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Month: June 2014

But we’ll never be royals

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:

thomasadams

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.

kinghenry

King Henry VIII
14th cousin, 13 times removed

bloodymary

elizabeth1

Bloody Mary and Queen Elizabeth I
15th cousins, 12 times removed

queenofscots

Mary, Queen of Scots
16th cousin, 11 times removed

Queen Victoria
25th cousin, twice removed

Princess Diana
27th cousin, twice removed

Queen Elizabeth II
27th cousin, twice removed

Projects for June 2014

I haven’t blogged in a while, so here’s a little update of what I’m working on.

Writing fiction

I’m still working on co-authoring two short stories. We’re almost done with one. It’s taken us a lot longer than expected, but I always find interesting the seemingly random issues we find we have different perspectives on and end up discussing for hours. Maybe that’s not very productive writing-wise, but I actually really enjoy it; even if I don’t necessarily change my mind all the time, it forces me to think about things differently.

I’m still querying agents for my novel, Son of a Dark Wizard. I have yet to start another solo writing project, though I have a few stories in various phases of plotting. What I’m hoping to do with my next novel, whenever I start writing it, is to put it online for free, a bit like I did with The Game of Gynwig years ago, and then self-publish it. I even spent a week creating a custom WordPress theme and website to host the project at Morrowgrand, which will hopefully host other future projects as well so they’ll all cross-advertise each other. (Speaking of WordPress themes, the theme for this blog really needs to be updated at some point, doesn’t it?) In addition to posting the blog online, I actually think it would be interesting to record (with screen-capture software) my entire writing process of the novel. I know I’m not the first to try that, but it seems like a fun idea. (Although I guess if I do that, I won’t be able to write long-hand, as I do roughly half the time.)

On top of writing and releasing the novel, I also hope to write a musical soundtrack for it.

That said, any solo-writing projects may take a back seat to my other projects:

Melody project stuff

I’m finally returning to my book on composing melodies that I’ve been trying to write on and off for years. I think I’ve finally found an interesting angle to take with the book. I was struggling because my attempts were coming off as really academic and bland. Finally I thought: why not treat it like Johann Fux’s Study of Counterpoint? His book features two characters, a teacher and a student, talking about the subject. So, rather than a straight-forward non-fiction here’s-a-bunch-of-information sort of book, I can wrap the instructional material in a sort of two-character story arc. At the very least, it would be much more interesting for me to write. So that’s one project.

The other project is the real Parnassus: the symphony generator. A piece of software that uses the algorithms of my melody generators to help automate the entire composition process. The idea is that the symphony generator would be able to compose entire symphonies on its own, automatically, with the composer providing as much or as little creative input as he wishes. My two main goals for it, that I’ve been daydreaming about for over a decade: 1) I want it to be able to compose a Mozartean symphony at the touch of a button (or maybe a few buttons, if I must compromise), and 2) I want to be able to give it only a melody, and have it flesh it out into a full piece with little or no input from me. Obviously I want it to be able to do more than that, but those are my main two objectives.

I’d like to get them both out by December, in time for the holiday season (and before I go completely bankrupt), but almost everything I do takes me longer than I expect (except for going bankrupt).

Updates

I never did write that screenplay last month. I just found I was more interested in whatever else I was working on at the time. Maybe next year.

And that Nickelodeon cartoon pitch a few months back never went anywhere, unfortunately. That is, Nickelodeon wasn’t interested. I still want to do something with my pitch material at some point (though probably no time soon), but I’m not sure what.