I of England, through all them Montmorencies and Van Horns and Cassats, to your humble weblogger, sitting here with tennis happening on the TV.

Isn’t nature wonderful!

(And since it’s all on a random Wiki that your Uncle Irving could randomly switch all of the relationships around in at any time, any or all of it, at least before the last Cassat daughter of whom I have memories of personal testimony, could be utterly made up! But we don’t let that worry us; the past is always uncertain, even moreso than the future.)