Family Tree of the Royal House of Wales

In general, marriages between the well-born in the Middle Ages were arranged–daughters in particular were essentially sold off in order to cement alliances, concentrate wealth, or gain allies.  That is not to say that sons were any better off, since they too were not marrying for love.  They, however, for the most part had more leeway on whether or not they were faithful to their wives, and certainly had more freedom in general.  Perhaps the most startling example of an arranged marriage that cements an alliance is when Isabella de Braose married Dafydd ap Llywelyn, the son of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales, after her father, William, had been hung by Llywelyn for sleeping with Joanna, his wife. The families trees of the Gwynedd indicate how closely linked the Welsh princes were to the Marcher lords and to the Kings of England Read more…

We’re all descended from Charlemagne … and related to each other.

Charlemagne, or ‘Charles the Great’, was the ruler of what is now France in the early Middle Ages.  He had 18 children by 10 different wives and concubines. His children then went on to populate Europe, which is why everyone with European ancestry is descended from Charlemagne.  From the BBC: “Charlemagne (Charles the Great) was king of the Franks and Christian emperor of the West. He did much to define the shape and character of medieval Europe and presided over the Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne was born in the late 740s near Liège in modern day Belgium, the son of the Frankish king Pepin the Short. When Pepin died in 768, his kingdom was divided between his two sons and for three years Charlemagne ruled with his younger brother Carloman. When Carloman died suddenly in 771, Charlemagne became sole ruler. Charlemagne spent Read more…

Woodbury Genealogy

The Woodburys in the United States are all descended from John and William Woodbury (brothers or cousins, it’s not clear) who came to Salem, Massachusetts in the 1620’s. John was first.  He was part of a fishing consortium–not a Puritan–and traveled across the Atlantic on the Zouch Phenix in 1624 as part of the Dorchester Company.  He settled in Cape Ann, which is basically a barren rock, and then moved north to become one of the five founders of Salem, Massachusetts (along with Conant, Balch, Trask, and Palfrey).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Planters_(Massachusetts) He then was granted 200 acres in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts in 1635.  http://dougsinclairsarchives.com/woodbury/johnwoodbury1.htm My grandfather was born in Beverly three hundred years later.  Not an adventurous bunch, apparently, once they got to Massachusetts.  Terrifyingly, I am descended from John and William together FOURTEEN times, through both my mother and Read more…