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The Genealogical and Scholarly Significance of The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants, by Gary Boyd Roberts

Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, and the United States. Second Edition

The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States (RD 900), 2nd Ed. (2022), genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts’ magnum opus, identifies an awe-inspiring number of historical figures from Continental Europe, the British Isles, or the United States who are related to millions of living Americans. Anyone descended from an immigrant in this work can plot kinships, often much closer than might be expected to any of the following 50 (or their spouses, listed with a W or H below):

  1. Jane Austen
  2. Sir Francis Bacon
  3. (Queen) Anne Boleyn
  4. Lucretia Borgia (H)
  5. James Boswell
  6. Tycho Brahe
  7. Werner von Braun (and his wife)
  8. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  9. George Gordon, Lord Byron
  10. Lewis Carroll (Charles Ludbridge Dodson)
  11. Sir Winston Churchill
  12. Hernan Cortes (W)
  13. Charles Robert Darwin (W in RD 900)
  14. Jefferson Davis (W)
  15. John Dryden
  16. Henry Fielding
  17. E.M. Forster
  18. Albert Gallatin
  19. Jean-Luc Godard (W)
  20. Che Guevara
  21. Dag Hammarskjold
  22. Patrick Henry
  23. Audrey Hepburn
  24. David Hume
  25. Francis Scott Key
  26. Marquis de Lafayette (and his wife)
  27. Robert E. Lee (W in RD 900)
  28. John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
  29. Karl Marx (W)
  30. Vladimir Nabokov
  31. Sir Lawrence Olivier
  32. Jacqueline (Bouvier) (Kennedy) Onassis
  33. Juan Ponce de Leon
  34. George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
  35. Ezra Pound (W)
  36. Peter Paul Rubens
  37. Bertrand (3rd Earl) Russell
  38. The Marquis de Sade
  39. Percy Bysshe Shelley
  40. Edmund Spenser (W)
  41. Jonathan Swift
  42. Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  43. Henry David Thoreau
  44. Leo, Count Tolstoy
  45. Anthony Trollope
  46. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
  47. Virginia Woolf
  48. William Wordsworth
  49. Sir Christopher Wren (W)
  50. Ferdinand, Count Zeppelin

In addition to the above, researchers who study RD 900 can establish their connections to many of the most illustrious political figures in history. Among U.S. presidents, or their wives, RD 900 traces the royal descents of Washington, John Adams (W), Jefferson, Madison, J. Q. Adams, W. H. Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, Pierce, Grant (W), Hayes, Garfield, Arthur (W), Cleveland, B. Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, both wives of Woodrow Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, F.D. Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower (W), Kennedy (W), Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan (W), G. H. W. and G. W. Bush, Obama, and Biden (W). Queens themselves of royal descent, and nearly related to one or more of the 900, include Elizabeth I, Catherine and Marie de’Medici, Catherine the Great, Victoria, Josephine and Eugenie (wives of Napoleon I and III), and Geraldine of Albania (wife of King Zog). Among recent or current British royals, readers will find the late Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and her descendants, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Princess of Wales, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Mark Phillips (first husband of Princess Anne).

Compared with Mr. Roberts’ earlier RD 600, originally published in 2004, RD 900 includes over 85 new colonial immigrants of royal descent. The following 22 have many thousands—and in some cases doubtless millions–of descendants:

  1. Mrs. Rebecca Ward Allen
  2. Mrs. Elizabeth Epes Chute
  3. Mrs. Mary Ward Cutting
  4. Mrs. Mary Epes Duncan
  5. Rodolphus Elmes
  6. William Markham (1-3, Mass.)
  7. Mrs. Dorothy Harlakenden Symonds (1-7, Mass.)
  8. Leonard Chester
  9. Henry Gregory
  10. Mrs. Joanna Quarles Smith (8-10 CT)
  11. Rev. Gregory Dexter of R.I.
  12. Mrs. Katherine Duncanson Glen
  13. Mrs. Margaret Duncanson Teller
  14. Edward Howell of L.I. (12-14, N.Y.)
  15. Mrs. Mary Jones Lloyd of Penn.
  16. Mrs. Anne Talbot Darnall
  17. Mrs. Anne Fielder Gantt (Wight)
  18. Mrs. Margaret Domville Hatton (Banks) (16-18, Md.)
  19. Thomas Gaskins (Gascoigne)
  20. Theophilus Hone
  21. Mrs. Alice Lukayn Page (19-21 Va)
  22. 15. Ralph Izard of S.C.

At least as significant as Mr. Roberts’ large collection of  new findings, is his remarkable synthesis of 150 years of royal descent scholarship. RD 900 incorporates research by 260 scholars/contributors, as found in  monographs, journal articles, new genealogies, and compendia. Roberts’ principal sources include the  recent multi-volume works by Douglas Richardson, series by Jacques Arnold and Detlev Schwennicke, (this latter for German and Russian immigrants especially); the many contributions of John C. Brandon and John Anderson Brayton on U.S. and British royal lines; the improved and new Continental lines developed by John Blythe Dobson;  and much more.  

Finally, the French-Canadian section of RD 900 represents the first attempt at a published compendium of Quebec royal descents; much of it is derived from Memoires (especially articles by Roland-Yves Gagne) and Michigan’s Habitant Heritage (especially articles by Diane Wolford Sheppard). Highlights of the the new Canadian section include:

  1. 22 immigrants from France to Quebec
  2. 27 immigrants from Quebec to the U.S.
  3. Almost ur-ancestors Catherine Baillon (married Jacques Miville) and a new, corrected descent for Anne Couvent (married Philippe Amiot)
  4. Couvent and/or Baillon to Pierre and Justin Trudeau, and “near ancestors” of Jean Chretien, Jack Kerouac, Mike Gravel, Robert Goulet, Angelina Jolie (at one time Mrs. Brad Pitt), Madonna, Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, Anna Paquin, Chloe Sevigny, and Beyonce (Knowles, married to “Jay Z”, rapper). Notable RD immigrants themselves include Celine Dion, Alanis Morrisette, Ryan Gosling, Jim Carrey, and Justin Bieber.