The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 6) – Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet

With this post I’m going right back up the tree to Elizabeth Plantagenet (7 August 1282 – 5 May 1316). She was the youngest daughter of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, and two years older than her brother, Edward II. For a short careful and detailed biography by Kathryn Warner, click here. For the Auramala project, what we want to know is not the details of Elizabeth’s day to day life, but simply who her daughters were, and dates of when she lived. However, even that creates a story! Firstly, thanks to her royal status, we actually can date both her birth and death, unlike most women of her age. We have that rare gift to medieval historians, a source! A fragment of the roll of daily expenses in Queen Eleanor’s household shows that she was churched on Sunday, 6 September 1282 (P.R.O. E 101/684/62 m.1). Since we know queens were usually confined for thirty days following the birth of a daughter, Elizabeth’s birth may be dated c. 7 August 1282. 1 We also know the location of her birth, Rhuddlan Castle, in Wales, as the Chronicle of Bury St. Edmunds states: “1282. Alienora regina Anglie apud Rothelan filiam peperit quam uocauit Elizabeth.”2 (Eleanor, queen of England, gave birth to a daughter at Rhuddlan, whom she named Elizabeth.) Moving on to her children. Elizabeth first married in 1297 (aged fourteen) the twelve year old Jan I, Count of Holland. It was a short lived marriage, and they did not spend much time together, Elizabeth choosing (of her own will, yes, that’s right, important medieval women could make some decisions!) to remain in England rather than go to Holland with her husband. She did go there for a few months in 1299, but Jan, now fifteen years old, died there on 10th November 1299. No children were born of the marriage, and a combination of distance, youth, and Jan’s ill health make it unlikely that it was ever consummated. No Dutch relations of Edward II to be traced from this line then, but fortunately, Elizabeth’s story doesn’t end here. Our seventeen year old widowed princess returned to England, and she would have known that she would be marrying again, probably fairly soon. Women of high status families, particularly when at a fertile age, were incredibly useful and powerful in politics, cementing alliances. This time she married an Englishman, Humphry de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, 3rd of Essex, and Constable of England, at Westminister Abbey on 14 November 1302. The fruits of this marriage are a goldmine for us. Eleven children in thirteen years! Including four daughters, who we will be looking into in future posts. Sadly, this state of almost constant pregnancy and childbirth must have taken its toll on Elizabeth’s health. On 5 May 1316 she went into labour, giving birth to another daughter, Isabella. Both Elizabeth and her daughter Isabella died shortly after the birth, and were buried together in Waltham Abbey. A sad end to the story, but don’t worry, there’ll be another one. Enrica Biasi (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 (www.familysearch.org). 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.) Generation 2

  1. Elizabeth Plantagenet

Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet was born in August 1282 at Rhuddlan Castle, Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, Wales.2 She was the daughter of Edward I ‘Longshanks’, King of England and Eleanor de Castilla, Comtesse de Ponthieu. She married, firstly, Jean I Graaf van Hollant en Zeeland, son of Florent V Graaf van Hollant and Beatrix de Flandre, on 18 January 1297 at Ipswich Priory Church, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.2 She married, secondly, Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford, son of Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford and Maud de Fiennes, on 14 November 1302 at Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London, England.1 She died on 5 May 1316 at age 33 at Quendon, Essex, England, childbirth.3 She was buried at Walden Abbey, Essex, England.3 From 14 November 1302, her married name became de Bohun. Children of Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet and Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford

  1. Edmund de Bohun1
  2. Margaret de Bohun+1 d. 16 Dec 1391
  3. Hugh de Bohun1 b. c 1303, d. 1305
  4. Eleanor de Bohun+1 b. 1304, d. 1363
  5. Mary de Bohun1 b. 1305, d. 1305
  6. John de Bohun, 5th Earl of Hereford1 b. 23 Nov 1306, d. 20 Jan 1336
  7. Humphrey de Bohun, 6th Earl of Hereford1 b. 1309, d. 1361
  8. William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton+ b. c 1311, d. 16 Sep 1360
  9. Edward de Bohun1 b. c 1311, d. 1334
  10. Eneas de Bohun1 b. c 1314, d. b 1343 – Died without issue.
  11. Isabella de Bohun3 b. 1316, d. 1316

Citations

  1. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 84. Hereinafter cited as Britain’s Royal Families.
  2. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families, page 83.

