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Genealogy/Answered Question

Expert: Jessica Hacken
Subject: Royal Lines
Question: I am dubious about the genealogies I see these days.For example I hear all the time that William the conqueror is a direct descendant of Charlemagne. Then I hear of people making claims that because they have traced their ancestry to some royal European line they are related to all sorts of historical figures.
Roman emperors or Hellenistic Kings or Generals or Biblical figures. Even Mohammed or Chinese Emperors I think.
What is really known about European Royalty and these sort of connections? Is William the Conqueror really a direct descendant of Charlemagne? Is Charlemagne really a descendent of Antiocous I Soter or of Ptolemy of Eqypt?
Maybe, likely, unlikely?

I wasn't really sure how to find an expert to answer this, hope you can help.

Answer: Bill -

Royal genealogy is pretty documented. There are many number of books and publications on royal nobility, such as Burke's Peerage and Ansleme's Histoire Genealogique et Chronologique de la Maison Royale de France. If you can tie in your family to one of these lines you can trace your family back pretty far and many people can. The problem is making sure that you can find documentation that proves your connection. There is a good essay on the topic here: There is also a good article on how Niall of the Nine Hostages (an Irish king) is the ancestor of about 3 million men today (there is also a review of a DNA test for Genghis Khan on this site):

Tracing back to biblical lines can get a little sketchier, just for a lack of documentation.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Good luck!

Jessica Hacken

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Jessica Hacken


I have extensive research experience in Scotland, Canada (both English and French-speaking), England, Wales (I have some Welsh language experience), France, the U.S, and Jamaica. I am the owner of Arbor Genealogy, research/lecutring business, and am a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.


I have B.A.s in Family History/Genealogy and French. Besides a professional, I'm an advid hobbiest and am always willing to help people out with their research. I've also been a library assistant, so I know the ins and outs of research.

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