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Peter

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Reply with quote  #31 
Yes, well, Baron, I could show you a fair few descents from Popes that aren't indirect at all. Alexander VI and Paul III spring immediately to mind, there are a couple of others. I was well up on this particular question at one point, not as anti-Catholic ammunition but because Papal descents invariably seemed to end up in royal lines. Side-descents such as with Aquinas are of course much more common, I would never suggest that every Pope was given to betraying his vows. But with all the Popes there have been, inevitably there is going to be the odd example.

Actually the line I traced did involve a Papal side-descent, via the Orsini. Nicholas III was an Orsini and the particular Orsini line referenced descended from his brother. The Orsini of course were, indeed are, a very ancient family in the Roman nobility, and there are many other lines from them into European royalty. Even Papal side-descents (and those of lesser Church figures, Cardinal Mazarin for example, descent from whose nieces is quite widespread in Catholic royalty due to the matches he arranged for them, even though they were low-ranking nobility at best) can introduce some interesting blood. Many Popes came from families of established wealth and power, often with multiple Popes to their name. Some though came from humbler backgrounds, and their determination to elevate their family's position resulted in lines being introduced into nobility and then royalty that sprang from, if not peasants, not an enormous step above that status.
norenxaq

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Reply with quote  #32 
is there any evidence of orsini descent from the romans other than their claim?
Peter

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Reply with quote  #33 
Except in the sense that all native Italians are going to be descended from the Romans, in fact most of the population of Europe will be, not really. It is an ancient claim and may be true, though the likelihood is greater that it was invented at some point. I don't think in any case that there's an asserted chain of descent, which is the only thing that would count and be at least in theory verifiable, though probably not in practice. I do have a little detail on the Orsini claim somewhere, I'll dig it up and add it later on.

The whole question of a bridge to antiquity is fascinating and frustrating. Obviously descent not merely exists but is universal. But there is not one single proven chain, for all the efforts people have devoted to finding one. Merely a few that are suggestive. My impression is that the Orsini claim is not regarded as one of the stronger ones, not that any of them are very strong.

PS Having looked into it a little and refreshed my memory, I would say there was no basis for the Orsini claim, it was pure fiction.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #34 
Some small evidence that I never forget. Although in this case I stumbled across the answer by accident, at least I remembered that I was supposed to be looking for it. The Counts Douglas of Sweden. They are, albeit very remotely, sprung from the great Scottish noble house. One of the great names of European chivalry is Sir James Douglas, boon companion and heroic ally of Robert Bruce in his fight for the throne, and most of the more famous members of the line descend from him or his nephew William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas. The Swedish line finds its source in Sir James's great-uncle, his paternal grandfather's younger brother Andrew de Douglas of Hermiston. who was also male line ancestor of the still-extant Earls of Morton.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #35 
Concerning item #19 on the Battenberg/Mountbatten family, it seems that there has been some recent discoveries about Maria Theresa Kornely, Julie, Princess of Battenberg's maternal grandmother. Whereas previously I have only ever seen her father's name, Markus Kornely, Wikipedia ancestries now have her mother's name too, Louise Schneider. And even a full set of grandparents, Albert Kornely, Elisabeth Lange, Anton Schneider and Ida Braun. None of which apart from the Kornely surname sounds very Hungarian, so scratch that theory.

I'd rather have facts, though, and am pleased at this discovery about a not terribly distant ancestress of inter alia the King of Spain and the Prince of Wales. And, oh yeah, Luis Alfonso. If anyone knows any background to the new information, how it was unearthed and what documentary support there is for it, I'd love to hear about it.
Peter

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Reply with quote  #36 
Not a discovery, just one of those odd and surprising descents one comes across, and thinks may be of interest to a few here. The Princes of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg are a typical mediatised line, which is to say obscure, except that the current (6th) Prince, Richard-Casimir, and his sister Tatiana both married much higher-profile royalty. In the case of the Prince, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, next sister of Queen Margethe II, and in his sister's case Landgrave Moritz of Hesse, usually mentioned as a possible claimant to the Finnish throne (which if there were a Finnish throne he might be) and at any rate the head of that ancient and significant House.

