“Who Do You Think You Are?”: Charlemagne Connections and English Roots

“Who Do You Think You Are?”: Charlemagne Connections and English Roots

It's actually not unusual to descend from Charlemagne, whom Cindy Crawford learned is in her family tree on last night's "Who Do You Think You Are?" As noted in the show, the eighth-century Frankish king had 20 children with different women (with eight of 10 known wives or concubines)...

 

It’s actually not unusual to descend from Charlemagne, whom Cindy Crawford learned is in her family tree on last night’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” As noted in the show, the eighth-century Frankish king had 20 children with eight of 10 known wives or concubines.

Cindy Drawford's Family Tree

Charlemagne, who lived from April 2, 742, to Jan. 28, 814, was Cindy Crawford’s 41st-great-grandfather.

Lots of Us Are Related to Charlemagne

When you go back 40 generations, and you have roughly a trillion ancestors—which is more than the number of people who existed during Charlemagne’s time. (Virtually all family trees have consanguineous marriages, so the same person will appear in multiple places in a tree.)

This NationalGeographic.com article explains how there comes a point in history when “all individuals who have any descendants among the present-day individuals” (that’s us) “are actually ancestors of all present-day individuals.”

and

“all Europeans alive today have among their ancestors the same man or woman who lived around 1400 … . About a thousand years ago, a peculiar situation prevailed: 20 percent of the adult Europeans alive in 1000 would turn out to be the ancestors of no one living today (that is, they had no children or all their descendants eventually died childless); each of the remaining 80 percent would turn out to be a direct ancestor of every European living today.”

So anyone of European descent is probably related to Charlemagne, and to his royal relatives. Of course, documenting the generations back to royalty is another thing. You can get started discovering your royal roots with the six steps in our Spring 2011 Discover Your Roots bookazine.

Got British Genealogy?

If you have English ancestry of any variety, as Cindy Crawford did through her Trowbridge line, see our British genealogy guides and courses here.

You also can get our e-book A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors.

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  1. Diane,

    It would be interesting to know the percentage of folks who can PROVE their descent from Charlemagne or from, say, King Edward III of England. I have a few lines that connect to the monarchs of England, but so many lines just come to a dead end because of a lack of records.

    JP

  2. Is this lineage provable? Or is this lineage worth the same as some PhD degree that I can purchase online? I am sorry, but I do NOT buy the dubious claim that she is descended from Charlemagne.

  3. Edward I Longshanks, King of England 1239-1307 &1254
    Eleanor de Castilla 1241-1290
    |
    Joan of Acre Plantagenêt, Princess of England 1272-1307 &1290
    Gilbert de Clare, Lord of Clare 1243-1295
    |
    Margaret de Clare, Earl of Gloucester 1293-1342 &1307
    Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall ca 1284-1312
    |
    Amy Gaveston ca 1310 &
    John de Driby
    |
    Alice de Driby ca 1349-1412 &
    Anketil Mallory, Lord of Kirkby Mallory ca 1330-1393
    |
    William Mallory ca 1375-1445 &
    Jane Plumpton
    |
    William Mallory 1404 &
    Dionisia Tempest 1408
    |
    John Mallory 1427 &
    Isabel Hamerton 1431
    |
    William Mallory 1452-1498 &
    Joan Constable 1458
    |
    John Mallory 1474-1528 &
    Margaret Thwaites 1476
    |
    William Mallory 1500-1547 &1524
    Jane Norton 1500-1588
    |
    William Mallory 1525-1602 &1549
    Ursula Ann Gale 1529-1603
    |
    Thomas Mallory 1566-1644 &
    Elizabeth Vaughan 1570-1644
    |
    Martha Mallory +1654/1655 &
    John Batte +1653
    |
    Thomas Batte &
    Mary N
    |
    Mary Batte &
    Peter Jones
    |
    Abraham Jones &
    Sarah Batte
    |
    Peter Jones &
    Catherine N
    |
    Ruth Jones &
    John Kimberlin
    |
    Nancy Kimberlin &
    James Lemaster
    |
    Richard Rankin Lemaster &
    Nancy Jane Gladden
    |
    Rachel Ann Lemaster &
    Thomas Jefferson Montgomery
    |
    Almon Montgomery &
    Ada Belle Kallembach
    |
    Dorothy May Montgomery &
    James Richard Walker
    |
    Jennifer Sue Walker &
    Daniel Crawford
    |
    Cynthia Ann Crawford 1966-