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Announcing the NEW SECOND EDITION of ROYAL DESCENTS OF 900 IMMIGRANTS, by Gary Boyd Roberts

The second edition of THE ROYAL DESCENTS OF 900 IMMIGRANTS to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States (RD 900), by Gary Boyd Roberts, senior research scholar emeritus at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, is now available!

The second edition covers 993 immigrants to the American colonies, Quebec, or the United States (the 2018 edition covered 970). In addition to twenty-three new immigrants, twelve immigrants have revised descents, six to a later king and four (the Eltonhead sisters of Virginia) to an earlier one. The number of colonial immigrants has now passed 500, and 18th- through 21st-century- immigrants now total over 170 (this second edition adds eleven). New immigrants include Mrs. Elizabeth Epes Chute, Mrs. Mary Epes Duncan (one of whose grandsons was Boston Brahmin family founder Epes Sargent, ancestor of John Singer Sargent), Rodolphus Elmes, Daniel Epes, Giles Lodge (grandfather of the first Henry Cabot Lodge), and Mrs. Dorothy Harlakenden Symonds, all of Massachusetts. Mrs. Joanna Quarles Smith, daughter of British poet Francis Quarles, came to Lyme, Connecticut; Daniel Clark came to Long Island; Francis King to Maryland; and Francis Epes (an ancestor of Thomas Jefferson’s wife), Thomas Gaskins/Gascoigne, and Mrs. Alice Lukyn Page to Virginia.

Among revised immigrants are William Wentworth, almost an ur-father of New Hampshire, and Mrs. Mary Underhill Naylor Stites, an ancestor of Jill Biden. Mrs. Martha Eltonhead Conway is an ancestor of presidents Madison and Obama. Two other Eltonhead sisters are ancestors of Virginia Corbins (and later of Lees, including Robert E. Lee) and Wormeleys. Of special interest to French-Canadian genealogists is a new line, first published herein, from Mrs. Anne Couvent Amiot (an ancestor of Pierre and Justin Trudeau and several recent entertainment figures) and her nephew, Toussaint le Dran/Ledran. Another revised line is for actor and Kennedy in-law Peter Lawford. I might also note that among the 24 new or revised immigrants, royal descents for William Wentworth and Dorothy Harlakenden Symonds have long been sought, have now been found, and first appeared in recent journals.

Eighteenth- through twentieth-century immigrants include some major surprises: Actor Sir Laurence Olivier, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd (whose second wife was the granddaughter of an English marquess), and Phil Collins, formerly of Genesis. Among recent French-Canadians, new lines are shown for Alaska governor Mike Gravel and singer Robert Goulet, the comedian Jim Carrey (new to this edition), and Celine Dionne, now of Nevada.

In addition to newly traced or revised descents, Mr. Roberts has added to, or in some cases corrected, over half of the pages in the first edition. Somewhat exotic additions are a descent from Lucretia Borgia and a kinship between Catherine de’ Medici and Diane de Poitiers, Duchess of Valentinois, the queen and mistress (themselves second cousins) of Henry II, King of France. Also fully outlined are kinships to various English literary figures, including the Earl of Chesterfield, William Wordsworth, Byron, “Lewis Carroll,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Lytton Strachey, E. M. Forster, Bertram Russell, Virginia Woolf, and Lady Antonia Fraser (wife of Harold Pinter), each of whom was a cousin of one or more American immigrants.  Such kinship is also shown to several European figures, including a descent from Warham Horsmanden of Virginia (ancestor of the Byrds of Westover) to the Duchess of Cornwall (the new Queen Consort), and a line from the Fenwick and Gibbes families of South Carolina to former British Prime Minister David Cameron. Such new notable continental figures include Ferdinand Count von Zeppelin, designer of the Zeppelin airship, and the wife of British Prime Minister Valery Giscard d’Estaing.

The number of major historical figures that appear somewhere on the charts in this book has risen from 600 to 615. Five more extraordinary kinships are noted, and fully outlined is much work by such recent scholars as Nathaniel Lane Taylor, Leslie Mahler, Clifford L. Stott, Alexander Bannerman, and, of course, John C. Brandon and John Blythe Dobson, who contributed numerous immigrants to the 2018 edition as well.

As Mr.  Roberts notes on the last few pages of this work, he has published material on many notable descendants of 45 colonial colonists, including complete lines and documentation from printed and some “original” sources. Much online research for this edition was undertaken by Julie Helen Otto, who also digitized and indexed the work. Along with 993 immigrants who were notable themselves or left notable descendants, this work identifies about 130 close relatives of these immigrants who also came to the colonies, Quebec, or the U.S., but for whom no notable descendants have yet been found. Certainly at least seven, and probably many more, have left prominent progeny not yet identified. (Since this work went to press, I have already learned that lines for three more new immigrants have been developed). In sum, this work is in effect an RD 1000, and almost a doubling of the 1993 volume, also published by Genealogical Publishing Company, that covered 500 immigrants. Such expansion over a single generation marks a milestone of which the author, publisher, and contributors may well be proud.

Highlights of the second edition of RD 900:

  • Twenty-three new immigrant lines, bringing the total to 970
  • Twenty-five improved lines
  • About one-half of all pages in original edition are updated
  • Second Edition incorporates royal scholarship of the past 150 years
  • New lines include those of Sir Lawrence Olivier and Phil Collins
  • Contains references to 615 notable people in world history