The unexpected and interesting descent to be set out is from Charles II, and I will then throw in the great 1st Duke of Marlborough plus a few connections to early British naval heroes for good measure. Here goes:

HM King Charles II and Nell Gwyn
Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans
Lord Sidney Beauclerk
Topham Beauclerk
Mary Beauclerk m Franz, Graf von Jenison-Walworth
Graefin Amalie von Jenison-Walworth m Alban, Graf von Schoenburg-Glauchau
Graefin Olga Clara von Schoenburg-Forderglauchau m Wilhelm, 4th Prince of Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg
Prince Alfred of Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg
Princess Madeleine of Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg m Richard, 4th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Gustav Albrecht, 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Richard-Casimir, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg m Princess Benedikte of Denmark
and
Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg m Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse

The line from the Duke of Marlborough:

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
Lady Anne Churchill m Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland
Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough
Lady Diana Spencer m Topham Beauclerk as above

Finally the English naval heroes. The 1st Duke of Marlborough's mother was Elizabeth Drake, daughter of Sir John Drake of Ashe, Devon. Ah ha, you will think. And yes Sir Francis Drake is one of those I had in mind. However although he undoubtedly belonged to a branch of this Drake family the exact descent was unknown even to him, which caused him difficulties with using the family arms for example, So he was a relative of Sir John, but exactly how related is not traceable. More definite is the connection to Sir Richard Grenville, of Revenge fame. Sir John's great-grandfather, another John Drake of Ashe, married Amy Grenville, Sir Richard's sister. The Wikipedia article on Sir Richard Grenville asserts that he, and therefore also his sister Amy, was cousin to Sir Walter Raleigh as well as Sir Francis Drake. Maybe. Sir Walter's mother was Katherine Champernowne and there are Champernownes also in the remoter reaches of Sir Richard's and Amy's ancestry. It is reasonable to think that there was a relation, but what it might be is not apparent from my sources. One descent definitely traceable is from the Grenville pair's father Sir Roger Grenville. He was the last captain of the Mary Rose, and went down with her. Not a naval hero perhaps, but still another interesting and unexpected ancestor for a minor German princely line.

BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #37 
Great stuff  Peter.
Thanks!


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Peter

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Reply with quote  #38 

Thanks, Baron. I was mildly comforted after yesterday’s epic to see that the thread at that point had 1,999 reads, not bad, evidently people do find some interest in it. Then I looked down the front page of the forum and found that it actually had more reads than any thread but one. That would have been nice too, except that the thread which beat it was the lunatic ravings about Peter the Roman, putting a slightly different light on what might be interesting people…

Oh well, nothing daunted, here’s a point about the Hesse line in particular. As people may know, the current Landgraves are the last surviving line of this once vast and multi-branched House (30/3/12: the last surviving line apart from that of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld, my apologies to the present Landgrave and other members of the branch, which I had mistakenly assumed was extinct), with its ancient roots in Brabant and significance in Reformation history in particular. Well, the last apart from two surviving morganatic branches, the celebrated Battenberg/Mountbatten line descended from the morganatic marriage of Alexander, a son (on paper though not in fact) of Grand Duke Louis II of Hesse and by Rhine, and the less well-known line of the Princes of Hanau, descended from the morganatic marriage of Friedrich Wilhelm, Elector of Hesse. He was the son of Elector Wilhelm II by his first wife Princess Augusta of Prussia. This marriage was unhappy and the couple lived mostly apart, though in the Elector’s case not alone, as he lived with his mistress Emile Ortlöpp. When Augusta died he married Emilie, legitimating their numerous children. These formed another morganatic branch, the Counts of Reichenbach-Lessonitz. It is long extinct but the next Landgrave will in fact be descended from them, and therefore from the senior branch of the Electors of Hesse. Here’s how the lines agnatically diverge and eventually cognatically rejoin:

