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How far back can you trace your family tree?

(68 Posts)
chocolatemad24 Sat 26-Nov-16 22:41:17

After reading the thread about Danny Dyer on Who Do You Think You Are, it made me wonder how many people can actually trace their lineage back to Edward III. I have never traced my family, but would love to one day. Can any of you trace your family back to royalty or any historical figures?

timelytess Sat 26-Nov-16 22:42:12

I went back through the census records and didn't take it any further. I got back, on dates of birth, to around 1800.

Flisspaps Sat 26-Nov-16 22:45:09

DH and my mum have both managed to get back through Ancestry.co.uk to the 1600s!

PossumInAPearTree Sat 26-Nov-16 22:47:11

I'm descended from Anne Askew who was the only woman to be tortured in the Tower of London I believe. She was burnt at the stake. She was a friend of one of Henry viii's wives.....maybe Catherine Parr and refused to name other protestants.

ghostspirit Sat 26-Nov-16 22:49:43

I would love to trace back my family but I can't sad

PossumInAPearTree Sat 26-Nov-16 22:49:52

On my dad's side I'm related to a poet called John Clare, who I'd never heard of and to be honest I don't think most people have. But google reckons he's one of the greatest English poets!

averylongtimeago Sat 26-Nov-16 22:50:27

I have traced my mum's family back to 1450 on one line, my husband's back to 1700 but my dad has traced his side back to pre 1066 (a Norman knight). It is relatively easy to get back to about 1800 by using the census records, before then you are relying on parish records mostly, luckily more and more are on line.

IrenetheQuaint Sat 26-Nov-16 22:51:43

Yes, I can trace mine back to Edward III (assuming the family tree my grandfather put together is right!). The relevant branch of the family were landowners in a small way which makes things much easier to trace.

FernetBranca Sat 26-Nov-16 22:52:58

John Clare was a fabulous poet. I studied him at Oxford - respect for being related to him

My ancestors on one side had one of the country's most common names - it's really hard to trace and three generations back they were signing things with an X so not much joy.

kiwipie Sat 26-Nov-16 22:54:36

1500, on my mothers side.

Dizzybintess Sat 26-Nov-16 22:55:26

I have gont back to 1415 on one side of my tree

PossumInAPearTree Sat 26-Nov-16 22:55:50

fernet. Must admit Ive never read any of his poetry. I keep meaning to go on a visit to Clare Cottage which looks like a little museum to him. I don't live too far away so will make a priority after Xmas to go.

FlouncingInAWinterWonderland Sat 26-Nov-16 22:56:17

Inca royalty, french aristocrats, Irish 'characters' and English ecentrics in my lineage.

RueDeWakening Sat 26-Nov-16 23:00:28

I can trace my mums family back to about 1760, but haven't got further.

We're related to some well known painters of pottery, not that I'd ever heard of them. And a one-armed station master on the railways. And my many-greats grandfather, who was an ag lab and who died "falling over a stile, drunk".

NannyR Sat 26-Nov-16 23:01:32

I've got back as far as 1790 (reliably, with sources that I've double checked in record offices).
To be honest, I'm not that bothered about tracing my line back to centuries old historical ancestors - when you look at how many thousands of descendants they have and what a tiny, tiny percentage of DNA you would share. I tend to take my research sideways, as well as finding birth, death and marriage dates, I also look at school and employment records, where they lived, sometimes criminal records, newspaper articles, immigration records, stuff like that to build up a fuller picture of my ancestors lives.

CondensedMilkSarnies Sat 26-Nov-16 23:03:23

We go back to 1545ish to the chap that arrested Guy Fawkes

divineinterruption Sat 26-Nov-16 23:05:36

some people on both sides of my family have done research and have traced family back to about 1700s. in my DH's family they traced the roots to about 1400s/1500s. but looking at the family tree, in the 1400s/1500s up to about 1700s, everyone had pretty much the same name so not sure how reliable it is....

SaagMasala Sun 27-Nov-16 10:19:48

I'm related to Danny Dyer on my dad's side! Haven't counted up but it must be at least 10th cousins!

That line taps into the English monarchy so it goes back as far as you can be bothered.

Not got so far back on the others, some resolutely stuck in the late 1700's/early 1800's due to lack of information in areas where there are several families with the same surname, or the families tended to move between villages for work every couple of years.
Most parish records started in 1660, though some have been lost, and some started earlier. You need other records such as land leases or Wills to be able to confirm the details. So if your ancestors were poor, law-abiding, hardworking folk there's not usually much of a paper trail.

olderthanyouthink Sun 27-Nov-16 10:43:04

I'm sure my mums family is traceable a fair way back, that's the white/English side of my heritage.

But my dads side probably not further than anyone can remember, this would be the black side of my heritage. Records were kept of spaces but they burned years ago sad so I doubt we could figure out who were the first ones, who owned them, the ship that they were taken on etc. I imagine the county they were taken from could be figured out using DNA.

Dizzybintess Sun 27-Nov-16 11:30:04

My 1400 relatives are the Killick family. I'm welsh but my ancestors are English and hail from tenterden in Kent

OdinsLoveChild Sun 27-Nov-16 11:45:42

The late 1200's. One of my ancestors came over to England with the King Phillipe of France as his wine merchant. The King went back to France and refused to pay my Ancestor for the wine he and his court had consumed on their trip to England and they couldn't afford to return so were stuck here.

I have copies of Petitions from my ancestor to the French King asking for payment or a return trip but it was refused. He also Petitioned the English King Edward about the situation who granted him permission to stay in England but I don't know if he ever got his money. Im guessing not as he clearly stayed in England.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 27-Nov-16 11:57:19

DH's intersects with royalty in a number of places most recently about 300 years ago. We can obviously trace his line pretty easily back to Edward III. His non royal lines I can trace to about 1700 except for one which runs into a dead end at 1870.
I can get back to the 1500s in some places but other parts run into the Irish Famine with common Irish names that have meant I can get no further.

Mynameismummy37 Sun 27-Nov-16 11:58:51

It's sad isn't older?
I've just only been able to go back 3 generations on my dads side and I already knew about those, although I did find out my Gran had two other children before she came to England, sadly one was stillborn and the other died at 5 days old.

chocolatemad24 Sun 27-Nov-16 12:01:16

Lots of interesting stories here smile

dodobookends Sun 27-Nov-16 12:02:26

I've got back to the early 1700's on one side, but stuck on the other in the early 1800's. It helps if anyone on your tree has a connection with royalty/gentry as their pedigrees have already been done so you can get back a lot further, but no luck in our case!

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