You might have royal roots, even if theyre not recent enough to get you invited to the big wedding this Friday.
More than 60 percent of Americans descend from royalty, says Gary Boyd Roberts, author of The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants (Clearfield Co.). Most of those have New England Yankee, Pennsylvania Quaker or Tidewater planter ancestry.
The immigrants who brought their blue blood with them to the New World were most likely
- Puritans who settled in New England
- Quakers (often Welsh) in Pennsylvania
- Scots in mid-Atlantic states (some in Virginia)
- Anglican cavaliers in Tidewater Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.
Having a sizable number (50 to 100) of immigrant ancestors in one or more of those areas is a good indication you have royal roots. Also look for ancestors with gentry-level occupations such as a wealthy farmer or merchant, governor, minister or military officer.
If you suspect royal roots, your research strategy will be similar to that of any ancestry: Work backward generation by generation, keeping an eye out for the link to a royal family. But watch out for forged published genealogies, which might’ve been created as families tried to prove distinguished heritage.
Here are some free FamilyTreeMagazine.com articles with royal roots resources:
- Tips and resources for tracing royal connections
- Royal research websites
- Using Burkes Peerage and Gentry, a resource for tracing titled families
- Researching coats of arms
- Resources for heraldic genealogy
And check out the books Colonial Americans of Royal & Noble Descent: Alleged, Proven, and Disproven by Patricia Scherzinger and, for more-distant royal links, Blood Royal: Issue of the Kings and Queens of Medieval 1066-1399: The Normans and Plantagenets by T. Anna Leese.
I’d love to hear about your genealogical connections to the royal family!