The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 1) Craig L. Foster of the Family History Library enters the team

After a several-month hiatus, the genealogy side of our blog is coming back to life, keeping a pace with the progress in the archival research.

Since May 2013, we have enjoyed the collaboration of Craig L. Foster, a research consultant at the Family History Library, a division of FamilySearch, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a privilege for the Auramala Project, as Craig is well respected professional in a highly specialised field, and is working with the largest and most detailed genealogical databases in the world. Craig has been following the direct female line of descendancy down from Edward II’s mother, Eleanor of Castille, toward the present, in the hopes of discovering a living carrier of Edward II’s mitochondrial DNA. It is painstaking and at times frustrating research, and it is not the regular work of the Family History Library, since their emphasis is on assisting people to find their ancestors. We are very grateful both to Craig and the Family History Library for the time and effort dedicated to the Auramala Project.

Family History Libary
The Family History Library, Utah

The family-tree mapping is an ongoing process, and we still have not found our living descendant(s), so please, genealogy enthusiasts, do keep checking on this blog and write to us as soon as you see a name appear in these genealogy blog posts that you know for certain appears in your own family tree. We really need people around the world to get involved and help us track descendants. A big thank you in advance to anybody who can help with this.

So let’s get into the nitty gritty of things, by following one of the lines that Craig has mapped out. Remember, the key aspect is that mitochondrial DNA follows the path from mothers to their children, but is NOT passed on to the next generation by men, only by women. So both men and women bear it, but only women transmit it.

(The following information is courtesy of Craig L. Foster. Mr Foster is a research consultant at FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah ( FamilySearch collects digitized records and other information to assist people around the world searching after their ancestors. FamilySearch does not normally perform research on DNA and to search for living descendants.)

The effigy of Eleanor of Castile in Westminster Abbey
The effigy of Eleanor of Castile in Westminster Abbey


The first generation is made up of the 17 (!) children of Eleanor herself, including Edward II. Of these, only female children who had female children of their own interest the research, as they are the only ones to pass on Eleanor’s mitochondrial DNA. These daughters are in red.

Generation 1

Children of Edward I ‘Longshanks’, King of England and Eleanor de Castilla, Comtesse de Ponthieu

  1. 1.      Eleanor of England+ b. 17 Jun 1264, d. 12 Oct 1298
  2. 2.      Joan of England b. c Jun 1265, d. b 7 Sep 1265
  3. 3.      John of England b. 10 Jul 1266, d. 3 Aug 1271
  4. 4.      Alice of England b. c 1267, d. 1279
  5. 5.      Henry of England b. 13 Jul 1267, d. 14 Oct 1274
  6. 6.      Juliana of England b. 1271, d. 28 May 1271 (Known as Katherine of England)
  7. 7.      Joan of Acre+ b. c Apr 1272, d. 23 Apr 1307
  8. 8.      Alfonso of England, 1st Earl of Chester b. 24 Nov 1273, d. 19 Aug 1284
  9. 9.      Margaret of England+ b. 11 Sep 1275, d. 1318
  10. 10.  Berengaria of England b. 1276, d. bt 1276 – 1279
  11. 11.  Mary of England b. 11 Mar 1278, d. b 8 Jul 1332
  12. 12.  Alice of England b. 12 Mar 1279, d. c 1291
  13. 13.  Isabella of England1 b. 12 Mar 1279, d. 1279
  14. 14.  Elizabeth Plantagenet+ b. Aug 1282, d. 5 May 1316
  15. 15.  Edward II, King of England+ b. 25 Apr 1284, d. 21 Sep 1327
  16. 16.  Beatrice of England b. c 1286
  17. 17.  Blanche of England b. c 1290, d. 1290

Unfortunately, the line of Eleanor of England dies out very quickly, due to the extremely unhappy love-life of her daughter Joan de Bar (see Kathryn Warner’s blog on Edward II for all the details). For the moment, we will follow the line represented by Joan of Acre, the seventh child of Edward I ‘Longhsanks’ and Eleanor of Castille.

7. Joan of Acre Plantagenet

Joan of Acre was born circa April 1272 at Acre, Israel.2 She married, firstly, Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester, son of Richard de Clare, 5th Earl of Gloucester and Matilda de Lacy, on 30 April 1290 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.2 She married, secondly, Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester before 2 August 1297, without her father’s consent, although this was pardoned on 2 August 1297. She died on 23 April 1307 at Clare, Suffolk, England.3 She was buried at Priory Church of the Austin Friars, Clare, Suffolk, England.3
She was also known as Joan Plantagenet.4 From 30 April 1290, her married name became de Clare. From 1297, her married name became Monthermer.

Children of Joan of Acre and Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester

  1. 1.      Gilbert de Clare, 7th Earl of Gloucester5 b. 10 May 1291, d. 24 Jun 1314
  2. 2.      Eleanor de Clare+1 b. Oct 1292, d. 30 Jun 1337
  3. 3.      Margaret de Clare+1 b. 1293, d. Apr 1342
  4. 4.      Elizabeth de Clare+6 b. 16 Sep 1295, d. 4 Nov 1360

Children of Joan of Acre and Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester

  1. 1.      Mary de Monthermer+1 b. 1298, d. a 1371
  2. 2.      Joan de Monthermer1 b. 1299 – Became a nun
  3. 3.      Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron Monthermer+1 b. 1301, d. 1340
  4. 4.      Edward de Monthermer, 3rd Baron Monthermer1 b. 1304, d. b 3 Feb 1340


  1. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.
  2. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 82. Hereinafter cited as Britain’s Royal Families.
  3. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families, page 83.
  4. [S125] Richard Glanville-Brown, online , Richard Glanville-Brown (RR 2, Milton, Ontario, Canada), downloaded 17 August 2005.
  1. [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 244. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  2. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 245.

Naturally, this line continues with the children of Joan of Acre’s daughters, in this case Eleanor de Clare, Margaret de Clare, Elizabeth de Clare and Mary de Monthermer. This is a very fruitful line. As Craig Foster wrote to me in a recent email “there are thousands upon thousands of descendants. I’m a descendant in this line, but not along the direct female line, so I don’t have the mitochondrial DNA we’re looking for.”

We’ll see how this, and other lines work out in following blog posts.

Note: Craig L. Foster has made extensive use of the resources of the Family History Library, and


2 thoughts on “The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 1) Craig L. Foster of the Family History Library enters the team

    1. Hello Tricia, that is very interesting. Would you mind my sending you an email to get in touch with you, and ask you to send me the part of your family tree that connects you with Eleanor? It could be potentially very helpful for the researchers working on the genealogy. Thank you!

      Ivan Fowler.

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