Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Grandpa Charlemagne

If you are an American with European ancestry, it is likely that you are a descendant of royalty:
Most middle-class Americans and many middle-class Europeans descend from a cluster of High Medieval kingsā€”Plantagenets from England, Capetians from France, and Hohenstaufens from Germany. And because of various intermarriages with the families of Byzantine emperors, a large number of westerners can also trace kinship to the Safavid shahs of Persia and various Mughal princes of India.
Even better, if you have Western European heritage, you are likely a descendant of Charlemagne. It's even been claimed that we all are descended from Confucius, Egyptian Royalty and Muhammed.

Of course this is all statistics; in most cases there is no way to trace the actual line of ancestors back into ancient times (European parish birth records typically date back no further than the 1500s). It is fun to think about, though. My great^n grandpa was Charlemagne!

(More discussion on the soc.genealogy.medieval newsgroup. Read more about Charlemagne.)

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