[S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families, page 85. 1 John Carmi Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I,” Mediaeval Studies, 46, 1984. 2 The Chronicle of Bury St Edmunds, 1212-1301, Antonia Gransden (ed.), Nelson Medieval Texts (London: 1964).

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The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 3) The de Clare lineage ends…

In today’s post we continue with the genealogical research of Craig L. Foster, research consultant at the Family History Library, a division of FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. Craig is 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.

The last time we dipped into his research, we were following the de Clare lineage, descended from Edward II’s sister Joan of Acre, which produced many female descendants in Generation 3. Unfortunately, there’s bad news. Here we outline generations 4 and 5 following the same lineage, but you can see that with each generation the field narrows considerably, as female descendents most often did not have daughters. Fortunately, we see here in generation five a promising group of de Ros family daughters. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, and see how it turns out.

(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 (www.familysearch.org). 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.)

 

Generation 4

45. Eleanor le Despenser

Eleanor le Despenser, daughter of Lady Eleanor de Clare and Hugh le Despenser, 1st Lord le Despenser, married Sir Hugh de Courtenay.

Children of Eleanor le Despenser and Hugh de Courtenay

72. Margaret de Courtenay d. 18 Mar 1349 – Mar. Nicholas de Moels, 2nd Baron Moels and had one son.

48. Margaret Audley, Baroness Audley

MargaretAudley, Baroness Audley was the daughter of HughAudley, 1st and last Earl of Gloucester and MargaretdeClare.1 She married RalphdeStafford, 1st Earl of Stafford, son of EdmunddeStafford, 1st Lord Stafford and MargaretBasset, before 6 July 1336.1 She died between 1347 and 1351.1 She was buried at Tonbridge, Kent, England.2
She succeeded to the title of
2nd Baroness Audley [E., 1317] on 10 November 1347, suo jure.1

Children of Margaret Audley, Baroness Audley and RalphdeStafford, 1st Earl of Stafford

73. CatherinedeStafford+ d. a 6 Dec 1361 – Mar. Sir John de Sutton and had one son.

74. BeatricedeStafford+2 d. 14 Apr 1415

75. LadyElizabethdeStafford3 b. c 1334, d. 7 Aug 1376 – Died without issue.

76. JoandeStafford+4 b. 1336, d. b 1397 – Mar. John Cherleton, 3rd Lord Cherleton and had two sons.

77. SirRalphStafford b. b 1344, d. b 1347

78. HughdeStafford, 2nd Earl of Stafford+1 b. c 1344, d. 13 Oct 1386

Citations

  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 I, page 346. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  2. [S1545] Mitchell Adams, “re: West Ancestors,” e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 6 December 2005 – 19 June 2009. Hereinafter cited as “re: West Ancestors.”
  3. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 353.
  4. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 161.

Generation 5

74. BeatricedeStafford

BeatricedeStafford was the daughter of RalphdeStafford, 1st Earl of Stafford and MargaretAudley, Baroness Audley.2,1 She married, firstly, MauricefitzMaurice, 2nd Earl of Desmond, son of MauricefitzThomas, 1st Earl of Desmond.3 She married, secondly, ThomasdeRos, 4th Lord de Ros of Helmsley, son of WilliamdeRos, 2nd Lord de Ros of Helmsley and MargerydeBadlesmere, circa 1 January 1359.3 She married, thirdly, SirRichardBurley after 1384.3 She died on 14 April 1415.3
From after 1384, her married name became Burley.
3

Children of Beatrice de Stafford and ThomasdeRos, 4th Lord de Ros of Helmsley

  1. ElizabethdeRos+1 d. Mar 1424
  2. MargaretdeRos+2
  3. ThomasdeRos3
  4. RobertdeRos3
  5. JohndeRos, 5th Lord de Ros of Helmsley3 b. c 1368, d. 6 Aug 1393
  6. WilliamdeRos, 6th Lord de Ros of Helmsley+4 b. c 1369, d. 1 Sep 1414

Citations

  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 292. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  2. [S1545] Mitchell Adams, “re: West Ancestors,” e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 6 December 2005 – 19 June 2009. Hereinafter cited as “re: West Ancestors.”
  3. [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1107. Hereinafter cited as Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  4. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume XI, page 102.

