Monday, February 1, 2010

{2} Why Edward I?

Edward I Throne - a re-creation in the
Tower of London
So my database is an attempt to gather the descendants of Edward I of England. Why him, as opposed to, say, Henry I, or Edward IV?

It goes back to my youth, of course. I was introduced to the medieval English royal dynasty - the Plantagenets, for want of a better surname - through the 4-book series by Canadian author Thomas B. Costain, of which my favorite was The Three Edwards (more on that in another post), and through a series of historical fiction novels by Jean Plaidy, of which my favorites were Hammer of the Scots and The Follies of the King (more on those in yet another post). Because Edward I had four children (Joan of Acre, Elizabeth of Rhuddlan, Thomas of Brotherton, Edmund of Woodstock) who married and remained in England, and whose descendants interacted frequently with the Plantagenet royal line, he seemed the best place to start.

As I became an adult and started to research the genealogy of the Plantagenet and other English medieval dynasties in detail, I realized that original sources for the reigns of Edward I through Richard III were particularly strong, often transcribed in modern (or modern-enough) English, and readily available at large libraries. The original sources for pre-1300 England, and for continental royal lines were almost always in languages for which I had no fluency: Latin, Anglo-Norman French, etc. It made those lines harder to wade through. So Edward I seemed a great place to begin, falling as it did close enough to 1300, the beginning of the "calamitous fourteenth century," as historian Barbara Tuchman phrased it. Edward I became a useful cut-off point in my research. If a person/family wasn't descended from him, I happily skipped over them.

Edward I (1239-1307)
Once I discovered the internet, and the amazing research in the field of royal descent genealogy that was being shared through it, I came across a wonderful website created by genealogist Mark Humphrys: Royal Descents of Famous People. In it, he throws down the following gauntlet:

"Some more figures it would be interesting to estimate:
  • Number of estimated descendants of Edward I - Roderick W. Stuart claims tens of millions of descendants in America alone. According to Brian Tompsett, it has been said that "All English descend from Edward I and all Scots from Malcolm III."
  • Number of provable step by step descendants of Edward I."
I strongly disagree with the assertion that all English descend from Edward I, and doubt that there are tens of millions of Americans descended from him. The more I researched, the more I found that many American lines were incorrectly traced back to him, poorly researched, or based on wishful thinking.

What I hope to have happen with Royal Descent is a comprehensive website of the provable decendants of Edward I, at least up until the year 1500. An incredibly over-ambitious undertaking, but, hey, I gotta start somewhere!


  1. Great to see you here in blogland, Brad! I'm really looking forward to reading your posts.

  2. Wow, Brad. It seems we have alot in common. Thomas Costain is exactly how I got the "bug." And I have a thing for New Wave music, too. Just like Kathyrn, I look forward to your posts.

  3. Kathryn, your blog has been one of my two greatest inspirations in this (the other is Susan Higginbotham's blog). Thanks for the support!

    Nicola, we do have a lot in common! Great to have you aboard, and I look forward to hearing your perspective on all of these medieval families.

  4. Thanks, Brad! Really enjoying this blog!

  5. Thank you, Susan! I'm looking forward to reading 'The Traitor's Wife'.

  6. I was doing a google search on medieval england, wanting to expand my knowledge, and your blog popped up. As of right now, I know some about Tudor England (and not the T.V. show, they got SO much wrong!) and wanted to find out more about before. I have to say, I love your blog and am looking forward to catching up on your posts. Thank you for sharing!


  7. Hi Brad, How's the project going? What's the total? Allison

  8. I did my ancestry & came to Edward I through Thomas Brotherton. My family names start with "me" Kubal, Hibbard, Millard, Zouch, Grey, to Edward I. So is my line incorrect?

  9. I am "unknown" concerning my tree from Kubal to Edward I. My Facebook is Nancy Kuba. Would like to know more from an expert on this.

    1. Dear Nancy,

      I'd be happy to take a look at your line from Edward I. You can post here in the Comments, or email me at:

      Cheers, ---Brad

  10. Updated with numbering and photos captioned.