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How far back can you trace your family tree?

(74 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?

Bratsandtwats Tue 28-Nov-17 12:27:45

Oh, and there is a Saint as well. St Clotilde is my 43rd Great Grandmother.

Bratsandtwats Tue 28-Nov-17 12:20:02

Back to at least the 7th century. Many of my ancestors were royalty which makes it easier to trace them.

LittleCandle Tue 17-Oct-17 11:42:51

I am back to about the 1600s in some lines. Thank heavens for the Scotland's People website - its invaluable. I haven't found any aristocracy or royalty, despite some people's claims who are researching the same people that I am, but I do have a murderess in the family! Its all very engrossing.

FoonaBaboona Tue 17-Oct-17 11:36:38

I've traced my paternal grandmother's line back to around 1140 and the first of her ancestors to bear her surname. They lived in a castle back then. Once i got quite a way back I also used Geni for the rest.

My maternal grandfather's family originally came to England from Ireland in the early 1840's (before the famine), I'd love to know more about the families they left behind as they were from the Skibbereen area. It makes me so sad to think of what they must have gone through.

pilatesofthecaribbean Fri 06-Oct-17 09:29:15

I haven’t done any research, but a few decades ago a distant cousin traced one line of our ancestors back to eastern Europe in the 16th century. I wouldn’t want to find out much about my English or French ancestors - it’d be my luck they were fighting on the sides I don’t like in various civil wars! :P

Apple23 Sun 03-Sep-17 03:25:44

Have got most of my mum's lines back to 15-16th century, but pretty much they all lived in the same two villages. The naming patterns helped, e.g. Dd1 named after maternal grandmother, DS1 named after paternal grandfather. Just have to watch out for cousins carrying the same fore-names.

Rather helpfully, the vicar of one of the villages listed all his parishioners, along with comments including whether or not the children attended Sunday School.

We had one ancestor who was transported to Tasmania in the 19th century after stealing a horse on the morning of his wedding. His wife fairly soon got together with her second husband but they lived together for over 30 years (in Victorian England!) and had several children before eventually getting married.

Haven't found anyone famous though...

Frith2013 Wed 03-May-17 17:26:41

I used ancestry.com for a couple of years. Got one line of dad's back to royalty in 800! It would have been easy to pick up the family tree before that (being royal)

Was amused they have been in Shropshire for 500 years.

AutumnBlossom Thu 09-Mar-17 19:22:50

I really want to open up my ancestry account again, I've been tempted to do the DNA swab too.

I got one line back to 1500's but that was amazingly hard work. Other lines cease in the 1700's mostly because that is when the census was first started in the 1800's.

What do you feel about the shaky leaf and getting connections to other family trees? Do you accept them and transfer it across or would you rather research yourself.

I have taken notes and double checked, but it still felt a little like cheating.

At the last funeral I went too, I spoke to a great uncle about the family tree, as there's one side you just don't talk about, without spending a fortune on birth certificates, there's little hope of it progressing. The Great Grandmother could be dead for all I know, she's in her late 90's if she's still alive. At the same time because such a fuss is made of 'don't talk about it' I don't think I'd dare ask. Even though I was told there was little reason not too and it was just my Grandmothers perception.

languagelearner Thu 02-Feb-17 17:45:56

I entered a few facts onto "Geni" (an American site) and now it's hooked up "my" part of the family tree to that of others, and keeps posting me about supposed ancestors back to around the year 1500 all living in a far-away little place close to where my grandparents came from, so it makes sense.

OdinsLoveChild Fri 13-Jan-17 17:29:18

ivycat if your still doing this I found that Wills are very useful before 1580's. They often left items to siblings , aunts and uncles so you can get names from there. Some criminal records go back a little further so its worth looking at those.
Parish records may still be held at the actual church rather than transcribed online so visits are necessary. I have also found town tax records can give you information about who was the employer and their employees. It often lists families living on the premises which can be helpful.
The National Archives has a brilliant collection of documents and I found their information the most useful, albeit difficult to read the original scanned documents.

