A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO GENEALOGY
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
If the woman does not marry, and chooses to have children which she
raises as a single parent, they will often only carry the mothers’
surname. However, to be correct in the recording of these children’s
“family history”, it is important to record the
name of the father on the birth certificate, or at least to be able
to tell them at a more mature age in their lives. It is only through
this information that they can truly discover their “roots”.
WHERE DO I START?
WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION?
Once adopted, these children carry your surname. And so, for LEGAL reasons and in the case of inheritance, adopted children are treated in the same way as natural children. i.e. the adoptive parents have made a legal commitment to raise that child as their own. In doing so they have agreed to give that child their family surname, to supply food, shelter, lodging, education, support etc. This adopted child then, has the same rights of inheritance as any natural children. However, when recording their family history, for their own offspring, they should start a new family tree if no information regarding their natural parentage has been uncovered. Most adoptee's, at one time or another, have wondered about their natural parents, and some have successfully sought to find them.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
In these ancient times, and especially during the search for food, meetings between groups would often become quite violent. It was not unusual for all the teenage, and adult males in a particular family group to end up being killed or severely maimed during these clashes.
Unrelated, young healthy females were very often captured, held hostage, raped and impregnated by the dominant males. Any offspring born before the usual nine month gestation period were slaughtered at birth or left to the elements. Even back then, births were timed with the seasons. As with the laws of the jungle, which still abides today – men did not want to willingly feed and raise someone else’s seed. As societies developed, the tribes split up into family groups, and the “family unit” developed.
HOW PURE IS YOUR BLOODLINE?
THE RIGHTS OF INHERITANCE
WHAT IS SANGUINITY
For example, to this day, the Roman Catholic Church will not allow a marriage between first or second cousins. Yet, if we study history carefully, we know that this rule has been bent on many occasions over time. The Royal House of England dominates and remains strong today, because of the very fact that they did marry close relatives (keeping it in the family). In medieval England, this law was taken very seriously. Many a King, wanting to rid himself of a troublesome wife, or one who had outlived her usefulness would seek a divorce by citing and proving sanguinity. e.g. Henry VIII sought to rid himself of Catherine of Aragon due to the fact that she was his dead brothers wife, a fact that bothered him least, when he sought to marry her in the first place.
A REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
****According to recent information discovered at the library of Rouen Cathedral in France, the real king of England is a man called Michael Hastings (the last Plantagenet descendant), and he is living in the little known remote town of Jerilderie somewhere in Australia. Michael was born in England and educated at Ampleforth Public School. He is the 14th Earl of Loudon, and a direct descendant of George, Duke of Clarence.
The fact is, that King Edward IV who reigned from 1461 to 1483 was not of royal blood – he was the illegitimate son of a French archer. It can be proved that at the time of Edward IV’s conception, his parents were 100 miles apart. Edward’s “father” Richard Duke of York was leading a skirmish against the French at Pontoise, near Paris. His mother, Lady Cicely Neville – based at Rouen – was deeply engaged in the company of a local archer. During the five week period when conception could have taken place, Edward’s “royal father” was a good five days march away.
Such were the circumstances of Lady Cicely’s Pregnancy, that the court was rife with whispers of an affair. King Louis XI of France is recorded as shouting about Edward: “his name is not King Edward – everybody knows his name is Blaybourne!” (the surname of a French archer whom many assumed to be the true father).
A concerted campaign was begun by the family, hoping to stifle such rumours. The royal spindoctors even suggested that conception had taken place in May 1440 in Yorkshire, before the royal parents set sail for France. But since we know that Edward was born the following April, this would make the pregnancy 11 months - the longest since records began, and of course a medical impossibility. In addition, Lady Cicely herself let slip the secret in a rage when Edward married a woman she disapproved of.
Threatening to publicise his illegitimacy, she is recorded by the court historian Dominic Mancini as saying: “He is not the offspring of the Duke of York but was conceived in adultery, and therefore is no-wise worthy of the honour of kingship”.
Edward IV was a bastard, and the son of a mere commoner – and thus had no rightful claim to the throne. Instead the monarchy should have passed to Edward’s brother, the Duke of Clarence.
****Information copied from Sunday Mail (Adelaide newspaper) January 4, 2004
TO WHOM IS IT IMPORTANT?
The bizarre consequences of this technology is the recent case of twins who were separated at birth and married each other without realising that they were brother and sister. Upon discovery of the truth, the hapless couple had to endure the trauma of having their marriage annulled in a secret High Court hearing where a judge ruled their marriage as “legally invalid” due to a “prohibited degree of consanguinity” blood relationship.
The plight of this couple was revealed in the British parliament by former Liberal Democrat MP Lord Alton during a House of Lords debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Lord Alton is fighting for children to have greater rights to know their biological parents. He, and his followers want the genetic history/identity of a child recorded on its birth certificate in the hope of alleviating future distress to others.
So who thinks it is important? Only those with a special interest in the subject, people such as us, who are curious about our ancestors and have a love of history. As I stated in the opening pages: “We are who we are today, because of all that has gone before”. It is a rare family these days that can trace their ancestry as far back as we have (a continuing project on my part) and even the Royal Family’s lineage (as indicated above) may not be as accurate as this one.
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We are very grateful to Alan Neame (family historian and founding member of the Kent Genealogical Society) who for thirty years researched into our family history. He was ably assisted by the significant collaboration of Joyce Gibson nee Neame. It is really thanks to Alan that any of us are aware of the others' existence. Alan travelled the world meeting people and recording their data for the benefit of all of us.