Monthly Archives: March 2017

ABCs & Our Family Trees: Letter H

h-flower-fairy

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the eighth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the G names have been discussed, next up is the letter H:

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Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Tale of Two Roberts (of Burgundy)

Robert_le_VieuxOn this day, 21 March, in the year 1076, Robert I of Burgundy, nicknamed “le Vieux” (the Old), died. Robert I of Burgundy was my 29th great-grandfather through his daughter Constance, my 29th great-grandfather through his daughter Hildegarde, and my two-times 30th great-grandfather through his son Henry.

In 1011, Robert I of Burgundy was born to Robert II of France and Constance of Arles.

In 1025, Robert’s eldest brother Hugh Magnus died. Robert and older brother Henry rebelled against their father, Robert II of France, defeating him and forcing him to retreat to Paris.

In 1031, Robert II of France passed away. With the death of his father, Robert I rose up against his brother Henry I, who was next in line for the throne. Their mother Constance of Arles supported Robert’s efforts. In 1032, peace between the brothers was achieved, when Henry relinquished Burgundy to Robert, thereby making Robert I Duke of Burgundy.

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

John Beaufort

On this day, 16 March 1410, John Beaufort passed away. He was my 18th great-grandfather through his daughter Joan and my 19th great-grandfather through his son Edmund.

Born circa 1373, John Beaufort was the eldest child of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, and his mistress Katherine Swynford.

In both 1390 and 1397, John and his siblings were declared legitimate by Parliament, as well as by the Pope in September 1396, after his parents were married. Despite being made legitimate by both the church and state, Henry IV barred John and his Beaufort siblings from succession to the throne, even though they too were the grandchildren of Edward III.

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gateway Ancestor: Peter Worden

When tracing ancestors across the centuries, kin are often clustered together in a similar locations, an economic situation, or an ethnic identity.  A gateway ancestor is anyone with known or traceable ancestry from one specific group who marries into another group. Each immigrant from one country to another is a potential gateway, if his/her descendants can then trace his/her ancestry to the original country. Gateways can also occur when someone moves from one distinct social group into another or across distinct religious, economic, or racial barriers.

In the United States, however, the term “gateway ancestor” most commonly is used to refer to colonial immigrants whose ancestry can be traced in the Old World—specifically to gentry, nobility, or royalty.

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Immigrant Ancestors, Royal Roots | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Urraca of León, Castile, and Galicia

On this date, 8 March 1126, Urraca of León, Castile, and Galicia, passed away. She was my 27th great-grandmother through her grandson Fernando II of Léon, my 28th great-grandmother through her grandson Sancho III of Castile, and my 28th great-grandmother through her granddaughter Sancha of Castile.

Urraca was born circa April 1079 in Burgos, Spain to Alfonso VI and Constance of Burgundy. As the eldest and only surviving child of Alfonso VI, Urraca was heir presumptive to Castile and León until 1107, when her father recognized his illegitimate son Sancho as his heir.

Urraca’s place in the line of succession, however, made her the focus of dynastic politics.  Circa 1086, Raymond of Burgundy arrived in Spain. In 1087, Urraca, who was eight years old at time, was betrothed and possibly even wedded to Raymond of Burgundy. Although canon law set a minimum age for marriage at 12 years old for women, exceptions did occur. Some evidence that they might have been married, instead of just betrothed, was in protocol documents, which, almost immediately, began labeling Raymond of Burgundy as Alfonso VI’s son-in-law. Nevertheless, it appears their marriage was formalized by 1090, when Alfonso VI issued a charter to the church of Palencia in their name.

Categories: Famous Faces and Places, On This Day, Royal Roots, Watts-Stark Line | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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