 

 

The Search for Edward II’s Descendants 2) Joan of Acre’s descendants

Having published some significant progress in the historical and archival research, we decided it was time to continue with the genealogical research currently being carried out at the same time by Craig L. Foster, research consultant at the Family History Library, a division of FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah. As mentioned in previous posts, Craig has been following the direct female line of descendants 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.

The Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

The last time we took a look at his research, we had looked at the generation of Eleanor of Castille’s daughters1, and had singled out one possible fruitful line of research in the person of Joan of Acre. As Craig reports:

Joan of Acre was born circa April 1272 at Acre, Israel.2 She was the daughter of Edward I ‘Longshanks’, King of England and Eleanor de Castilla, Comtesse de Ponthieu. 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.

So let’s continue down the line, where Joan of Acre’s children are a part of the vast de Clare lineage. 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 (www.familysearch.org). 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.)

Generation 3

25. Eleanor de Clare

Lady Eleanor de Clare was born in October 1292.2 She was the daughter of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester and Joan of Acre.1,2 She married, firstly, Hugh le Despenser, 1st Lord le Despenser, son of Hugh le Despenser, 1st and last Earl of Winchester and Isabella de Beauchamp, in 1306.3 She married, secondly, William la Zouche, 1st Lord Zouche of Mortimer, son of Robert de Mortimer and Joyce la Zouche, circa January 1328/29.4 She died on 30 June 1337 at age 44.5,3

Children of Lady Eleanor de Clare and Hugh le Despenser, 1st Lord le Despenser

  1. 43.   Elizabeth le Despencer+6 d. 13 Jul 1389 – Mar. Maurice de Berkeley, 4th Lord Berkeley and had only sons.
  2. 44.   Sir Edward le Despenser+3 d. 30 Sep 1342
  3. 45.   Eleanor le Despenser+
  4. 46.   Hugh le Despenser, 1st Lord le Despenser3 b. c 1308, d. 8 Feb 1348/49
  5. 47.   Isabel le Despenser+1 b. c 1313, d. 1375 – Mar. Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel and had one son.

Citations

  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 I, page 243. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  2. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.
  3. [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1385. Hereinafter cited as Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.
  4. [S37] Charles Mosley, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 3, page 4289.
  5. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 83. Hereinafter cited as Britain’s Royal Families.
  6. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 130.

26. Margaret de Clare

Margaret de Clare was born in 1293.2 She was the daughter of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester and Joan of Acre.1 She married, firstly, Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall circa 1307.3 She married, secondly, Hugh Audley, 1st and last Earl of Gloucester, son of Hugh Audley, 1st Lord Audley (of Stratton Audley) and Isolt de Mortimer, on 28 April 1317 at Windsor, Berkshire, England.3 She died in April 1342.2,3
From circa 1307, her married name became Gaveston. As a result of her marriage, Margaret de Clare was styled as Lady Audley on 28 April 1317. From 28 April 1317, her married name became Audley. As a result of her marriage, Margaret de Clare was styled as Countess of Gloucester on 16 March 1337.

Child of Margaret de Clare and Hugh Audley, 1st and last Earl of Gloucester

  1. 48.   Margaret Audley, Baroness Audley+3 d. bt 1347 – 1351

Citations

  1. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. 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 83. Hereinafter cited as Britain’s Royal Families.
  3. [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 I, page 346. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

27. Elizabeth de Clare

Elizabeth de Clare was born on 16 September 1295.3 She was the daughter of Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester and Joan of Acre.4,1 She married, firstly, John de Burgh, son of Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and Margaret (?), on 30 September 1308 at Waltham Abbey, Essex, England.1 She married, secondly, Sir Theobald de Verdun, 2nd Lord Verdun, son of Theobald Verdun, 1st Lord Verdun and Margery de Bohun, on 4 February 1315/16.5 She married, thirdly, Roger d’Amorie, Lord d’Amorie in 1317. She died on 4 November 1360 at age 65.1 Her will was probated on 3 December 1360.4
She succeeded to the title of 11th Lady of Clare [feudal baron] on 24 June 1314.4 Her last will was dated 25 September 1355.

