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Geneologists discover royal roots on all family trees

 
 
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2006 09:45 am
All that inbreeding explains a lot.---BBB

Brooke Shields comes from royalty; so do you
By Matt Crenson
The Associated Press

Actress Brooke Shields has a pretty impressive pedigree; hanging on her family tree are Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the Conqueror and King Harold, vanquished by William at the Battle of Hastings.

Shields also descends from five popes, a whole mess of early New England settlers and the royal houses of virtually every European country. She counts Renaissance pundit Niccolò Machiavelli and conquistador Hernando Cortés as ancestors.

What is it about Brooke? Well, nothing, at least genealogically.

Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear, experts say the odds are virtually 100 percent that every person on Earth is descended from one royal personage or another.

"Millions of people have provable descents from medieval monarchs," said Mark Humphrys, a genealogy enthusiast and professor of computer science at Dublin City University in Ireland.

By the same token, for every king in a person's family tree there are thousands and thousands of nobodies.

It works the other way, too. Anybody who had children more than a few hundred years ago is likely to have millions of descendants today, and quite a few famous ones.

Take King Edward III, who ruled England during the 14th century and had nine children who survived to adulthood. Among his documented descendants are presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, both Roosevelts), authors (Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning), generals (Robert E. Lee), scientists (Charles Darwin) and actors (Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, Brooke Shields). Some experts estimate that 80 percent of England's present population descends from Edward III.

The longer ago somebody lived, the more descendants a person is likely to have today. Humphrys estimates that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, appears on the family tree of every person in the Western world.

Some have tried to establish a line between Muhammad, who was born in the sixth century, and the medieval English monarchs, and thus to most if not all people of European descent. Nobody has succeeded, but one proposed lineage comes close.

The proposed genealogy runs through Muhammad's daughter Fatima. Her husband, Ali, also a cousin of Muhammad, is considered by Shiite Muslims the legitimate heir to leadership of Islam.

Ali and Fatima had a son, al-Hasan, who died in 670. About 300 years later, his ninth great-grandson, Ismail, carried the line to Europe when he became Imam of Seville.

Many genealogists dispute the connection between al-Hasan and Ismail, claiming it includes characters invented by medieval genealogists trying to link the Abbadid dynasty, founded by Ismail's son, to Muhammad.

The last emir in that dynasty was supposed to have had a daughter named Zaida, who is said to have changed her name to Isabel upon converting to Christianity and marrying King Alfonso VI.

Yet there is no good evidence demonstrating that Isabel, who bore one son by Alfonso VI, is the same person as Zaida. So the line between Muhammad and the English monarchs probably breaks at this point. But if you give the Zaida/Isabel story the benefit of the doubt, too, the line eventually leads to Isabel's fifth great-granddaughter, Maria de Padilla.

Maria married another king, Peter the Cruel. Their great-great-granddaughter was Queen Isabel. Her daughter Juana married a Hapsburg, and eventually gave rise to a Medici, a Bourbon and long line of Italian princes and dukes, spreading the Muhammadan line all over Europe.

Finally, 43 generations from Muhammad, there's an Italian princess, Marina Torlonia, whose granddaughter is Brooke Shields.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 3,210 • Replies: 9
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Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2006 12:14 pm
Having worked on my family of dirt poor farmers and Irish immigrants for the past ten years, I have met many of those 'genealogists' who, somehow in the space of several days, are able to connect themselves to the kings of ancient Europe. Phhpppttthhhhh.!!

Joe(did find a murderer though)Nation
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2006 12:52 pm
JoeNation
Joe Nation wrote:
Having worked on my family of dirt poor farmers and Irish immigrants for the past ten years, I have met many of those 'genealogists' who, somehow in the space of several days, are able to connect themselves to the kings of ancient Europe. Phhpppttthhhhh.!!
Joe(did find a murderer though)Nation


Ah, come on, Joe, don't you want to be part of the inbred royal groupies?

BBB
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 08:38 am
Re: Geneologists discover royal roots on all family trees
Matt Crenson wrote:
Actress Brooke Shields has a pretty impressive pedigree; hanging on her family tree are Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the Conqueror and King Harold, vanquished by William at the Battle of Hastings.

