I've spent the day practicing the wave. No, not the jump-up-and-throw-your-arms-in-the-air wave that makes its way through the audience at big sporting events. The wave. You know...that little side to side movement the royals do as they acknowledge the crowd around them. And why would I be practicing that, you ask? Because I've found royalty in my family tree.
It was a fluke really as I was actually looking for something entirely different on an ancestor who came to Massachusetts before 1636. Because immigrants arriving in that time period played such instrumental roles in establishing towns and in the few governing bodies there were then, I've had some luck finding information through my good friend Google. That search turned the name I was looking for complete with his ancestors and descendants on a registry which requires documentation, sort of like Daughters of the American Revolution. Seeing verifiable sources makes my little heart happy. Sure enough, there in Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 was my ancestor. I had no idea such a book existed let alone that I'd have a reason to be looking in it. Thankfully, a digital version is accessible with my Ancestry.com membership.
And that royal ancestor I'm not tied to? None other than Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768 until his death in 814. While much of what I learned about him years ago in school is forgotten, I do know that he is credited with reuniting much of Europe and providing political stability for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. He's also recognized for changing from trial by ordeal to trial by jury, a fitting credit since I spent all those years helping the lawyer I worked for pick juries.
From Charlemagne my line goes down some interesting names. Well, Louis and Charles by themselves really aren't that interesting; it's the adjectives that became part of them that get your attention. Louis I the Fair, Charles II the Bald, Louis II the Stammerer. I wonder if they were referred to in that manner at the time or if those labels were affixed posthumously. I'm thinking referring to your king as the Bald or the Stammerer might have been punishable by time in the dungeon but that's just a guess. From there the list continues for several hundred years with Counts, Earls and Lords before the actual titles disappear.
Impressive? Yes and no. Charlemagne got around, fathering 20 children with eight of his ten known wives and concubines. Extrapolate that down over eight or nine centuries and you have a lot of descendants. In fact, some experts have speculated that if you're of European descent, you're probably a descendant of Charlemagne. The offspring of royalty is well documented; the trick is making the connection...and I got lucky there. And I'm finding once you're able to prove your line of descent from Charlemagne, you'll find links to other royalty. I already have a second book on another branch of this line to explore.
I'll confess...it's fun to have a connection to someone who sat on a throne. It's not worth much, however, beyond personal entertainment; I still have to clean my own toilets. But if I could find my tiara, I'd look quite regal doing it.