Child of Elizabeth de Clare and John de Burgh

  1. 49.   William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster+6 b. 17 Sep 1312, d. 6 Jun 1333

Child of Elizabeth de Clare and Roger d’Amorie, Lord d’Amorie

  1. 50.   Elizabeth d’Amorie+7 b. b 23 May 1318, d. 5 Feb 1360/61 – Mar. Sir John Bardolf, 3rd Lord Bardolf and had one son.

Citations

  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 XII/2, page 177. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  2. [S3409] Caroline Maubois, “re: Penancoet Family,” e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as “re: Penancoet Family.”
  3. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.
  4. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 245.
  5. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume XII/2, page 251.
  6. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume XII/2, page 178.
  7. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume I, page 419.

28. Mary de Monthermer

Mary de Monthermer was born in 1298.2 She was the daughter of Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester and Joan of Acre.3,1 She married Duncan MacDuff, 8th Earl of Fife, son of Duncan MacDuff, 7th Earl of Fife, after 1306.2 She died after 1371.2

Children of Mary de Monthermer and Duncan MacDuff, 8th Earl of Fife

  1. 51.Isabel MacDuff d. a 12 Aug 1389 – Died without issue.
  2. 52. Elizabeth MacDuff, Countess of Fife1 b. b 1332, d. a 12 Aug 1389 – Died without issue.

Citations

  1. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 215. Hereinafter cited as Britain’s Royal Families.
  2. [S11] Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Families, page 83.
  3. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. Hereinafter cited as Royal Genealogies Website.

We can see that Joan of Acre had four daughters, in the third generation counting from Eleanor of Castille. Let’s investigate what happened to them and their own daughters in the Joan of Acre/de Clare lineage in the fourth generation. As we progress, readers will notice that we don’t mention every single person mentioned as a child in the previous generation. This occurs where that individual female descendant had no daughters, bringing that particular line of research to a close. For example, No. 43, Elizabeth le Despencer, daughter of No. 25, Eleanor de Clare. She married, but had only sons, and as a consequence did not pass on the mitochondrial DNA molecule we are looking for, and so she takes her bow with this generation. In the next blog post she, and others like her in this respect, will not appear. In the next post we’ll go into the fourth generation with results concerning her sisters and first cousins.

To summarise the work so far, we’ve followed the Joan of Acre/de Clare line down a couple of generations, and we can see that Eleanor of Castille’s female line is still looking healthy here. 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.

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

Interview with Ugo Perego, genetic genealogist, on the forensic side of the Project

The following interview is abridged due to the considerable length of the original. Complete interview is available on request.

Ivan Fowler: Good morning, Doctor Perego. Can you tell us something about yourself, and your work?

Ugo Perego: I have a Ph. D. in human genetics and molecular biology, and I’m specialized in using genetic tools to reconstruct the history of individuals or populations, using DNA. My work is divided mainly into two components. I have a collaboration with a number of universities, where we produce genetic research and publications in the field of population genetics. The University of Pavia is where I have my affiliation for this type of work. I’m also the CEO of a company called The Genetic Genealogy Consultant, and together with other researchers in that group we provide consulting for individuals that want to use DNA to extend or verify their genealogical research.

IF: Thank you. Now, in the case of Edward II and our research project to try and identify his remains, it may seem logical to simply open the tomb of one of his female relatives that the family tree says has the same mitochondrial DNA as him, and take mitochondrial DNA from the remains in that tomb, and then simply compare the two. But you recommend that we do not do that.

UP: Yes. It is a possibility, but if you don’t know that the person the tomb attributed to King Edward is King Edward, and you also cannot know for sure if the female relative is what you’re going to find in that grave, and so you have two unknown variables. So what if the King is actually the King, and you get a genetic profile, and then you get the female relative, and you think that genealogically she is related, but it’s not the right person in there, so then the genetic profile from the female relative is the incorrect one, how are you going to verify that the King is the King, or is not the King? So who is right and who is wrong in that moment? You have two variables that you assume, based on the genealogies, are correct, but you will not know, in the case of miss­match, who is the right one, in the right place. Of course, if they are a match, and there is the genealogy, then you have a strong case. The problem, though, also comes with requesting permission, to obtain the DNA from these bones. So you have to really provide a strong case both for Edward, and then another strong case for the relative, which most likely could be a famous royal individual; or not, but the process of acquiring permission from city officials, churches, if they are in churches, lawyers, family members who might be alive and have a right to the tomb and prevent you… all of that can require a long, long time, to go through the process a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of costs to do that… So it’s much easier at this point to identify living descendants, and have more than one of those, first.