Anasnake Fri 13-Jan-17 17:20:08

Direct descendent of William the Conqueror here (32nd GG). Thought that was very impressive until I read that 1/4 of the UK probably are too / puts my claim to the throne into perspective ! 😂

FruitCider Fri 09-Dec-16 18:53:43

Well I thought I would get nothing, but I've managed to trace my fathers maternal line back to 1617. V impressive! I'm not as Eastern European as I thought. More like American/Irish/Gypsy/Bosniak. Weirdly someone else had already done the tree on that line, and had uploaded birth certificates, baptisms etc. So glad I was inspired to look now...

MadisonAvenue Wed 07-Dec-16 21:04:27

1540something on my Dad's side. There are ancestors who came from Arkansas so we have a bit of redneck blood blush and might explain why I've always been incredibly interested in the US South.

saffronwblue Wed 07-Dec-16 21:04:02

My grandfather had a family tree that got us back to Edward 3rd. My sister recently discovered we are 5th cousins to Winston Churchill.

mateysmum Wed 07-Dec-16 20:59:21

My sister got our family back to the 1500's as they All stayed in the same area and had quite unusual names. All very though.

I have got Dh's family back to the 1600s. Nobody noble but lots of interesting Victorian industrialists who were local movers and shakers. They were responsible for building some iconic Victorian structures and have been mainly easy to trace because there are lots of additional records and references beyond BMDs.

Mind you I've been researching for over 10 years now and I'm still discovering new stories and getting in touch with extended family members both on line and in the flesh from all over the world.

ivykaty44 Wed 07-Dec-16 20:54:08

I thought Macbeth was a Shakespearean character, I didn't realise he was real, nasty murder blush

froggers1 Wed 07-Dec-16 20:44:49

My Grandma's mother's maiden name was Duff. She went to Edinburgh Library and traced us back to Macduff from Macbeth..I have the family tree all typed out all the way back..it's amazing!

museumum Wed 07-Dec-16 20:43:52

Not very far. My ancestors were poor illiterate Irish who moved to Scotland around 1800 to work in textile mills. The men were itinerant labourers so hard to find in the Scottish censuses. And I don't think it would be possible to trace them in Ireland as we've bo way to know where they came from.

TwoLeftSocks Wed 07-Dec-16 20:41:22

Mum got back a fair few centuries. No one famous but there was a witch in there somewhere. I don't think she ended well.

ivykaty44 Wed 07-Dec-16 20:26:19

1750 through parish registers and church warden records.

I'm interested in how those if you have searched before 1558, what types of records gave you used?

BillyJoel Mon 28-Nov-16 01:14:44

About 1550 on my mums side. Not too tricky as they all lived in the same parish over that time. My dads ancester lived next dooor to Gilbert White who was the first natural historian (ie kept a daily diary of nature) and my dads family was mentioned in it as "salt of the earth". About the time of the French Revolution, I think.

Mynameismummy37 Mon 28-Nov-16 01:04:21

Slavery has a lot to answer for.
My Granparents were born in 1926 & 1930 their parents were born in the late 1890's any thing before that is a complete dead end, and like you say name changes were common after the abolition of slavery so it makes it harder to trace.

olderthanyouthink Sun 27-Nov-16 21:00:56

Mynameis very sad, I've looked at the record of slaves for the island and its a very depressing thing to read. People given white names to overwrite their identities, babies and children, casual mentions of lost limbs... There are only records because people kept inventories of their property.

There are no real surnames so tracing is pretty much impossible and the surname we have now could have been the parish they were in, a owners name, a relatives first name, or random.

3 generations back from me would be my great grandparents (by my best guess would be born in 1920's), who I've technically met. I asked I could maybe manage 1 or 2 more generations.

FrostyLeaves Sun 27-Nov-16 19:30:30

Thanks Giddy. I have been meaning to look up my husband's family for a while. It should be so much easier on line but there are many distractions!

roseteapot101 Sun 27-Nov-16 19:17:16

can trace about 100 years back our family worked together and formed a tree we got family all over.From uk to canada,to america to the netherlands

we have people in various jobs i think it was my grandfather worked for technicolour he was one of the people who worked on colour films that or another relative

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