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Are You Descended from the Emperor Charlemagne?

Emperor Charlemagne Ancestor

By some estimates, thousands upon thousands of people are descended from the Emperor Charlemagne, but, as the late genealogist Timothy Field Beard has noted, “It is a long way from 20th century Potwin, Kansas, or Pontotoc, Oklahoma, to 9th-century France.”

Emperor Charlemagne

In case you have forgotten your medieval history, Charlemagne was the first leader after the fall of the Roman Empire to establish suzerainty over most of Western Europe. Born in 742, Charlemagne was the son of Pepin the Short (who deposed the last Merovingian monarch and established the Carolingian line) and grandson of Charles Martel, the hero of the Battle of Tours, where in 732 the Muslim conquest of Europe was stopped. Genealogists have traced Charlemagne’s descent from Clovis, King of Cologne, who scholars have established was alive in 420 A.D. Although Charlemagne had as many as 10 spouses and 18 children, as far as is known only two of his progeny had descendants beyond the second or third generation: (1) Louis the Pious, who ascended to the throne upon his father’s death in 814, and (2) Pepin the Younger. 

Could you be a descendant of Charlemagne? If so, you can get a leg up on your research with the three volumes of Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne’s Descendants. Published originally in 1941, 1974, and 1978, respectively, by the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the USA, these books are now available in attractive reprint editions from GPC. Based, for the most part, on the lineage papers of members of the Order and substantiated by the Order’s Genealogist General, these pedigrees, in the aggregate, lay out 216 different lines of descent from the emperor to members of the Order and refer to tens of thousands of persons in all. 

Proving descent from the Emperor Charlemagne is a notable achievement because it means establishing an unbroken line of descent for a period of 1,200 years! Moreover, a link to Charlemagne brings with it links to many of the most distinguished royal and noble families of Europe. Are these rewards reason enough to discover your connection to this great historical figure?  If so, there is no better starting-point than these fine pedigree volumes from the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the USA.

Volume I. Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne’s Descendants

First published in 1941, Volume I provides pedigrees of descent from Charlemagne that can be proved without a doubt. The progeny of royal Houses of Europe that trace back to Charlemagne are listed in chronological order under their respective Houses. Then, individual chapters list American families that link up with one or more royal lines, and pertinent facts are given for each member of the family–birth, marriage, children, connecting lines, station, distinctions, and honors. View Book Details

Volume II. Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne’s Descendants

Originally published in 1974, more than 30 years after the appearance of Volume I (see above), Volume II contains more than 70 accepted lines of descent of living people from the Emperor Charlemagne. Each line is carefully documented, generation by generation, and has been verified and approved by Timothy F. Beard, Genealogist General of the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne. Each chapter is headed with the name of the immigrant ancestor through whom the descent is traced, followed by each family name in the line of descent in America. View Book Details

Volume III. Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne’s Descendants

This is the third in the distinguished series of lineage books published by the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in this country. Published first in 1978, it contains more than 85 lines of descent of living people from the Emperor Charlemagne.  For the most part, the lines of descent have been taken from the lineage papers of members of the Order, and they have been substantiated by the Genealogist General, Timothy Field Beard. As in the previous volumes, each section of the book is headed with the name of the immigrant ancestor through whom descent from Charlemagne is traced, followed by all family names in the line of descent in America. View Book Details

Of Related Interest:

Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700. Eighth Edition

This is the eighth edition of the classic work on the royal ancestry of certain colonists who came to America before the year 1700, and it is the first new edition to appear since 1992, reflecting the change in editorship from the late Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., to his appointed successors, William and Kaleen Beall. Like the previous editions, it embodies the very latest research in the highly specialized field of royal genealogy. As a result, out of a total of 398 ancestral lines, 91 have been extensively revised and 60 have been added, while almost all lines have had at least some minor corrections, amounting altogether to a 30 percent increase in text. View Book Details

Magna Charta Sureties, 1215

At the signing of the Magna Charta, 25 men representing the barons signed as sureties of the baronial performance; however, only 17 have identifiable descendants. Each of the 17 is represented in the celebrated MAGNA CHARTA SURETIES, which traces their connections–line by line and generation by generation–to approximately 160 American colonists. View Book Details

A Who’s Who of Your Ancestral Saints

For anyone interested in his or her own genealogical links to medieval Europe and early Christianity, this book offers an extraordinary opportunity. For the first time, the lives of 275 early European saints are retold and accompanied by lineages connecting those saints to twenty-four of the great men and women of medieval Europe. Today, those twenty-four men and women have hundreds of millions of living descendants. Anyone living today who can connect to these medieval personages can claim forefathers among the princes of the earth as well as ancestors among the princes of Heaven. View Book Details

25 thoughts on “Are You Descended from the Emperor Charlemagne?