IF: Why do you say more than one living descendant?

UP: More than one descendant is because… well, we’re using mitochondrial DNA, which is a small genetic molecule, found in organelles called mitochondria within the cell, so it’s not nuclear DNA where the 23 pairs of chromosomes are found, so it’s a small component. Just to give you an idea, you have about three billion pieces of DNA in the nucleus, and then you have about seventeen thousand in the mitochondria, so it’s very manageable as a size, but it has a characteristic which is that it does not mix with the rest of the DNA, so it follows a straight maternal line from a mother to her children, and then all the daughters will pass it on. So the concept that we are dealing here with is the concept of the most recent common ancestor. So, although the female line, the ‘umbilical’ line, is usually more… what’s the word… you don’t have reason to suspect that the mother is not the mother, you know, while you might not be as sure about who the father is, but you still have some unknowns, that perhaps somewhere, especially if you’re considering a case of about eight centuries, there could have been a case of adoption that was not documented. Let’s say, you know, in 1400 there was an adoption, or an illegitimacy, like a daughter who becomes pregnant and you don’t want anybody to know, because she’s not married, and so somebody takes the kid in, so you’re raising a kid with your own name, but biologically is not connected to you. In the last hundred or two hundred years, you might have documents to support that, but as you go back in time, every time somebody is born you add to the possibility that the biology does not match the genealogy. So, two or more descendants going back to this common ancestor that you’re trying to trace, would disprove, or eliminate any NPEs, which are Non Paternity Events, with an adoption or illegitimacy, or so on, that might create a problem with you thinking ‘Hey, this is the right genealogy, I should have the right guy. I have the DNA, it doesn’t match Edward’s, therefore Edward is not in the grave’, right? But what if there was an error in the genealogy, and Edward is in the grave, and you have the wrong DNA in your hands, and then somebody else later on does a similar study to replicate your findings, but does it with more than one descendant, and says ‘No, you did it wrong.’ So that is the reason why it is always better to have at least two, and then you go from there.

IF: Preferably more?

UP: Yes.

IF: One last question. Could you please tell us about your personal experience in contacting descendants and inviting them to take part in studies?

UP: Yes, well, I have several, but one of the largest projects I participated in was a case in which I was trying to link two families, with a very humble surname: the surname is Smith, which is 1 percent of the UK population, or rather, of England, because Smith is an English surname, not a British surname, that is one of those surnames which goes back to a trade, to lock­smiths, black­smiths, gold­smiths… these were all ‘smiths’, so there are any different Smiths which are not related to each other. So my project was to try to identify a connection between a Smith family in the United States with a possible Smith family, that I didn’t know, in England. And so there was a possible connection to a town in England, so once I found that town, I looked at the White Pages online and identified how many Smiths lived in that town: there were 1300. Then I wrote a letter to all 1300 of them, prepared a kit, and this kit had an explanation of the project, who I was, who I was working for, what I was trying to do, there were swabs to collect the DNA, there were return envelopes with the address and the stamp already paid for. So all they had to do was simply respond, and agree, and think that it could be important. The number of people who replied was less than 40, out of 1300. You know, there’s the older generation that might think ‘Who is this guy? Why does he want my DNA in America? I’m not going to do this.’ In your case, since you have a book that talks about this project and reconstructing Edward’s ancestry and posterity, you could use that book as a kind of calling card, that would definitely make a much louder, stronger statement about who you are. And also, in this case, you really have to create personal contact with these people. Ideally, what people do in these cases is actually go to the door of the person, to knock on the door and say ‘this is what we’re doing’. A phone call might work. But if you send a letter, people will go through the first three lines and then throw it away. If there is a book, people tend not to throw it away!

IF: If you ever have to collect samples from an English village again, just let me know. I’ll go to the village pub and take care of it from there. I volunteer.

UP: Alright.

IF: Thank you very much, Ugo.

