Not only am I not French, I don't think I'm royal either!

One of my first posts on this site was about my mother always telling me her family were French - turns out no.  My G grandfather was a plain old English bandmaster who changed his name to a French sounding one, probably to get more work.

Well, recently I got one of my regular emails for WikiTree  telling me I am several generations from King Henry 8th!  I was certainly excited by that news.WikiTree is a collaborative genealogy site where people work on their trees.  I have found some lovely people on it over several years.

King Henry Xlll of England

So off I went, following the trail of people from me to Henry, It looked like this:

My question was what to do next.  After some thought, I started a new database in my Legacy database, so that the information was separate from my usual file, and copied what I already had (and knew to be correct) over to it.  That got me back to Prineas Beer and Mary Elvy, my 6 times Great Grandparents.  Then I added the other people on the list, and also added them to my Ancestry tree as bait.

After that I went back to WikiTrees and began to look at the evidence and sources of information for each person and event before Phineas Beer.  I found proof of his brother William who married an Ann Allen in Kent in 1765 - tick.  Then I found her sister and sourced proof on her birth, Margaret Allen - tick.

But, no source or evidence for the marriage of Margaret Allen and Sir James Albert Boyd.  I have sent a message to the person (manager) of the tree I found Margaret Allen on, asking what sources they have used, but no reply as yet.

Meanwhile, Ancestry had been doing its thing and there was a lot of information to get through, and  Via this and google investigations I came across some great sites:
  1. The which has the United Kingdom Peerage pedigrees and information  Search using the surname (first letter) then use <Ctrl f> to bring up a search box and put the surname in., then you will have to search through the first names.  The great thing about this site is that when a person is named (eg. as a son) there is a link to their entry so you can go back or forward through the linage easily.  Its fully sourced and annotated.
  2. The Dictionary of National Biography  by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee.    This has biographies of deceased persons notable in British history. It is not the current edition, which you can buy.  Search what volume you need via the home page, then simply look through the book for your person.  Also fully sourced and annotaged.
  3. Histories of Scotish Familie are books available from the Uni of Scotland.  This is much harder to search, but you may find your family among the books.  Be aware that not all the books are properly sourced or annotated, so take care about weather the information is reliable or not.
  4. Boyd Family and Descendants by William P Boyd.  It is worth doing a google search of XXX family location  (eg. Boyd Family Scotland) to see what comes up, this is how I found this book.  It has several revised editions, and a very good index but is a bit light on sourcing.
An example of a information from "The" - Henry 8th King of England.
On Ancestry I found many of the people I searched for had information from the source :
Web: Netherlands, GenealogieOnline Trees Index, 1000-2015.   looking through this source I found it is a  third party website set up quite similar to WikiTrees in the Netherlands.  Searching on the original site I found that not many sources of information were listed, so in the end found most of the information is only useful as a clue, not a source.  Rule No. 1 is that you must be able to PROOVE a connection via reliable sources and original documents.

In the end I have found that there is no proof that sir James Albert Boyd married Margaret Allen, whose sister married into the Beere family.  There is also no proof that Sir James Boyd (9th Lord of Kilmarnock, Scotland) and Catherine Creyke had a son called John Boyd who married Marion Stone.  So I have two great gaps in my lineage back to Henry Xlll.
What have I learnt in this process?
  1. ALWAYS look at the sources of information that authors use - even in respected books, but especially on family tree websites.
  2. Someone else's tree is NOT PROOF - check if they have reliable sources
  3. Some sources on Ancestry are not reliable at all.
  4. Use broad google searches and include place names.
  5. The ancestry of the Peerage is full of marriages to cousins, intruige and murders, such fun!
And, no I have no proof I am related to Henry Vlll Tudor, King of England or James IV Stewart, King of Scotland, but I will keep searching.


  1. Oh dear one... Keep looking... your tree will keep branching off and it can and WILL end up almost anywhere and everywhere. My tree also goes to Henry VIII and the Stewarts and more Don't give up.

    I was always told I was pure German... well guess what. I'm NOT and Ancestry wasn't the one that told me so. It as my own hard work. I am German, Irish, Scottish, English, French and more, even Mohawk Indian. I'm a true Heinz 57 mutt of ancestors. I've found most on my own but give credit to my fiancé's 30 years of work and our merging of trees which took my tree to new heights. The branches just keep growing and my one branch is back past Noah. psst Ancestry did nothing for me except perpetuate (one was 17 times) errors in my tree.

    I have Legacy 9.0 and LOVE IT ! I also use wikitree, and tons of other research sites and most are free. AND I'm amassing quite a library of pdf books on genealogy from everywhere. Save all you can find and you'll have pages and pages of the proof you need without paying out $$ for errors. I'm up to about 90 books so far and each has no less than 300 pages.

    No, not all internet websites are right but when I look at 6 and 7 websites and they're all the same, I use that information with more confidence. Peerage is good for sources but not perfect. Fabpedigee is good.. but has gotten "wishy washy" lately on the info with too many possibles and maybes. This is a frustrating "hobby".

    So do your best.. keep looking and you'll be surprised where your branches lead. Keep climbing the tree. I love when I can reach the top.

    Jolyn Rebecca Snider
    a 15 year genealogy hobbyist

    1. Family stories are so unreliable! Thanks for your comment Jolyn, and the tip about Fabpedigree. I was lucky I found Legacy when I first started to get serious about genealogy, it is the best. Recently I began to clean up my sources a bit however, I found I was a bit haphazard when I first started using it. I too have a 'book' library now on my computer, who would have thought it possible 20 years ago? I will keep on searching for the connections and having fun. Hope you enjoy my blog. Cheers.


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