Everyone descends from royalty, right? So why make a fuss about it? In spite of this truism, many of us, especially Americans, are fascinated by the thought of documenting royal ancestry. We come across kings and queens in online family trees and wonder – are these trees accurate? Let’s walk through the process royal hereditary societies use to judge whether or not an applicant for membership has a documented line.
From You Back to the American Immigrant
First, check to see if the immigrant ancestor in your purported royal line can be found on accepted gateway lists. A finite number of American immigrants can be documented as descendants of royalty. These immigrants are known as “gateway ancestors” and are the focus of intense scrutiny and study by expert genealogists. Approximately 650 gateway immigrants are known to have arrived in what is now the United States during the colonial period. One such list of gateways, which I help maintain, is on the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne website.
If the immigrant in your family is a valid gateway, you are on track to documenting royal ancestry. If your immigrant is not on the list, the royal lineage presented to you is probably underproven or false. Major problems with online family trees purporting royal descents include:
- Generations between living people and accepted gateways lack documentation.
- Disproved gateways continue to be accepted.
Document your pedigree back to an accepted gateway.