UP: You’re welcome.

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 (www.familysearch.org). 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

FEMALE DESCENDANTS OF EDWARD I AND ELEANOR DE CASTILLA

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

Citations

  1. [S106] Royal Genealogies Website (ROYAL92.GED), online ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/genealogy/public_html/royal/index.html. 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 thepeerage.com

Interview with Professor Antonio Torroni of the University of Pavia

Antonio Torroni

Professor Antonio Torroni kindly met me in his office at the University of Pavia for a chat on the science of the Auramala Project. Torroni’s laboratory has offered to amplify the mitochondrail DNA of living carriers of King Edward II’s genes, once located.

Ivan Fowler: Professor Torroni, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Antonio Torroni: Yes, I am a professor of genetics here at the University of Pavia, in this department which is named Department of Biology and Biotechnology, so I am a geneticist, but I spent almost all my life as a researcher doing research on human populations; in particular on the origin and evolution of human populations. I’ve been doing that for, I guess, now twenty-five years.

IF: What is your experience working with mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome, the two forms of DNA that can, hypothetically, be used for Phase 3 of the Auramala Project, investigating the fate of King Edward II of England?

AT: Yes, I have a lot of experience because the study of these, which are called ‘uni-parental markers’, which are transmitted along the maternal or the paternal generations without mixing due to meiosis… I’ve been doing this work really since the early stages of this kind of work, and I’ve applied it to many many different populations. I think for a number of reasons, including the fact that you are dealing, potentially, with an ancient sample, an old skeleton, which is more difficult to analyse for DNA in general, it is much easier to work in particular with mitochondrial DNA. For a number of reasons. The main reason is that the small genome which is contained in the mitochondria of the cell has a high number of copies relative to the genes which are contained in the nucleus, so it is much easier to amplify and use a large amount of this DNA from an ancient sample than relative to the other genes.

IF: Including the Y chromosome?

AT: Including the Y chromosome, which is actually more difficult than the average nuclear gene, because it is present first of all only in males, but it is also only in a single copy relative to the other genes which are in the autosomes, which are in double copies.

IF: So, it’s a single copy, so there’s less of it?

AT: Yes, there is less of it, and it could be more difficult. Now the techniques are improving quickly, so it is becoming possible to analyse nuclear genes also in material which is one thousand years old, or even more, but still there remains that fact that in general it is much easier to work on mitochondrial DNA, so to track down the maternal lineage, relative to tracking down the paternal lineage.

IF: We intend to identify the remains in the tomb of King Edward II in Gloucester Cathedral, in England, by finding the descendants of the King who carry the same mitochondrial DNA as him and comparing the the mitochondrial DNA of living descendants with that of the remains in the tomb in Gloucester Cathedral. So, we are asking people to participate in this study by looking up their family trees to see if they are possible carriers of Edward II’s mitochondrial DNA. In your opinion, and I know you’re not an expert in this part of the research…

AT: I’m not a genealogist.

IF: You’re not a genealogist, but in your opinion, how many carriers of the mitochondrial DNA do you think we might be able to find, hypothetically.

AT: It’s extremely difficult to say something precise on this. Because we are talking about a specific case, and anything could have happened. So, just to give you an idea, a woman could have a lot of kids, but if they are only males, she doesn’t transmit her mitochondrial DNA [to the generation following that of her children, Ed.] So, in this specific case it really depends a lot. In this case you have a King, a male, and hopefully he has maternal relatives, on the maternal lineage, like a sister, or a female cousin, and this woman had offspring which were female, and which transmitted to other females… so if there is an uninterrupted line of females which arrives until today you could, in theory, track down these people. So there is some chance, but there are also lineages which disappeared, so everything is possible. You really need to start with a good genealogical study, and if you see that for a number of generations you have female descendants, obviously the probability is growing, and the more you go ahead towards modern times, and you still have females, the more likely you will have multiple female descendants which you can track down now.

IF: The last question is, we have already involved Italian historians in the Auramala Project, and we’re working towards access to strategic archives in northern Italy, which may contain documentary evidence either confirming or denying the hypothesis of Edward II’s ‘afterlife’ in the Province of Pavia, in Lombardy. We are also receiving positive input from professional genealogists. So, in your experience, how important is it for this kind of project to use an interdisciplinary approach like, this?