Shields also descends from five popes, a whole mess of early New England settlers and the royal houses of virtually every European country. She counts Renaissance pundit Niccolò Machiavelli and conquistador Hernando Cortés as ancestors.

Well, I'm rather dubious about the five popes. Granted, some of the popes in the renaissance were not particularly scrupulous about maintaining their vows of chastity, but to have five popes as one's lineal ancestors simply defies statistical probability.

Matt Crenson wrote:
Some experts estimate that 80 percent of England's present population descends from Edward III.

I have a real problem with that. The descendants of Edward III in an unbroken male line are easy enough to identify. They had a nasty habit of killing each other off during the fifteenth century, so there weren't very many of them left by the time Henry VII (who was descended from Edward III through his mother) ascended the throne in 1485. The daughters are harder to track down: many of them married into the English nobility, where, no doubt, they produced an impressive number of children. Still, according to the 2001 census, the population of England (not counting Wales) was 49 million. Eighty percent of that would be around 39 million -- quite a lot of descendants, even if we're talking about 650 years of begettings.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 08:50 am
Re: Geneologists discover royal roots on all family trees
joefromchicago wrote:
Still, according to the 2001 census, the population of England (not counting Wales) was 49 million. Eighty percent of that would be around 39 million -- quite a lot of descendants, even if we're talking about 650 years of begettings.

It seems possible though. 650 years is about 30 generations. So if the average decendent begets two children who survive to have offspring, you end up with 2^30 decendents today, which is about a billion. Admittedly, this is a high estimate because many of those descendents will marry each other. Every time that happens, my simple exponentiation counts the couple's descendents twice. But on the face of it, a couple ten million descendents does not seem altogether implausible to me. Such is the nature of exponential growth.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 08:52 am
Hmm, the Torlonias, I seem to remember they're an interesting italian family. Off to google..
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 10:47 am
Re: Geneologists discover royal roots on all family trees
Thomas wrote:
It seems possible though. 650 years is about 30 generations. So if the average decendent begets two children who survive to have offspring, you end up with 2^30 decendents today, which is about a billion. Admittedly, this is a high estimate because many of those descendents will marry each other. Every time that happens, my simple exponentiation counts the couple's descendents twice. But on the face of it, a couple ten million descendents does not seem altogether implausible to me. Such is the nature of exponential growth.

Yes, that's all true. But then we could just as easily say that the descendants of Edward III's gardener constitute about 80 percent of England's population today. And if the progeny of a pair of fruit flies reproduced without impediment, we would quickly be waist-deep in fruit flies. Mathematically, we can calculate the potential number of a person's descendants, but that gives us only a very rough (and very inaccurate) approximation of the truth.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 11:49 am
Re: Geneologists discover royal roots on all family trees
joefromchicago wrote:
Thomas wrote:
It seems possible though. 650 years is about 30 generations. So if the average decendent begets two children who survive to have offspring, you end up with 2^30 decendents today, which is about a billion. Admittedly, this is a high estimate because many of those descendents will marry each other. Every time that happens, my simple exponentiation counts the couple's descendents twice. But on the face of it, a couple ten million descendents does not seem altogether implausible to me. Such is the nature of exponential growth.

Yes, that's all true. But then we could just as easily say that the descendants of Edward III's gardener constitute about 80 percent of England's population today.

We could, and I suppose they do. Brooke Shields hasn't bragged about him just yet, but stay tuned ...
0 Replies
 
Greyfan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 05:05 pm
I read once that there is no human on the face of the Earth who is any further removed from any other human than 50th cousin. The math was not provided.

But, considering that your direct descendent line doubles with each generation (2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great great grandparents, etc.) it becomes obvious very quickly that at some point these grandparents can no longer be unique individuals. Going back just 30 generations (roughly 600 years) yields a total of 2,147,483,648 29-time great grandparents who should have been living then, against an estimated world population of only 200 to 206 million. Obviously, our genetic lines are somewhat crossed.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 11:02 pm
I've always known I was royalty. My mom used to tell me all the time I was a royal pain in the a$$.
0 Replies
 
 

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