  1. 40th great grandson though gateway ancestor, Thomas Lawrence (1619-1703)

  2. 11 great granddaughter though gateway ancestor, Walter Aston Gent (1607-1656)

    1. Dear Ms. Biggs,

      Thanks for your comment about Walter Aston Gent.

  3. Many claim that nearly every European is descended of Charlemagne. I almost wonder if this is some sort of communist agenda (manifested by demons). While there are most likely millions of his descendants in the United States due to the fact that many of the Mayflower settlers in the US were of British descent of Charlemagne…this does not mean that everyone is. I would never rely on any scientific evidence (DNA testing) to “prove” that nearly all Europeans are descended of Charlemagne. I do not believe in all claims made by “science” (i.e. carbon dating, DNA/ancestry testing). If you are going to prove that everyone is descended of Charlemagne then you need to show the genealogy of every person of European descent tracing back to Charlemagne. This is the only way to prove it which nobody has yet to do (at least I am pretty sure).

    1. Dear Mr. Overfield

      Thanks for your comment about the Charlemagne descendancy.

  4. My gateway ancestor is John Ogle, back in the 1300’s Robert Ogle married Maud deGray, and that line goes back “forever”. C Settipani in Descent from antiquity has traced to Darius in the old testament and back to the pharaohs. It’s a numbers thing, from now back, you double the number of ancestors, you get back to Charlemagne there are many more ancestors then there people at that time. Of course cousins have married cousins lowering the number of ancestors. John came here in 1664, his distant cousin Washington family was not on the Mayflower.

  5. I have a question, but feel sharing this might be helpful in answering my question. I am the great granddaughter of King Louis the Pious 3x, King Pepin of Italy 2x, great granddaughter of Alfred The Great 4x as well as great granddaughter of Hugh Capet, the Counts of Louvain, King Louis of Aquitaine, Robert I of France, Count of Anjou, Walter the Steward, Counts of Flanders, the Duke of Saxony through being a great granddaughter of the Stewart’s, Campbells, Erskines, Melvilles. There is much more, but that would take a long time to list. My eighth great grandmother is Elspeth Melville of Cupar, Fife. They say everyone is related to royalty. Is it common or less common to be a great granddaughter of all of these lineages? I had also dna matched to the Louvains, Erskines, many of these people listed through a site that tests you against archaeological excavations which I thought the results I received at first were just sheer coincidence until they kept appearing in my tree as great grandparents. Would be appreciative of your thoughts.

    1. Dear Danielle,

      I have reached out to one of our DNA experts. We will get back to you with a response soon.

      1. Thank you, I would greatly appreciate it. I hadn’t found anyone I could really prose any questions to.

        1. Danielle,

          I’ve reached out to Roberta Estes, our DNA expert. Here’s what she has to say. She has also included several links for your consideration:

          “Finding a gateway ancestor that connects to royal lines often opens up many opportunities for genealogical connections, in part, because royal lineages tend to be well documented. However, given that DNA is divided in every generation, by just the 7th generation, we only carry a small portion of any of one ancestor’s DNA – less than 1%. A few generations further back in time, the traces are so small and minuscule that we match millions of people simply by chance, not because we are actually descended from that person or lineage. Congratulations on your genealogical connections.”

          Roberta suggests you have a look at the following two articles from here blog, DNA EXPLAINED.

  6. He is number 1 match on my tree of ancestors but because he goes so far back, it doesn’t show a relationship to him, his wife or his son. Is there a website I can check where I don’t have to have a paid membership and goes back to Medieval times?

    1. I don’t think you need to “join” the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in order to determine if your line connects with one of the “Gateway Ancestors” to Charlemagne. Check out their website, Sheri. Here is the link:

      Thanks for your interest.

      1. I sent them a message asking for help. I don’t know my gateway ancestor for a connection to him but he is my #1 search response to my family tree.

      2. There are many requirements to join and it costs $750. I don’t see a way to find my answer.

  7. Thank you!

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