AT: It is essential. I mean, it is essential exactly because you really start to create the project only when you have multiple information streams from different fields, and then you reinforce yourself in the process. So it is essential to put this information. Otherwise, probably, you would never even try to track this down. You don’t even get the idea to start a project if you don’t get initial input from different disciplines, like I guess is exactly the case here.

IF: Thank you very much for your time.

Mitochondrial DNA

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Intervista al Professor Antonio Torroni dell’Università di Pavia

 

3 Aprile 2013

 

Antonio Torroni

 

Il Professor Antonio Torroni mi ha gentilmente incontrato nel suo ufficio all’Università di Pavia per una chiaccherata sull’assetto scientifico del Progetto Auramala. Il laboratorio del Professor Torroni si è offerto di amlificare il DNA mitocondriale dei discendenti con i geni di Re Edoardo II una volta localizzati.

 

Ivan Fowler: Professor Torroni, può dirci qualcosa di lei e di cosa si occupa?

 

Antonio Torroni: Si, sono un professore di genetica qui all’Università di Pavia, nel Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologia, sono quindi un genetista, ma ho passato praticamente tutta la mia vita da ricercatore analizzando le popolazioni umane; in particolare l’origine e l’evoluzione delle popolazioni umane. Credo di averlo fatto per almeno venticinque anni ormai.

 

IF: Qual’è la sua esperienza lavorativa con il DNA mitocondriale e il cormosoma Y, le due forme di DNA che, ipoteticamente, potranno essere usate per la Fase 3 del Progetto Auramala, durante l’invesitgazione del destino del Re Edoardo II d’Inghilterra?

 

AT: Si, ho molta esperienza a proposito perchè lo studio di queste due forme, chiamate anche “segni uni-parentali”, e che sono trasmesse dalle generazioni materne e paterne senza alcuna mescolanza per meiosi…Ho fatto questo lavoro fin dai primi step di questo tipo di studio, e l’ho poi messo in pratica su numerose e varie popolazioni. Penso perciò per molte ragioni, incluso il fatto che potenzialmente avrete a che fare con un campione antico, uno scheletro antico, che sia molto più difficile da analizzare per il DNA in generale,ma molto più facile da analizzare per il DNA mitocondriale in particolare. E questo per molte ragioni. Il motivo principale è che il piccolo genoma che è contenuto nel mitocondrio della cellula ha un alto numero di copie rispetto ai geni che sono contenuti nel nucleo, ed è perciò più facile amplificare e usare una grande quantità del suo DNA da un antico campione piuttosto che da altri geni.

 

IF: Vale lo stesso per il cromosoma Y?

 

AT: Sì incluso il cromosoma Y, ed è tra l’altro più complicato che con un gene nucleare medio, prima di tutto perchè è presente solo negli uomini, ed in più è in un’unica copia rispetto agli altri geni che sono autosome, in duplice copia.

 

IF: Ma quindi se ce n’è una sola copia ce n’è di meno?

 

AT: Sì esatto, e potrebbe essere più complicato. Ora le tecniche si stanno evolvendo velocemente, e sta diventando possibile analizzare i geni nucleari anche in un materiale vecchio di mille anni, o anche di più, ma rimane comunque il fatto che in generale è molto più facile lavorare sul DNA mitocondriale, in modo da scovare la discendenza materna, piuttosto che rintracciare la stirpe paterna.

 

IF: Abbiamo intenzione di identificare i resti nella tomba di Re Edoardo II nella Cattedrale di Gloucester, in Inghilterra, trovando i discendenti del Re che portano il suo stesso DNA mitocondriale e confrontando il DNA mitocondriale dei discendenti viventi con quello dei resti nella tomba della Cattedrale di Gloucester. Perciò stiamo chiedendo alle persone di partecipare a questo studio studiando i propri negli alberi genealogici per vedere se ci siano dei possibili campioni del DNA mitocondriale di Edoardo II. Secondo lei, e so per certo che lei non è un’esperto in questa parte della ricerca…

 

AT: Non sono un genealogista.

 

IF: Non è un genealogista, ma secondo lei, quanti campioni del DNA mitocondriale potremmo essere in grado di trovare, a grandi linee.

