Posted on June 26th, 2014
I’ve been exploring my family tree a bit more and found some interesting things. Full disclaimer: I went pretty far back, like to the 1500’s and beyond, so I don’t have census data or birth certificates for a lot of this stuff. But I’m not making any new claims. I mostly just explored large family trees that I am far from the first to study. I still need to do some more digging, but when lineages trail off into English nobility, it makes sense there would be records of this stuff despite its age; keeping track of family relations was very important to the way these ancestors lived and did business with each other. Still, I’m far from a genealogy expert, so don’t go sourcing this in your scholarly works.
In the interest of not being too boring, I’m not going to give the names of all spouses here. As I said, I’m not making any new claims, so all that info is out there somewhere with a bit of Googling or Ancestry.com searching.
So here we go: my great great grandmother Katherine Burns (1878-1963) of Tennessee was daughter of Edmond Burns (1854-1904), son of Levin Burns (1828-1863), son of Wilson Burns (1782-1843). His paternal grandfather, Adam Burns (1736-1799), came to colonial America in the 1750’s from Scotland and fought in the American Revolution. Wilson’s mother was Mary Wilson (1762-?), daughter of Wadsworth Wilson (1725-?), son of Thomas Wilson (1691-1744). Interestingly, Thomas’s maternal grandfather married Eleanor Sprigg, who was related to philosopher Francis Bacon. This would make Bacon a distant cousin, if not for the fact that Sprigg was in fact Thomas’s grandfather’s second wife, while we are descended from his first. So, no Bacon for us. At least not through Sprigg.
Thomas Wilson married Priscella Kent (1701-1744). On her father’s side, Priscella was descended from Benois Brasseur (1620-1663?), a Huguenot from France. She was the daughter of Mary Wadsworth (1680-1718), daughter of Elizabeth Claggett (1662-1711), daughter of Captain Thomas Claggett (1644-1703). Thomas Claggett journeyed to colonial Maryland in 1670 from England, so from here on, we’re exploring English ancestry. Thomas Claggett’s maternal grandfather was Sir Thomas Adams (1586-1667), who was elected the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1645:
Sir Thomas Adams
13 x great grandfather
Thomas Claggett’s descendants also include historical figure Thomas John Claggett, the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church. Thomas Claggett’s father was Edward Claggett (1606?-1673), son of George Claggett (1563-1638), son of Margaret Godden (1529-1574), daughter of Joyce Lovelace (1500-?). The Lovelace family seems to have been quite a prominent one, so there’s more to explore there. It is very likely Joyce was somehow related to the poet Richard Lovelace, though I have not yet sought the connection. Joyce was the daughter John Lovelace (1478-1546). Some resources say that John was a member of the Grand Jury that indicted Anne Boleyn. John’s mother was Laura (or Lora?) Peckham (1436?-1482). The Peckham family also seems to have been a prominent one. Laura’s father was James Reynolds Peckham (1410?-1454), son of Reginald Peckham (1386-1407), son of James Peckham (1340-1400), son of John de Peckham (dates start to get fuzzy around here, 1320?-1363?), son of Margery Aldham or Audham (?-?), daughter of Sir Thomas de Audham and Isabel Montacute. (Disclaimer: While there’s a definite connection between Margery Audham and Sir Thomas de Audham, it’s hard to be exact about the relation, because resources never seem to mention the family as a whole; only a piece of the family here and another piece there. So I think it’s possible that Margery could have in fact been a granddaughter of Thomas de Audham and Isabel Montacute, but until I do some more digging, I’m just listing her as a daughter, as resources suggest.)
What makes Isabel Montacute interesting is that she was part of a Montacute / Montague / Monte Acuto family, a huge family that includes some highly prominent descendants. According to this book, Isabel’s father was a William de Montacute, son of Drue de Montacute, son of Drue de Monte Acuto, son of Richard de Monte Acuto, only son of William de Monte Acuto, only son of Drogo de Monte Acuto (1040-1125), my 29 x great grandfather. Resources say that Drogo de Monte Acuto’s name means “Dragon from the Mountain Peak” and that he came to England from France with William the Conqueror and fought with him in the Battle of Hastings.
The Montague family has many interesting branches to explore, but of particular interest is a Philippa (or Philippe) Montagu, a 6 x great granddaughter of the aforementioned Drue de Monte Acuto, my 26 x great grandfather. Philippa married Sir Roger de Mortimer, whose descendants include a lot of British royalty.
Which means cousins! So there you go.
King Henry VIII
14th cousin, 13 times removed
Bloody Mary and Queen Elizabeth I
15th cousins, 12 times removed
Mary, Queen of Scots
16th cousin, 11 times removed
25th cousin, twice removed
27th cousin, twice removed
Queen Elizabeth II
27th cousin, twice removed