Sometimes, we may use a particularly refined word and wonder, "Am I related to royalty?"
While you may not gain a rite to the throne or attend any balls, learning about a hidden royal ancestry is an exciting moment. Little gemstones like that are part of the joy of engaging in genealogical studies. Not to mention, it is an excellent bragging point at dinner parties.
Searching through your family tree for a drop of royal blood is often complicated. Depending on the connection, There may be some practical use to the knowledge. We're here to answer the burning question of if you're descended from royalty.
Starting Your Quest for Royal Roots
Genealogical research is the systematic study of a family history. It involves much more than tracing your finger up the family tree, as most families fail to record many off-shoots and events. Luckily, royal lineages are precise with family records since hereditary monarchies depend on them for succession.
However, even if you're not related to royalty, understanding the past can paint the present in a new light. It can help you grasp the relationships between family members in different generations and better appreciate your family's struggles.
Genealogy is a fascinating pursuit that holds significance for countless reasons, but getting started requires some leg work.
Gathering Initial Information
Historical archives are a great resource, but if the government manages them, they're bound to lose a few things. So, like most journeys, the first step starts from home.
Tap into the wealth of information that's been kept within the family. Many families are proud of their history, and the older generations will readily share anecdotes about their lives. Grandma's stories may contain little nuggets that help you get past a wall when you're deep in research.
Some families even keep old, handwritten family trees. These are often held by the most trustworthy or senior clan member. You can run in-depth "people searches" and uncover facts you'd never imagined.
Other great resources close to home are family artifacts, old photographs, and birth records. Memorabilia, in particular, can provide insight into your ancestors' lifestyle and social status. These are invaluable indicators of a long-lost connection to royalty.
Utilizing Online Genealogy Resources
Whereas your grandparents might have pored over dusty parchments, the digital age has revolutionized genealogical research. Government birth, marriage, divorce, and death records are constantly migrated to online databases, and there's a vast array of previously unattainable information at the ready.
Genealogical websites are gaining significant traction as people become more interested in their roots and culture. Platforms like Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch are fantastic services with access to extensive historical data and census records.
These online tools will help fill gaps in your family tree and connect with relatives you never knew existed. They even have exciting features like "famous connections" filters that greatly filter your searches.
Most families marry into a royal lineage, so access to marriage and divorce records is of high value to connecting with royal roots.
Delving Deeper into Historical Records
Now, the easy and accessible part is mostly over. Buckle up. Discovering a solid connection to royalty takes a lot of hard work, especially if it's been deliberately forgotten.
A lot of data has been moved to online resources, but not all of it. To dig deeper into your royal ancestry, visiting historical archives and libraries that can provide access to primary source materials is essential. Being surrounded by original records will also add a bit of excitement to your journey into the past.
As you travel further into the past, you'll rely more on secondary records. As hard as it is to believe, modern documentation is the best it's ever been. Deep research may depend on land records, enlistment records, bondsmen, and dowry agreements.
Heraldry is a system of displaying your lineage through a coat of arms, flag, or armorial bearings. These were granted by senior heralds under the Crown's authority and were a source of great pride for noble families. Heraldry was traditionally used for identifying groups in official settings such as battles, funerals, and land grants.
Heraldic records serve as valuable resources for anyone tracing their family history. Some death certificates and gravestones will have these symbols emblazoning them. If you see anything resembling heraldry, you must broaden your search for similar illustrations.
Distant connections require distant resources—English nobility records and population surveys date back to the 11th Century A.D. If you've found a coat of arms on any family member's documents, the same symbol will likely be used in one of the following resources.
- Domesday Book: A comprehensive survey of the populations of England and Wales. It was commissioned by William the Conqueror and includes facts about land ownership, tenants, and noble estates. Copies can be bought from The National Archives Shop of the U.K.
- Hundred Rolls: These document land ownership and obligations of many noble families under King Edward I. They provide insights into the nobility's wealth, influence, and inheritances.
- Inquisitions Post Mortem: These inquiries were conducted to determine the exact value of a deceased person's estate. They can be compared to a modern audit. These records detail facts about the land, titles, and heirs of past nobility.
- Court of Chivalric Records: If your family's coat of arms suddenly stops appearing in records, its removal is likely recorded in these documents. These cover disputes over heraldry, challenges to arms, and the enforcement of heraldic laws.
Identifying Signs of Royal Ancestry
Going through centuries of a family's lifespan can take decades of your own. However, if you're specifically hunting for a royal connection, there are several definitive signs to skim for.
Recognizing Noble and Royal Names and Titles
Another telltale sign of a royal connection is any mention of a royal title. Rolls of peerage grant notable titles to families such as Duke, Earl, Marquis, and Baron. Many countries use unique versions of these titles, but they all indicate some level of nobility.
Linking Family History to Historical Figures
Connecting your ancestry to known historical figures is a fascinating method of filtering unnecessary leads. The secret is to hunt down the most likely candidates.
Cross-reference timelines for your ancestor's movements across the globe. If your family originated from Germany in the 1600s, it's unlikely that you'll find a connection with a 13th-century British monarch.
A great starting point is to examine family members' birth and death records in your chosen period. These documents often tell the event's location, and you can visibly map out your family's geographic journey.
Seeking Professional Help and Joining Societies
If your journey into royal ancestry becomes too complex, consider consulting professional genealogists. There's no shame in asking for help. These experts are well-practiced in navigating intricate and vague family histories and can track yours through the centuries. Their expertise can be invaluable in uncovering hidden connections and validating your royal ancestry.
Joining Ancestry and Lineage Societies
If you want a little help and support in your endeavor, Ancestry and Lineage Societies offer just that. These societies often keep strict membership requirements, which proves their seriousness in preserving and researching their heritage. Finding a family connection in these groups is possible; they can point you in a new direction.
Of course, there's a balance to it all, and you don't want to join the wrong crowd. There are zealots for all groups and races; you must judge if it's the right atmosphere for your goals.
Learning about a royal connection might add a zest of excitement, but tracing your royal ancestry is a rewarding journey no matter the results. It combines the joy of historical exploration with the fun of detective work.
You might learn lost tidbits about relatives, like why your grandfather had a constant cough or why your great-great-granduncle is missing his left eye. By understanding your past, you can better connect with your current culture and family.