william-the-conqueror

So, last night the Cosmic Mother sent me an interesting email detailing the supposed genealogical history of her maternal grandfather. The story (which was written up in a local newspaper upon his passing, so its got some level of credibility) is that at the age of 19, in 1893, this guy pulled up stakes and moved from Maine to Idaho, where he settled down to become a fixture as an early pioneer in the area.

Now, think about that for a minute. Maine to Idaho. 1893. Now, I suppose he could have gone from Maine to Albuquerque and then up to Idaho, but in 1893 there weren’t a whole lot of easy ways to get from Maine to Idaho. And the straightest, shortest, and most likely cheapest route took you through or very near the Lakota Sioux nation. No biggie right? Well, except that the last major “war” between the Lakota Sioux and the US Government took place in 1891. Just two years before my great-grandfather moseyed through that same region. That had to have been a gut-check. The guy must have had some serious cojones.

But that’s not what the story was about. That was a minor lead-in to the supposed family history of my great-grandfather. The real story was that he was supposedly a direct descendent of one of William the Conqueror’s right-hand men in the “Battle of Hastings”, which was the decisive battle for the control of England during the Norman Invasion. As a reward for his gallantry and bravery, William supposedly awarded my ancestor a royal appointment as Lord of a huge swath of land including some of England’s most famous landmarks and towns. I’m not listing them because some of them are famous enough that a quick google search could probably determine who I am talking about.

Anyway, this ancestor of mine had two sons. The eldest, of course, inherited all the lands, estates and fortune that William had granted to his father. The second son, as was the case in feudal society at the time, inherited nothing beyond a small estate and patronage. The eldest son had no male children, so all of that estate was absorbed back by the King and disposed of in the manner of Kings rewarding favored subjects. C’est la vie, I suppose.

The younger son’s children did OK over the years though. Most married well into other royal families and the genealogy indicates a number of important figures in the blood line, but the laws of inheritance favored only the first sons for many generations, and eventually one unfavored son apparently hopped on board one of the early ships sailing for the new world and appeared in Virginia in or around the mid-seventeenth century. It is from that individual that the Cosmic Mother’s maternal line derives.

Interesting stuff. If true then I have some slight taint of royal blood, and one of my ancestors was instrumental in the course of world history. Pretty cool.

Of course I don’t believe a word of it. But it’s fun to speculate.