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New Royal Lines (including Meghan Markle’s) in Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants

The Genealogical and Scholarly Significance of Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants

The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States (RD 900), the long-awaited opus by Gary Boyd Roberts of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, covers literally hundreds of genealogical connections between the European, British, and American people. The 900 immigrants in question—actually 970 (925 to the U.S., 45 to French Canada)—include 88 new colonial immigrants who do not appear in previous editions, 75 of whom left numerous descendants. Those leaving very large progenies, and perhaps millions of Americans, include Mrs. Rebecca Ward Allen, Charles Chambers, Mrs. Mary Ward Cutting, Mrs. Catherine Craighead Homes, and William Markham of Massachusetts; Leonard Chester and Henry Gregory of Connecticut; Mrs. Katherine Duncanson Glen, Edward Howell  and Mrs. Margaret Duncanson Teller of New York; Mrs. Anne Skipwith Goforth of New Jersey; Mrs. Mary Jones Lloyd and Frances and Philip Yarnall of Pennsylvania; Mrs. Anne Talbot Darnel, Mrs. Anne Fielder Gantt, and Mrs. Margaret Domville Hatton of Maryland; Theophilus Hone, John Lightfoot, and Thomas Prather/Prater of Virginia; and Ralph Izard of South Carolina.

RD 900 also adds over 150 new immigrants of the 19th- and 20th-centuries. Among these are: the Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin; travelers Alexis de Tocqueville, Frances Trollope, and Harriet Martineau;  actors Sir John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave (sister of Vanessa), Tilda Swinton, Helena Bonham Carter, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jack Houston, plus wives of Tony Richardson and Liam Neeson, and husbands of Hedy Lamarr and Adele Astaire; Alec Waugh (brother of Evelyn), Vladimir Nabokov, and the wife of Ezra Pound, among literary figures; members of the Guinness and Busch tycoon families;  the Hungarian count who married the Vanderbilt women who inherited “The Breakers” in Newport, Rhode Island; the singing von Trapp siblings; record producer Peter Asher (brother of Jane, sometimes girlfriend of Paul McCartney) and the wife of John Barry, soundtrack composer for the James Bond movies; Sir “Tim” Berners-Lee of the World Wide Web; Dame Anna Wintour of Vogue; and Anna Tolstoy, daughter of Count Leo. The French-Canadian section includes immigrant ancestors of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Jack Kerouac, Senator “Mike” Gravel of Alaska, and among entertainers Robert Goulet, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Mark and “Donnie” Wahlberg, Celine Dion, Alanis Morrisette, Ryan Gosling, Anna Paquin, Chloe Sevigny, Beyonce, and Justin Bieber, this last the youngest immigrant in the book. As a suggestion, for the possibility of a similar South American compendium, Mr. Roberts included the line of Revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, grandson of San Franciscans, as prepared by NEHGS trustee Thomas F. Gede.

Lastly, Mr. Roberts notes some of the most unusual or surprising descents in the volume. These include a line from King James IV of Scotland to President Harry Truman, and a royal descent, via Mrs. Glenn above, for Jackie Kennedy Onassis; and under Rev. William Skepper/Skipper is added the descent from him to the new royal, Meghan Markle.  All of these additional connections should indeed further demonstrate the extensive kinships Americans derive from their British and European ancestors and cousins.