Friedrich II, Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel m Princess Mary of Great Britain

1. Wilhelm I, Elector of Hesse

1. Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Cassel

2. Wilhelm II, Elector of Hesse

2. Prince Wilhelm of Hesse-Cassel

3. Count Wilhelm of Reichenbach-Lessonitz

3. Friedrich Wilhelm, Landgrave of Hesse

4. Countess Pauline of Reichenbach-Lessonitz m Prince Alfred of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg

4. Friedrich Karl, Landgrave of Hesse, elected King of Finland

5. Princess Madeleine of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg m Richard, 4th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

5. Philipp, Landgrave of Hesse

6. Gustav Albrecht, 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

7. Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg m

6. Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse

BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #39 
A line extinct that has descent?
I missed something there.


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Peter

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Reply with quote  #40 
Agnatically extinct. There are no more Counts and Countesses of Reichenbach-Lessonitz as the male line failed. Descent through females exists, however.
BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #41 
Ah.

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Peter

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Reply with quote  #42 
Interesting little discovery about the ancestry of Princess Sophie of Isenburg, now Princess of Prussia as wife of Prince Georg Friedrich. Going backwards from her:

Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia m Princess Sophie of Isenburg
Franz Alexander, Prince of Isenburg
Franz Ferdinand, Prince of Isenburg m Countess Irina Tolstaia
Count Alexander Tolstoi
Count Mikhail Tolstoi m Princess Olga Wassiltchikov
Prince Alexander Wassiltchikov
Prince Hilarion Wassiltchikov m Tatiana Pachkov
Vassile Pachkov m Countess Ekaterina Tolstaia
Count Alexander Tolstoi m Evdokia Izmailova
Lev Izmailov m Princess Anna Galitzina
Prince Mikhail Galitzin
Prince Mikhail Galitzin
Prince Andrei Galitzine
Prince Andrey Galitzine
Prince Ivan Bulgakow-Golitsyn
Prince Yuri Bulgakow-Golitsyn
Prince Mikhail Bulgakow-Golitsyn
Ivan Bulgak, Prince Patrikijew
Vasile Jurinpoika, Prince Patrikijew
Jurij Patrikijevitch
Prince Patrikej Glebovitch, Duke of Starodub
Narimantas Gediminaitis, Grand Prince of Veliki Novgorod m Marija
Mongke Temur, Khan of the Golden Horde m Khatun Oljaitu
Saljudal, Garugan of the Quingirat m Khatun Khalmish Aga
Khan Qutugtu
Tolui Khan
Genghis Khan
BaronVonServers

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Reply with quote  #43 
The Prussian Huns?
Who'da thunk?


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Peter

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Reply with quote  #44 
That occurred to me, but I thought I'd leave it for someone else to say it. This was the second descent from Genghis Khan I found, the first was from his eldest son Jochi, but it is somewhat debated whether Jochi was actually the son of Genghis. His mother Borte, chief wife of Genghis, was a war captive at around the time the conception would have taken place, and while Genghis accepted Jochi as his own the question mark remained. There is no doubt about Tolui, the youngest of the four sons of Genghis and Borte, and he is notable for among other things being the father (by a different wife to the mother of Khan Qutugtu) of Kublai Khan. So Princess Sophie is actually the very many times great-niece of an Emperor of China. Another interesting ancestral uncle she has is Prince Grigori Potemkin, the famous general and lover of Catherine the Great. The novelist Tolstoy is a relative but I don't know in what degree, the Tolstoys were a many-branched family.
KYMonarchist

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Reply with quote  #45 
Oh my goodness, yaaayyy! The German Empress is a descendant of Genghis Khan, now Germany must restore the monarchy or Genghis Khan will plunder their territory in revenge for their disrespect to his lineage! 
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