Royal Blood: How to Check If Your Family Tree Has Any Regal Branches

With the British royal family hitting the headlines worldwide right now, interest in the royals has never been higher – and whichever side of the fence you happen to sit on, you won’t have been able to miss the recent sensational news stories!

Whether you’ve got relatives who’ve always insisted that you’ve got blue blood in your veins courtesy of a distant regal ancestor, or you’re simply curious regarding your forebears, there are now easy, affordable ways to discover whether your family tree boasts any majestic branches – or even twigs! Here’s what to do to delve deeper into your past to find out.

Begin to Build Your Family Tree

Before beginning your search, build as full a picture of your family tree as possible. Speak with as many relatives as possible, consult birth, marriage, and death records, and get in touch with more distant members of the family to continue to add branches and details.

You could consider using an online family tree builder, as well as one or more genealogy databases – these can often be accessed via a DNA testing package, which we explore more below.

Try DNA Testing

DNA testing has come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, and – even better – you can now order at-home testing kits to make the process even quicker and more convenient. Typically, you’ll be sent everything you need to take a painless inner cheek swab, including clear instructions and a pre-paid return envelope, and you can expect your results back sometimes as swiftly as within a week.

Even the cheapest DNA test can give you a fascinating insight into your ethnic heritage and ancestry and, via vast databases, help you connect with living relatives you know nothing about. Who knows who you may discover you’re related to? You may just discover an exciting link to a royal relative!

A Paper Trail Could Hold the Key

If you think there’s a chance you could be connected to a royal personage, then one of the best places to look for clues is in the paper records. Luckily, due to the status according to royals, finding and following a paper trail is often more doable than you’d think.

A look at historical census records could help you connect a royal residence with a family member, while sales and land and ownership records could assist you even further. Any historical records held by churches, libraries, and other establishments can also be useful to shed light on any potential majestic forbears.

You could keep an eye out for British surnames that often have a connection to high-status or royal individuals. These names include Baskerville, Darcey, Neville, Percy, Astley, Capell, Bryon, Clifford, and Herbert.

Other Important Clues For those in the USA, those with royal roots tend to have New England Yankee, Tidewater planner, or Pennsylvania Quaker forebears, who were the immigrants most likely to have brought some blue blood over the sea with them.

Similarly, if you have an emigrant ancestor who occupied what was considered a gentry-level occupation, your chances of hitting the royal blood jackpot are increased! These occupations include those of wealthy farmers or merchants, governors, military officers, or ministers. If you discover a forebear with these credentials, then investigating further to find out whether any royal roots exist could pay off.

Here’s another clue to look for: not all the children of royal figures were born in wedlock. And back in the day, these ‘illegitimate’ offspring were often bundled off with their charges to country estates or otherwise far from the court. So – if you come across a forebear who suddenly and inexplicably came into the receipt of the gift of a substantial amount of land, property, or something else of significant value, there’s a chance that this could indicate the presence of a child born outside of a royal marriage.

Look Further Afield

It’s not just the UK that has a royal family, of course, so why not look across the globe for potential royal links rather than confining yourself to Great British monarchs? Europe has many royal families – some still in situ, others not – and the wider world offers plenty more opportunities to connect with some ancestral VIPS!

A recent genetic study, for example, found that millions of men in Central Asia share genes with the legendary ruler of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan, while there are many modern families living in Peru that have ancestral ties to Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor.

Are You Related to Royalty? Probably!

Go back in time far enough, and your chances of finding a common ancestor increase exponentially, which means that, theoretically, there are good odds that you’ll find a royal relation hanging out on a branch of your family tree! The maths proves the point: if you go back just ten generations, you’ll find you have around one thousand ancestors – go back twenty generations, and that figure skyrockets up to over a million.

So, if the fact that you’ve got a great chance of discovering some royalty in your ancestry really makes you keen to start searching for them, use a combination of the tips above to start digging deeper and finding out about any regal ancestors to add to your family tree.

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