 

AT: E’ veramente difficile dire qualcosa di certo visto che stiamo parlando di un caso specifico, e potrebbe essere accaduto di tutto. Giusto per darle un’idea, una donna potrebbe avere molti figli, ma se sono soltanto maschi, lei non trasmette il suo DNA mitocondriale (alla genarazione che segue quella dei suoi figli, ndr). Perciò è tutto molto variabile. Voi avete un Re, un maschio, e si spera che abbia parenti femmine nella stirpe materna, come una sorella, o una cugina, e questa donna abbia una prole femmina che abbia poi trasmesso ad altre femmine…. quindi se c’è una linea ininterrotta di femmine che arriva fino ai giorni nostri, potreste teoricamente rintracciare queste persone. Perciò qualche chances c’è, ma ci sono anche stirpi che scompaiono, perciò tutto può succedere. Dovete davvero cominciare con un valido studio genealogico, e se notate che per un certo numero di generazioni avete una discendenza femminile, ovviamente le probabilità aumentano, e più vi avvicinate al presente continuando a trovare femmine, più probabilmente avrete delle discendenze multiple di femmine che potete rintracciare ora.

 

IF: L’ultima domanda. Abbia già coinvolto degli storici italiani nel Progetto Auramala, e stiamo lavorando per riuscire ad avere accesso a degli archivi strategici nel nord Italia, che potrebbero contentere dei documenti decisivi per confermare o negare l’ipotesi della seconda vita di Edoardo II nella provincia pavese, in Lomabardia. Stiamo ricevendo anche degli input positivi da dei genealogisti professionisti. Quindi, secondo la sua esperienza, quant’è importante per questo tipo di progetto usare un approccio interdisciplinare come questo?

 

AT: E’ essenziale. Cioè è necessario proprio perchè si comincia veramente un progetto solo quando si hanno più informazioni da diversi campi, e ci si rinforza durante il processo. E’ perciò veramente essenziale questo tipo di informazione. Se no probabilmente non ci provereste neanche. Non viene nemmeno l’idea di cominciare un progetto se non si hanno input iniziali da differenti discipline, come è il vostro caso se ho capito bene.

 

IF: Grazie mille per la sua disponibilità.

The genetics of the Auramala Project: the experts take the floor

Prof. Martin Richards

We are excited to announce that three scientific partners have expressed their intention to take part in Phase Three of the Auramala Project.  Prof. Martin Richards of Huddersfield University with Paul Brotherton and the Archaeogenetics Research Group, is interested in carrying out the amplification of ancient DNA belonging to Edward II. Prof. Antonio Torroni of the University of Pavia is intentioned to amplify and analyze the mtDNA of Edward II’s  living descendants. Ugo Perego, a geneticist affiliated with the University of Pavia and founder of The Genetic Genealogy Consultant, a consulting company based in the USA, has made himself available to coordinate efforts to identify and contact the living descendants themselves.

Early next week on this blog we will be publishing interviews with Prof. Antonio Torroni  and Ugo Perego, to further explore developments in Phase Three of the Auramala Project.

The statue of Alessandro Volta in the courtyard of the University of Pavia, where the great scientist carried out his key research, leading to the modern battery.

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Siamo felici di annunciare che tre colleghi scienziati hanno espresso la loro volontà di partecipare alla Fase 3 del Progetto Auramala. Il Prof. Martin Richards della Hudersfield University insieme con Paul Brotherton e The Archaeogenetics Research Group si è preso carico dell’amplificazioine dell’antico DNA appartenente a Edoardo II. Il Prof. Antonio Torroni dell’Università di Pavia è intenzionato ad amplificare e analizzare l’mtDNA dei discendenti ancora viventi di Edoardo II. Ugo Perego, un genetista affiliato all’Università di Pavia e fondatore di Genetic Genealogy Consultant, una compagnia di consulenza con sede negli Stati Uniti, si è messo a disposizione per coordinare gli sforzi in modo da identificare e contattare direttamente i discendenti viventi.

La prossima settimana pubblicheremo quanto prima su questo blog le interviste con il Prof. Antonio Torroni e Ugo Perego, per esaminare gli ulteriori sviluppi della Fase 3 del Progetto Auramala.