Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review and I have received other books from Genealogical Publishing Company, also for review. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources.
The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States, Second Edition is a massive three volume set by Gary Boyd Roberts, the Senior Research Scholar Emeritus of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
From Vita Brevis‘ Profiles:
Gary Boyd Roberts is the Senior Research Scholar Emeritus of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. A native of Houston, he is a graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago; he also studied at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include immigrant origins and royal descents; royal and noble genealogy; the ancestry of notable figures, especially American presidents; and colonial New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the South. He is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous works, including Ancestors of American Presidents (1989, 1995, and 2009), and The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States (2004); his life’s work is “The Mowbray Connection: An Analysis of the Genealogical Evolution of British, American and Continental Nobilities, Gentries, and Upper Classes Since the End of the Middle Ages” in 23 vols.
Being a long time member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, I am aware of Gary Boyd Robert’s lengthy works treating royal descents, but I have not read this particular series.
I have to admit, facing three volumes seemed a bit overwhelming. However, Volume 3 is a 600+ page index to Volumes 1 and 2 and the format of the book is in clear, easy to follow pedigree charts containing spousal names, or in a number of cases, a note about illegitimacy.
Table of Contents
This Table of Contents is quite detailed:
I know I have a couple of royal descents in my own family tree, including a line through Jane Lawrence (1614-168) who married George Giddings (1609-1676) in 1609 in St. Albans, hertford, England, sailed on the Talbot settled in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts.
To give an idea of how lengthy these royal descents are, George and Jane are my 9X great grandparents, so there are 11 generations from them to me.
The pedigree chart in The Royal Descents identifies Jane Lawrence as Generation 27 descended from Robert I, King of France, who died in 923!
Sources are cited after each pedigree chart, which is pretty incredible, too, given the difficulty of Middle Ages genealogical research.
Aside from reading about my own royal descents, browsing is a lot of fun as there are many famous people that tie into various lines. That really isn’t too surprising, though, given that I’m 38 generations from Robert I of France. Each patriarch in a pedigree chart will have thousands of descendants living today.
Some of the famous names, in addition to American Presidential lines and signers of the Declaration of Independence, include Celine Dion, Princess Diana, Phil Collins, Angelina Jolie, plus notable authors and other public figures.
Fun facts are that I share this line with Presidents William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge.
It is very entertaining browsing through these books reading through the pedigree charts. To be honest, though, unless you have a very distinguished family tree with many branches to be found in these charts, you might want to read these volumes in a genealogy library because the 1725-page set costs $190.00.
Thousands of genealogical researchers need to thank Gary Boyd Roberts, who undertook the research and compiled results of the research of others interested in the Middle Ages, to provide us with documented royal lines.
The 3-volume set of The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States, Second Edition can be ordered online from Genealogical Publishing Company for $190.00.